Macau may be the Las Vegas of the East, but this dynamic metropolis is also home to great Portuguese cuisine, delightful street food and Michelin-starred establishments. We have rounded up our favourite places to eat and drink in Macau. Hurry up and grab your ferry tickets already.
Words and Photos Iris Wong
Lee Hong Kee
19D Rua da Madeira, Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro
You definitely won’t get this in Hong Kong: Lee Hong Kee’s bean curd dessert, or tofu fa, is served with evaporated milk, and has been for the past 60 odd years. This unlikely combination adds a milky smoothness to the dessert, and syrup can be added for those who like it sweeter. We like it cold, but a hot one is also available, both at $7 each.
Loja das Conservas Macau
9 Travessa do Aterro Novo
Tel: +853 6571 8214
Canned sardines are the latest souvenir craze in Macau, and you can find them at Lojas das Conservas. The white-tiled, Moleskine-eque sardine specialist store is lined with rows of colourful tins and jars packed with sardines and octopus of different flavours. Their most popular products are the Pinhais sardines in tomato ($32 for 90g; $40 for 125g), and the Porthos spiced sardines in olive oil ($35 for 125g). Not sure what to get? Consult their friendly staff, or check out the cheat sheets on the wall for information about the fishermen and producers behind each brand.
31 Rua de Sao Paulo
Tel: +853 2836 5182
A quiet respite from the tourist crowds, MacauSoul is tucked away in the historic district of Macau near the ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral. The wine list here is exclusively Portuguese with over 400 labels on offer, whether you’re into brancos (whites), tintos (reds) and sweet wines. Local nibbles and MacauSoul’s signature garlic and chilli marinated olives are also available to accompany the wines. What’s more, the laid-back lounge is known for its evening live music sessions: jazz, blues, folk, classical, country – you name it.
Margaret’s Cafe e Nata
17A Rua Alm Costa Cabral R/C, Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro
Tel: +853 2871 0031
You simply CANNOT come to Macau without eating a Portuguese tart. Rumour has it that Margaret’s Cafe e Nata was opened by the ex-wife of Lord Stow’s Bakery’s (another famous Portuguese tart bakery in Macau) owner, producing Portuguese tarts using a similar recipe that are equally delicious, if not better. The tart ($10) has a sweet, fragrant eggy centre surrounded by a buttery, flakey pastry. Being packed with flavour and just the right sweetness means you can easily eat a few in one go. However, its Portuguese tarts are probably the only thing we’ll be ordering there, as its cheesecake and milk tea both proved to be disappointing. And don’t even get us started with the (lack of) service.
G/F Wynn Macau, Rua Cidade de Sintra, NAPE
Tel: +853 8986 3663
Macau is a great place for fine-dining, as you can often enjoy Michelin-starred menus for a fraction of the cost in Hong Kong. Two-Michelin-starred Mizumi at Wynn Macau (you can also find another branch of Mizumi at Wynn Palace) has fast become one of our favourite Japanese restaurants in Macau, offering edomae-style sushi, tempura and teppanyaki all under one roof. The Aomori toro and seared Chiba red snapper sushi are out of this world; the prawn tempura and shiso leaf tempura topped with sea urchin are exceptional, and the A5 wagyu beef teppanyaki is the ultimate decadence. Check out the full menu for yourself.
Sei Kee Cafe
G/F Calcada do Gambia, Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro
Famous for its charcoal burner toasts, clay pot-brewed coffee and bottled milk tea, Sei Kee Cafe is one of very few roadside cafes remaining in Macau. After a gentle hike up the hill from Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, we gave its stripy green canvas covering a double-take before recognising it as the original branch of Sei Kee, which opened in 1965. The ice-cold milk tea in a bottle ($13) is a must-try here – very smooth to the tongue with a strong tea flavour. No ice has been added to the milk tea to avoid diluting the drink. Its toasts, made crispy and smoky by a charcoal burner and lathered with butter and condensed milk, hit us with a wave of nostalgia.
7 Rua dos Negociantes, Old Taipa Village, Taipa
Tel: +853 2857 6896
If you’re looking for homely Portuguese cuisine, Toca is the place to be. The two-storey eatery fills up quite quickly for lunch and dinner, and has gained a loyal following since it opened two years ago. Executive chef Pedro Almeida serves northern Portuguese cuisine using recipes passed down from his grandmother. We particularly fancy the signature bacalhau Almeida ($198) made with dried and salted Norwegian cod in a herbaceous creamy egg sauce, and the sangria ($55/glass) with a touch of cinnamon is also memorable.