Friday, July 26, 2013

Macau : Food!

Can't believe it's been almost 1 month now since my last Macau post. Been pretty tied up with work stuff and what's not. Anyways after introducing Macau must visits previously, it's now high time for Macau food review! Macau, a food heaven on it's own is most well known for their wan ton and dumplings, shrimp roe noodles, pork chop bun, sawdust pudding, Macanese food and the all time must never missed Portuguese egg tarts.

Being a very huge wan ton noodle fan, our first food stop in Macau was for their reputable wan ton noodles at Wong Chi Kei. Located right at the heart of Senado Square (opposite Sasa and McDonalds shortly after the fountain), Wong Chi Kei is said to serve the best Cantonese wan ton noodle in Macau. Unlike your normal noodles, their noodles are traditionally and uniquely made with bamboo sticks.

There were aplenty of people at the restaurant despite it already long passed lunch time
Our number. But thankfully we only waited less than 10 minutes before our number was called
My bowl of shuǐjiǎo (a larger version of the pork + shrimp dumpling) noodle
The inside of my shuǐjiǎo  Their noodles are those thin, long kind but honestly, despite all the hype, I find their noodles a tad little too stiff. Their shuǐjiǎo though good, was not as heavenly as I had expected. Each of the dumpling was compactly filled with mince pork, shrimp and vegetables shred and their skin translucent and soft. I find the filling just not tender and juicy enough. MOP 28 per bowl
On the other hand, mum ordered the wan ton noodle and I seriously thought it tasted much better than the shuǐjiǎo  Each wan ton was filled with mince pork and a whole shrimp and each bite exudes burst of juiciness that was really tasty. MOP 28 per bowl

Although they have like 3 floors, but the place is pretty small and sharing of tables is the norm. Their staff too are not too particularly friendly. So unless really, if you are a fan of wan ton, then do drop by Wong Chi Kei for a taste of Macau Cantonese wan ton. :)

Wong Chi Kei (Macau New Shop),
17, Largo do Senado,
Macau, China
Tel : +853-28331313

It was noodles day for us on our day 1 as after the wan ton noodles, we moved on to Rua de Felicidade for the much talked about dry shrimp roe noodle at none other than Cheong Kei Noodle House. The whole street is really not that long and it wasn't difficult locating the humble little shop along this street. There must be less than 15 tables inside the whole shop, so be prepare to wait as well especially during peak hours. Aside from dry shrimp roe noodles, they are also famous for their other Cantonese dishes that is serve with a Macanese touch. 
The star- Dry Shrimp Roe Noodle (Har Ji Meen). I like the noodles here better truthfully as the noodles are more springy. Sprinkled with generous amount of dry shrimp roe, this simple dish brings mouthful of savoury delights
Deep fried mace balls which were awesomely delicious albeit it being really oily. They come with this oyster wine sauce but I do not dare to try the sauce as they had a pretty pungent smell
Coated with rice crackers and filled with abundant of fish inside, these mace balls are bouncy and flavorful

Cheong Kei is actually also popular for their wan ton noodles, poached fish skin and beef brisket noodles among others. We figured we had enough of wan ton for the day and we both never like fish skin (which I avoid as much as possible) so we decided to give the poached fish skin a skip as well.
Run by generations, this humble eatery certainly earned a place in the heart of locals and tourist alike
The Cheong Kei noodle house

Portion is pretty small but I guess you can't eat too much of those noodles either. Staff are friendlier and the noodles are definitely better here. Prices, on the other hand are moderate, ranging MOP 20-25.

Cheong Kei Noodle House,
68, Rua de Felicidade
Tel : +853- 28574310

Another pretty popular eatery at Rua de Felicidade is Tim Fatt Sharkfin house. They are known for their cheap decent bowl of shark fin (which you can get for as low as MOP 20) but as I'm not a supporter of shark fin, in fact I say NO against shark fin consumption because only with no demand, the killing will stop, hence we did not try out the shop. 
But seriously, look at all these people queuing outside the shop, backpacks and all just awaiting for their shark fin fix

