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Cuisine & Food in Macau

Macau is famous for its cuisine and for the quality of the food served by the territory's restaurants and hotels. It is hard to find another city with such a concentration of restaurants offering so many different cuisines to suit so many tastes at all kinds of budget. In fact food has always played a major part in Macau society and is a good reflection of the community's long multicultural experience and present cosmopolitan way of life.

First of all Macau has a fine selection of coffee shops, in Portuguese, Italian and American style (especially around Travessa de S. Domingos and Rua Pedro José Lobo, in the city centre, and Rua de Nagasaki). They offer a wide variety of superior blends in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. They all also sell delicious pastries -- not to be missed are Macau's version of the traditional Portuguese egg tart, or pastel de nata, and coconut cake. Also available are soft drinks, juices and cocktails.

You can find good Portuguese restaurants close to the A-Ma Temple along Rua do Almirante Sérgio, in the city centre on Rua Central and Travessa de S.Domingos, and in the NAPE area near the Kun Iam Statue. On the islands there are many excellent Portuguese restaurants: on Rua do Cunha and Rua Fernando Mendes (in Taipa) and on Hac-Sa beach and Coloane Village.

For a soup we suggest you to try Caldo Verde (green vegetable soup) and for starters ameijoas (clams) together with chouriço (Portuguese sausage) and olives. Cozido à Portuguesa is also very popular. Carne de Porco à Alentejana (from the Alentejo province of Portugal) and sardines (sardinhas assadas are especially tasty during summer time) all evoke images of Portugal. In addition all these restaurants serve Portugal's beloved bacalhau (codfish). There are literally hundreds of ways of cooking the codfish. Try Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá (prepared with egg and onions), Bacalhau com Natas (with cream) or Bacalhau Assado (grilled). Be sure to order wine because in Macau it's very affordable and of excellent quality. Dão, Borba and Ribatejo are popular red wines and João Pires for white.And to drink with seafood don't miss the tasty green wine (vinho verde) from Minho in the North of Portugal. For dessert try delicious serradura or any of the convent sweets; barrigas de freira, papos de anjo, toucinho do céu, doce de ovos, etc. (These traditional Portuguese desserts were initially created in convents with rich ingredients from all over the world).

As is to be expected, Chinese cuisine is of excellent quality in Macau. Restaurants are found in every part of the city and on the islands. Most serve Cantonese food but some specialize. So, for seafood we suggest you to go to Rua do Almirante Sérgio and Rua das Lorchas along the Inner Harbour where the morning's catch is served in restaurants that often have outdoor and indoor dining sections. If you're in Macau during the winter time try Ta Pin Nou, a Chinese version of fondu with a huge variety of different seafood, meats and vegetables that are boiled in a tureen on the clients' table. For general Cantonese food try the NAPE area, and city centre (Avenida da Praia Grande, Avenida Infante D. Henrique, etc.).

Chinese menus are long and varied, but include all the favourites: sharks' fin soup, sweet and sour pork, fried chicken, meat with vegetables, steamed fish, beancurd or tofu prepared in several ways, Peking duck and Beggar's Chicken. Try different kinds of noodles, which are called "fitas" in Macau, and rice. For more exotic dishes take a look and maybe try the restaurants in Rua da Felicidade (parallel to the main street Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro) where snakes, frogs, eels, seafood and fish -- many of them alive -- are on display in tanks in the windows.

In Africa and India the Portuguese learned how to use spices with the result that Macau’s most popular dishes include African and Goan’s chicken and piquant prawns, all baked or grilled with peppers and chilies.

Some ingredients such as Portuguese sausage and sardines are imported but most foodstuffs come from the fertile Pearl River Delta and Bountiful water of the South China Sea. Local produce includes quail, pigeon, duck, fresh vegetables, the famous Macau sole, African chicken and enormous juicy prawns.

The combination of Portuguese, Indian and even Malay and Chinese cuisines make up the unique Macanese cuisine which cannot be found elsewhere in the world.  In contrast are the restaurants serving Dim Sum, a favourite of all foreigners and one of Southern China's great gifts to dining. It is a meal which is served from dawn in many big and small Chinese restaurants and it lasts till about midday. This is an opportunity for friends and family to get together around the table to chat as well as eat, which is why it is often called simply "Yam Tcha" (which means literally "drink tea"). Here only small amounts of food are served, in small round bamboo baskets or in porcelain plates, which are circulated around the restaurant in trolleys. If you want to order all you have to do is to stop the trolley and choose. Part of the fun of this the meal lies in the variety of smells, tastes, sizes and ways of cooking. Here are the names of some Dim Sum favourites: Há Kau (steamed dumplings filled with shrimp), Shiu Mai (steamed dumplings stuffed with pork and shrimp), Tsun Guen (shrimp fried rolls, stuffed with pork, chicken, mushrooms, bamboo sprouts and beans), Char Siu Pau (steamed buns stuffed with pork), Ngau Iók (little beef balls seasoned with ginger), Tchau min (fried noodles) and Tchau fan ( fried rice).

Dim Sum is accompanied by tea, usually jasmin tea  or red tea. Over the centuries Macau developed a unique cuisine that combined elements of Portuguese, Chinese, Indian, and even Malay cooking. Known as Macanese cuisine, it is served in restaurants along Rua Almirante Sérgio, on the Praia Grande, in the NAPE and on Taipa. Among the most popular dishes are African Chicken (grilled in piri piri peppers), Tacho (a hearty stew of Chinese vegetables and different meats), Galinha Portuguesa (Chicken cooked in the oven together with potatoes, onions, egg and saffron), Minchi (minced beef with fried potatoes, soy, onions and a fried egg), Linguado Macau (Macau sole fried and usually served with green salad) and Porco balichão (Balichão' pork). And for dessert try Jagra de ovos (sweet egg tart).

Food from other parts of the world is, of course, readily available in Macau and you'll find plenty of excellent restaurants serving Italian, French, American, Brazilian, Japanese, Korean and Mozambique cuisine as well as dishes from Southeast Asia, such as Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

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