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!