As I had mentioned in my earlier post, we started our second day at Ruo do Cunha. And what really brought me down to this little lane was actually for this very very well known dessert shop known as Gelatina Mok Yi Kei. Located right at the corner towards the end of the lane, this dessert shop is famous for 2 things- durian ice cream and sawdust pudding. And even though it was my first meal of the day, I started them with these two desserts first. Unlike most conventional dessert shop these days back home, Gelatina Mok Yi Kei is non air conditioned and does not have places for customers to sit by and enjoy their dessert. 
The simple dessert shop that shot to fame with their durian ice cream and sawdust pudding
Durian ice cream. Mum laughed at me that I had to try durian ice cream in Macau when we have abundant of durian back home and even paid MOP 24 just for it. I had to admit though that their ice cream is really really soft and melt sweetly straight in the mouth with a pleasant mild durian aftertaste. But other than the mild durian smell and taste, there is no durian among the ice cream yet they do felt like it is made with the real deal rather than just flavors
Serradura aka Sawdust Pudding is a dessert originating from Macau made up of crushed biscuits on top and sweetened, vanilla whipped cream. The whole dessert had a creamy yet airy texture and the crushed biscuit compliments the creamy layer below perfectly. However, price at MOP 24 one, I think this is another price over value dessert

Between the serradura (sawdust pudding) and durian ice cream, I would say, only the serradura is really worth trying as they originate from Macau and it's quite a tasteful, unique dessert. Otherwise, I think the rest of the desserts, namely durian ice cream are really overprice and doesn't deserve paying so much for especially when they come in just a shallow cup and the fact that the best durian ice cream is right here in our country, Malaysia! 

Gelatina Mok Yi Kei,
9A Ruo do Cunha,
Taipa, Macau
Also located at Ruo do Cunha is Seng Cheong, known for their crab porridge. They only opened at 12 pm but people were already queuing before they open and you can see crowd rushing in once they open. Such madness but we decided to skip it too

After leaving Ruo do Cunha, we went to the Venetian where we explored two of Macau top listed must-tries. The best and iconic Macau pork chop bun is said to be from Tai Lei Loi Kei. Originally a humble cafe located somewhere in Taipa Village, Tai Lei Loi Kei can now be found inside the Venetian itself at Level 3, Market Street (the Venetian food court) or their other branch near the Ruin's of St Paul. However, I believe that despite it being the same pork chop bun, there are actually price differences between the two branches. The fact that Venetian Tai Lei Loi Kei is inside a casino and a mall makes it being price at MOP 48 one. Yes, a whooping MOP 48 for ONE pork chop bun without drinks whatsoever. A pretty expensive bun if you ask me.
The signature Tai Lei Loi Kei pork chop bun. Seriously, it just consist of a simple piece of pork chop sandwich between a bun. Nothing else. No sauce, no vegetables, no cheese, no eggs. In all fairness, the bun itself is pan fried till crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with a buttery taste and the piece of pork chop was thick, tender and has a rich flavorful taste. There is not much fat in the pork and I heard one of it's secret ingredient use for marination is Brandy. Overall, it does taste pretty good however, being without  sauce also means that the whole bun is really very dry 
At least, the serving size is pretty large

Well, they had recently opened a new branch right here in Malaysia at Hutong Lot 10 in KL and their set meal is even cheaper than MOP 48 so you don't have to go all the way to Macau for a taste of the pork chop bun anymore. Otherwise, you might want to consider visiting the Ruin's of St Paul branch for a cheaper version of the same pork chop bun.

Restaurant Tai Lei Loi Kei (Venetian Shop),
Shop 2620/ 2F, The Grand Canal Shoppes,
The Venetian Macau Resort Hotel,
Estrada do Istmo,
Coloane- Taipa
Tel : +853-2886 6819

Update : They had recently (since July 2014) open a new branch in Johor Bahru as well at 56, Jln Sutera Tanjung 8/3, Taman Sutera Utama, Johor Bahru!

Next up, also inside The Venetian is another Macau must try. In fact it is my no.1 favourite of all Macau food and it is none other than the Portuguese egg tarts! There are two very renowned cafes for Portuguese egg tarts in Macau; notably the Lord Stow's Bakery and Margaret's Cafe E Nata. Our first and also the one in the Venetian is the Lord Stow's Portuguese egg tarts. They have several franchises all over Macau mostly at Coloane but it is really inconvenient to go all the way to Coloane, hence having a branch there at the Venetian is definitely ideal. Situated beside the canal, it can get a little challenging locating Lord Stow as it is located pretty hidden at the back of the shops and to my dismay, most of the staff at the Venetian (or at least those that we came across) do not even know where is it. To be exact it is located at Mask Street and really near to where you go down to the centre of the casino from the mall. The cafe setting is really comfortable being those European style cafe and being beside the canal means you can enjoy the canal view while enjoying the delicious egg tarts.
The holy grail of all Portuguese egg tarts- Lord Stow's Portuguese egg tarts certainly win with their perfect flaky, crisp crust, smooth, creamy egg custard filling and caramelized top. The egg tarts are just so superbly delicious every mouthful send me screaming for more
The egg custard filling itself  is deep and filled the entire crust
I absolutely ♥ and adore those glistening excellently baked Portuguese egg tarts of Lord Stow
Price at MOP 8 per egg tart, it is a well worth investment
The queue that was pretty much better than expected
With Mr Andrew Stow, the founder of these amazing egg tarts virtually. There's a video playing at the bakery with Mr Andrew narrating his story about how his egg tarts came about till they become such a phenomenon in that part of the world today

