Tuesday, May 11, 2010

8 Hours in Macau

3:10 pm: We finally arrived at this former Portuguese colony. The ferry ride from Hong Kong was delayed for almost two hours due to heavy fog. It's not a perfect start to the day. But we're relieved to be here.

3:34 pm: No visit to Macau would be complete without a visit to Yee Shun Milk Dairy Company at Senado Square. One of their signature dishes is Double-Skin Steamed Milk. A traditional Cantonese dessert, the steamed milk is smooth with a very strong milk taste. The cooking process is quite interesting. A first milk "skin" is formed by letting boiling milk in a bowl to cool. The skin is then lifted and the milk poured into a mixture of egg white and sugar. The mixture is poured back into the bowl and steamed to form the second skin.

3:40 pm: Another must-have Macau snack is pork chop bun. The grilled pork fillet was juicy and delicious, and the bun toasted to perfection. We also ordered the steamed milk with ginger juice and sardine bun. Both were good.

4:00 pm: A short walk from Yee Shun led us to St Dominic's Church. Built by the Dominican priests in 1587 and renovated in 1997, this church also houses a museum on the upper floors.

4:30 pm: The cobblestone path from Senado Square to Ruins of St Paul's was unmistakably touristy. There were shops selling local snacks, most offering free samples.

4:34 pm: One standout shop was Pastelaria Pun Veng Kei. Nothing beats watching this old man making "gold-coin" egg biscuits on the premise. Made from nothing but flour, eggs, sugar and butter, these biscuits were crispily fresh and delicious.

5:00 pm: It felt surreal to finally arrive at Ruins of St Paul's. Almost 50 pictures were taken here. Couple shots. Group shots. Personal shots. And most of all, shots of its magnificent facade and the grand staircase leading up to it.

5:30 pm: A steel staircase located at the rear led us to the top of the facade. Low rise buildings and large casinos dominate the skyline of Macau. Compared to Hong Kong, Macau seemed to be less polluted and a lot calmer. Well, if you disregard the casinos.

5:45 pm: The Venetian Macau, one of the biggest and boldest casinos in the world. Modelled after its sister casino in Las Vegas, this hotel casino features 3000 hotel rooms, indoor artificial sky, faux canals, European marketplace and every gambling option you can think of. Oh, they also speak English.

6:00 pm: For the romantics, a gondola ride down the faux canals would only set you back for AUD30 per couple. Your personal gondolier will also serenade you along the way.

7:35 pm: Arrived at the famous Fernando's restaurant at Hac Sa Beach (black sand beach). Fernando's was recommended by Google and touted as one of the best Portuguese restaurants outside of Portugal. You could reach here by bus, but I would recommend taking a taxi because this restaurant is quite far from the city centre. There's a no booking policy.

We waited almost half an hour for a table but it was definitely worth it. The star of the night was the roasted suckling pig (leitao assado no forno, MOP 138 or AUD20). The skin was very crispy and the meat juicy and tender. Our party of four wished there was more on the plate.

8:00 pm: The stir-fried clams (ameijoas a moda da casa, MOP118 or AUD17) was also excellent. The clams were fresh and the sauce happily soaked up by the freshly baked bread.

8:15 pm: We also liked the Crab Casserole(carangueijo na cacarola, MOP166 or AUD23.30), especially its tomato-based sauce which was very tasty and full of crab flavours. Our least favourite dish was the roast chicken, which was too salty for our liking (galinha assaa na brasa, MOP78 or AUD11 for 1/2 chicken).

9:00 pm: After dinner, we continued to roam around some of other casinos in town. You just have to applaud the length they went into to outdo each other. For me, the award for the most outstanding show went to the Wynn Hotel and Casino for its Golden Tree Prosperity Show.

We caught the show when a spectacular chandelier was descending from the ceiling while a 11-metre golden tree was blooming from the ground. The colour of the tree then changed from gold to green, then to red and finally silver according to the four seasons - all while the tree was rotating. After the chandelier and tree returned to their home positions, a large LED display screen covered the ceiling to show a school of dancing abstract objects before the ceiling closed again. Wow.

We might not have had a perfect start to the day, but our trip definitely ended with a bang!

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14 comment(s):

Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial May 12, 2010 at 7:39 AM  

Wow, what a trip! Your photos show a side to Macau most people don't see - I've always thought of Macau simply in terms of casinos. Thanks for sharing, Wink, this was a really interesting post...

chocolatesuze May 12, 2010 at 11:06 AM  

the double skin milk sounds interesting! is it super sweet? and bwahahaha also speak english lol

Jennifer, Inside Out Colour and Design May 12, 2010 at 3:32 PM  

It's been a long time since I was in Macau and the city has certainly grown since then. Lovely to hear all about it. Makes me want to go back.

Jennifer XX

missklicious May 12, 2010 at 8:48 PM  

Macau is such a great place for food. I love the portugese food, and the pork buns!

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! May 12, 2010 at 11:02 PM  

It's great how we get to experience things through others =)

Amy @ cookbookmaniac May 12, 2010 at 11:35 PM  

I really liked Macau when I visited there more than 5 years ago. My sisters and I stumbled upon a portuguese restaurant (the food was mindblowingly amazing). I think I would enjoy it even more, now that I have my blog. If that makes any sense at all.

Anh May 12, 2010 at 11:54 PM  

Seeing the photos of your post is like I'm visiting the place. (I know I have said that before, but your travel photos are simply Amazing!)

Juliana May 13, 2010 at 9:29 AM  

Great pictures...enjoyed them very much...Thanks!

Trissa May 13, 2010 at 5:59 PM  

I've never been to Macau but have heard great stories - especially the casinos and the food! I love your pictures - 8 hours was not enough.

foodwink May 15, 2010 at 9:47 AM  

Hi Celia - Thanks a lot. There were PLENTY of casinos in Macau, but I love it for the food and Portugese-influenced architecture.

Hi suze - It's not. Tastes like milk, milk and milk :)

Hi Jennifer - Macau is so full of character, isn't it?

Hi missklicious - Yes! But unfortunately, we didn't have any egg tarts due to lack of time. Ahh, talking about regrets.

Hi angie - Yes, I like to think that I cook vicariously through your blog :)

Hi anh - THANK YOU!

Hi juliana - thanks for dropping by. Glad that you like the pictures.

Hi Trissa - You're right. 8 hours was simply not enough - there's so much more to eat!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 16, 2010 at 8:47 PM  

Wow the Venetian is like a bit of Las Vegas in Macau! I suspect I would like that double skin dish-my favourite part was always the custard skin :P

mashi May 21, 2010 at 1:21 PM  

OMG, the pork chop bun looks divine. Your post is making me hungry x

foodwink May 22, 2010 at 8:32 AM  

Hi Lorraine - Isn't it? My favourite was Wynn - The Venetian seems tacky IMHO.

Hi mashi - Haha, that's the point. I want some of those pork chop bun now too!

Von May 22, 2010 at 10:21 PM  

I saw the second picture, and thought it looked really familiar (I've never beene to Macau). Then I realised I went to the Yee Shun Milk Dairy Company but it was the one in Hong Kong.....=] I was just watching a chinese tv show on macau the other day, and it had the same man making the egg biscuits!! They look so good! I wanna go to Macau now.....

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