Macanese cuisine is a unique blend of Cantonese and Portuguese flavors. Known as the Vegas of China, Macau offers foodies a unique culinary destination.
The Portuguese took control of Macau, the bustling center of commerce in the South China Sea, more than 400 years ago, and the arrangement lasted until 1999 when the Chinese government declared the city’s status as a Portuguese colony null and void. Not surprisingly, the cultural ties far outlast the administrative ones. Even though Portuguese leadership is long gone from Macau, the region still excels at a distinctive savory hybrid of Portuguese and Cantonese cuisine known as Asian Fusion.
This flavorful cuisine is subject to a certain amount of interpretation, but it’s generally a blend of salt-of-the-earth Cantonese food and Portuguese spiced comfort food. The unusual mix of flavors perfectly mimics the diverse vibe of the city. The next time you travel to Macau for business, make sure at least one of your lunch breaks includes Asian Fusion cuisine.
A Foodie Destination
Now a special administrative region of China, Macau attracts millions of visitors each year for its casinos, hotels, nightlife, and food – giving it the nickname the “Las Vegas of Asia.” As one of only two sites with legal gambling in China – the other being Hong Kong – the city attracts many travelers looking for entertainment as well as those in the area on business. The added delight of the cuisine has turned the city into something of a foodie destination.
Top 4 Asian Fusion Restaurants
To get the full Macau foodie experience, it’s recommended to try the specialties that put Macau on the map. The most famous menu options are the pork chop bun, a marinated piece of pork stuffed into a crispy bun, and the Portuguese egg tart, a miniature custard pie. These four favorite restaurants consistently serve up some of the city’s best dishes:
- Cafe Tai Lei Loi Kei: This restaurant is the master of the pork chop bun. The dish is always tender and seasoned with garlic, ginger, and herbs, and the bun is crunchy on the outside but soft in the middle. The menu has included the delicious buns for 49 years.
- Temptations: Located in the Starworld Macau Hotel, this restaurant is famous for its Portuguese seafood rice. The rice is cooked in a tomato seafood broth with prawns and mussels mixed with other savory ingredients. The soup-like dish is delectably flavorful.
- Lord Stow’s Bakery: This eatery is the king of egg tarts. Many establishments now make the savory treats, but few match the smooth texture and unbeatable flavor of Lord Stow’s, which sells the tarts by the thousands every day. The custard is contained in a crisp miniature pie shell, and the scorch marks on top from the caramelized sugar add to the flavor experience.
- Restaurante Litoral: This dining spot makes a divine dish called African chicken. Served in a thick tomato sauce, the chicken is flavored with garlic, paprika, coconut, lemon, and peanuts. The final result is “nothing short of divine,” says food blogger Lorraine Elliott.
Food On The Go
Business travelers without much time to spare can still enjoy the culinary experience by sampling the street foods that are the daily staple for working Macanese people. Food stalls are everywhere and serve a variety of sandwiches, meat-stuffed buns, fish stews, and pastries.
So where does the Cantonese end and the Portuguese begin? That’s for every hungry business traveler to taste and decide. The answer can vary a great deal between distinctive Macanese dishes, so you just might have to try them all. Visit our Facebook page to tell us about your favorites.