Established in 2010 at the Venetian, they do sell other pastries and sandwiches aside from egg tarts. Seriously, Lord Stow's Portuguese egg tarts are a definite must try. They are really awesome and sensational and I understand why they are so much love by so many people. In fact, I'm a huge huge fan of them too now. :)

Lord Stow's Bakery and Cafe,
Unit 2119a, Level 3,
The Grand Canal Shoppes,
Venetian Macau
Tel : +853-2866 6889
Opening hours 10 am to 11 pm and 10am to 12 mn (Friday and Saturday)

Our love for Portuguese egg tarts sent us trying both the Lord Stow's as well as Margaret's. Rumours had it that both Andrew Stow and Margaret were once husband and wife and after they got divorced, Margaret came out and open her very own Portuguese egg tarts bakery and cafe.

Margaret's Cafe is located at the Macau Peninsula and unlike Lord Stow's, there is only one and only one Margaret's Cafe e Nata in Macau. It is situated very near to Sintra Hotel, in fact in just less than 5 minutes walk straight down the road (can ask the hotel reception for direction. They are very willing to show and give direction). 
The cafe itself is sorta hidden at the back alley, so do watch out for the signage to the cafe
Ta-da! Portuguese egg tarts from Margaret's. Comparatively, I felt their egg tarts more buttery and oily and their crust slightly not as crisp. The egg custard filling is equally generous, soft and creamy with their caramelize top although I will say Lord Stow's one tasted richer. None the less, they do come in very close to Lord Stow's and are very tantalizing as well. Also price at MOP 8, these are worth investing too
Early morning fresh face with my Portuguese egg tarts
Margaret's Cafe e Nata has a more oriental Chinese feel with a quick in and out kinda experience and Margaret herself can be found in the shop, though not exactly very friendly I must add. She seems really impatient and does not allow any photography inside her shop at all

They too have various other type of pastries and sandwiches aside from Portuguese egg tarts and although we did not had any room for them, they do look and smell good. My favourite between the two is still from Lord Stow's but both really impressed with their Portuguese egg tarts.

Margaret's Cafe e Nata,
Edificio Kam Loi,
Macau China
Tel : +853- 2871 0032

It had kind of become my ritual to try out the local McDonald's whenever I travel. McDonald's do vary between countries with modified menu to cater to the local tastebuds. Besides, who does not loves happy food McDonald's. Hence, I did also tried out the Macau McD and discovered that they have the 'white' and 'black' burger on their menu. Something we definitely do not have on our McD menu back home. As I could only pick one between the two, I decided to go for the white one instead of the black burger (white is chicken while black is beef).
McDonald's mushroom soup - tasted so so only with like 1-2 pieces of thinly sliced mushrooms only
This is probably more worth trying; the white burger. Aside from having obviously white sesame bun, comes in a light and creamy mash potato base with pepper mushroom sauce top with a crispy chicken patty and bacon! Lovely lovely bacon. The verdict? The mash potato ensure that the whole burger is not too dry while the pepper sauce taste is just right, not too peppery or spicy. And the bacon certainly makes it much love

Although McDonald's can be found commonly around Macau, the prices do vary between those in the resort/ casinos and those that are outside. The exact same thing is double the price of those sold out of the resort/ casinos.

Another must try while in Macau is their fusion of Macau and Portuguese cuisine known as Macanese cuisine (Fun fact : Macau, until 20 December 1999 was an overseas Portuguese territory, founded in 1557). 

