Macau food may be overshadowed by the world famous Cantonese cuisine of nearby Hong Kong, but the unique Macanese cuisine of Macau is well worth tucking into. Much like the city’s identity, Macanese food is a fusion, combining the best of Chinese and Portuguese ingredients and cooking, along with exotic influences from as far afield as Goa, Brazil and other former Portuguese colonies.
Like Cantonese cuisine, Macanese cuisine is largely based on freshly hooked seafood, although the creatures from the deep on offer are slightly different. Codfish, crab and sardines all feature on menus, alongside duck, rabbit and chicken dishes. It is, however, in the flavours that the Portuguese influence really shines through. Spices such as chilli, turmeric and coconut, amongst others, feature heavily, and while Cantonese cooking relies heavily on freshness and simplicity, Macanese dishes are often baked or roasted for long periods to allow the flavour of the spices to come out. The combinations are usually simple and large, relying on piles of meat often accompanied only with a side salad, but almost always stuffed with flavour. Desserts, arguably a weak link in the Cantonese armoury, are also well represented in Macanese cuisine. Just try a Macau Egg Tart.
While Macanese might suggest it’s the national cuisine of Macau, the vast majority of restaurants are Cantonese and will rarely have Macanese dishes on their menu. If you want to try the real food of Macau, you’ll need to head to one of just a few dedicated Macanese restaurants or one of the more popular Portuguese restaurants that usually offer a number of Macanese dishes.
Wondering what to try? Check out our Top Five Must Try Macanese Dishes