As you guys know, I’m based in Asia and it’s my base when I put my backpack down. Also, after launching a new startup in Hong Kong recently I spend a lot of time in Hong Kong. That gave me a great opportunity to visit the beautiful Macau next door. Macau is literally just a boat journey from Hong Kong and can be accessed as a day trip very easily; the ferries run all day and all night, and if you didn’t think it was worth your time, you’re very wrong indeed.
Macau is often dubbed the Las Vegas of the East due to the vast amount of casinos dotted throughout the region. It’s a great place to visit for a flutter, but that’s not all it has to offer. For a start, the Macau tower is home to the tallest bungee jump in the world, operated by AJ Hackett, so it’s a hotspot for adrenaline junkies. Furthermore, its status as a former Portuguese colony distinguishes it from Hong Kong: few can deny that the European-style colonial buildings sporadically emerging throughout Macau are a beautiful sight to behold. And, of course, then comes the delicious Macau food. East meets West. The food could almost constitute the sole reason to pay Macau a visit. So let’s look at the five best food options in Macau:
I’m a sucker for anything sweet, so it’s no surprise that straight in at number one is Macau’s most famous dessert – Serradura. It’s actually a Portuguese word, translated directly as ‘sawdust’; so, although that mightn’t necessarily get the juices flowing, rest assured that it is indeed delicious.
The ‘sawdust’ terminology is derived from the fact that this dessert consists of crushed-up biscuits, interspersed with layers of whipped cream, vanilla and condensed milk. Amazing on the tongue, albeit not so much on the belly.
B) Egg tarts – Portuguese style
Hong Kong also claims egg tarts as its signature snack, but the Portuguese-style egg tarts most definitely belong to Macau. Quite simply, it is comprised of a delicious crumbling pastry-shell full of sweetened egg custard and sealed with a hot caramalized creme brulee style ‘lid’. I could recommend a million and one places to try this, but to be honest you can’t walk ten minutes in any direction without bumping into a bakery selling them. And they’re all pretty delicious.
Hold off on buying the first one you see and try to find a place when they’ve just prepared a fresh batch; it happens regularly so don’t worry. Fresh out of the oven is the only way to truly experience Macau’s premier snack.
C) Pork Chop Buns
I have literally never stumbled across this creation in any of my travels aside from Macau, so they seem to own this one outright. It’s the perfect snack to fuel your afternoon wandering around the casinos and through the streets of Macau. Basically, it consists of a beautifully seasoned, boneless pork-chop, sizzling hot and wedged within a white, fresh bun. Simple, admittedly; but absolutely delicious. The iconic St Paul’s ruins, which you’ll undoubtedly visit, is crammed full of street vendors answering all your pork chop bun needs.
Straight from the Colonial times of Portugal, Bacalhau or ‘cod’ as a direct translation, took Macau by storm. Dried and salted to perfection, Bacalhau is said to be capable of being prepared in over one thousand ways – stewed, grilled, baked etc. In Macau, the commonest method of selling this delicious local treat is as a falafel style ball, then whacked on top of some rice. It’s served in so many different ways though, so keep your eyes open.
E) Bakkwa/Pork Jerky
This is hugely widespread all over East Asia, but Macau seems to love it that extra touch more. Huge ‘sheets’ of pork jerky, marinated and seasoned with a huge array of different sauces and spices. Sweet, spicy, sour – whatever you like, you’ve got it.