We decided to try out Vela Latina restaurant, which is located very near (less than 2 minutes walk) to Senado Square (Largo do Senado). We went during lunch because the few times we walked pass during dinner time, they were always a crowd queuing outside the restaurant. Located on the second floor of a beautiful old building, the restaurant overlooks the main street and Senado Square below. Inside, it has a romantic and warm setting and although it is a Portuguese restaurant, they do serve Macanese food as well. 
Tourist restaurant shot at Vela Latina
We were told that food portion is pretty large, especially for two ladies hence we decided to go for the signature Spicy African chicken. It is one of the most popular Macanese dish which is a mixture of Portuguese and Meditteranean cooking with African influences (as people from Portugal's African colonies also came to Macau). The African chicken version of Vela Latina is dry and they are roasted and deep fried to a golden brown served with potato wedges and side vegetables. It is very flavourful, the skin was thin and crispy but disappointingly the meat was a tad too rubbery. Overall, it rates a 7/10

Vela Latina is really a pretty fine place to dine but it is pretty expensive to dine there. Our Spicy African chicken was HKD 138 and contrary to it's name, it was just very very mildly spicy. But we love it there and it was a refreshing experience trying out an authentic Macanese cuisine.

Restaurante Vela Latina, 
201, Av. Almeida Ribeiro
Tel : +853- 2835 6888

Last but not least, everyone visiting Macau should not miss paying Koi Kei Bakery a visit. But on the other hand, it will be really difficult to not notice Koi Kei either as the bakery can be found very easily all over Macau. Their presence seems to dominate every nook and corner of Macau. There are several other bakeries in Macau, but the most famous of them all is no doubt Koi Kei. It's pretty obvious that every tourist who visited Macau will bring home at least an item from Koi Kei as souvenir (you hardly see anyone leaving Macau without at least one Koi Kei paper bag in hand). The best part of all Macau bakeries? They have testers for almost all of their cookies so you can try and see if you really like what you eat before buying. 

I call this the "bakery" lane as most of the shops along this lane leading to the Ruin's of St Paul are dotted with different bakeries making me very hungry walking past them as the aroma of the cookies whiffed from the bakeries as we pass
The much love signature Macau almond cookies. Yes, if you don't already have a clue, almond cookies are one of Macau trade mark products. Almost all of them from the various bakeries in Macau have very strong almond taste that is really good and is really munchy but I would say the one at Koi Kei tasted the best of them all
Just one of the many Koi Kei Bakery around Macau and all of them are constantly flooded with people
Another thing I find really special of Macau is the fact that they also loves and sells 'bak gua' (bbq pork) in their bakeries! And their bbq pork comes in really huge sizes like at least 1m2 or half a meter square with different flavours. Like they have choices ranging from one whole pork fillet to spicy pork to piglet fillet to beef fillet to even wild boar fillet. Seriously an amazing array of choices. I tried the whole pork, spicy and piglet fillet and even bought some back for my family but we didn't quite like the Macau bak gua though. I think they lack that strong fragrant bak gua flavour that we locals love and their fillets are kind of rubbery too
Cookies, cookies everywhere
Some other local products such as salted fish and bird nests that can be found in Koi Kei
This is my favourite! Phoenix egg rolls with pork jerky (pork floss) wrapped with seaweed
Sifu making the almond cookies on the spot
Among some of the cookies I bought home from Koi Kei. We bought a few boxes of what we like home and finished it within a few days! Their cookies are really pretty good and I really like those that goes with the pork jerky especially

I don't have to give you their locations as they can really be found all over Macau. Besides, they also have franchises in Hong Kong and Singapore as well. But, it's really worth a visit to their bakeries to try out their local cookies and see if you like what you put into your mouth. I personally quite favour their cookies. 

Saying goodbye to Macau. Really love their small airport by the sea

It was a pretty short but comfortable 3 days 2 nights getaway with mum. We just seriously enjoyed our time together exploring the island for some of it's best spot and food. We only spent time at Macau Peninsula and Taipa and didn't manage to include Coloane this time round as we were just too lazy to find our own transport there. We just depended totally on all the free shuttle that was conveniently available. Macau is a pretty small island and aside from being well known as the gambling hub of Asia, it is also rich in history, blend of cultures and good food especially their Portuguese egg tarts. I'm so in love with those Portuguese egg tarts I can drool just thinking of them. Macau is certainly fun enough and good for those who want to just sink in the local culture without having to move with a fast pace or be stuck in massive congestion all over. :)

PS All reviews above are based on yours truly POV only and are definitely not advertorials or paids reviews. Hence, yours truly is not responsible for any discrepancy in taste or opinons. :)

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2 fondue dips :

So many foods!!
Thanks for the post Allison as I'm going to Macau next week and I still have no clue on what to visit,. Haha!

Sharon : You're welcome. Enjoy your trip there :)