Header image courtesy of Tsuguliev (via Shutterstock)
With 400 years of history as a Portuguese colony, Macau has a rich and complex food culture that has often been hailed as one of the earliest fusion cuisines. Beyond Portuguese and Chinese cuisine, Macanese food is also coloured by the food traditions from other Portuguese colonies, like Goa and Brazil, as well as far-flung places like South Africa.
That’s how this tiny little peninsula has national dishes that run the gamut from the decidedly Cantonese ginger beancurd to spiced African chicken and creamy Portuguese egg tarts. There are not many Macanese eateries in Hong Kong, since our sister SAR is just an hour’s ride away on the ferry—but considering that inter-SAR travel is still off the books, we’ve rounded up some of the best places in Hong Kong to get a taste of Macau.
This beloved Mong Kok cooked food stall is a local institution, drawing hungry shoppers, office workers, and students in every day with its Macanese-inflected cha chaan teng fare. Most people come to Macau Tsui Yuen for the farmer’s bun ($60)—a toasted, hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with the protein of your choice and served with a pot of thick, sweet curry sauce. The beef brisket filling is a perennial best-seller, though the pork cutlets and pork neck are also popular. The price also covers a bowl of soup and a hot drink, but you can upgrade to the stall’s famous iced coffee for an additional $10, too—the drink, which is thicker than the typical iced coffee, comes sprinkled with coffee powder for extra aroma.
Macau Tsui Yuen, Shop 8, 2/F, Mong Kok Complex, 557 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok | (+852) 3514 4348
If you’ve been to Central during lunchtime, chances are that you’ve seen office workers lining up down Wellington Street outside this charmingly ramshackle Macanese noodle joint. Though the menu is laid out like a cart noodle order sheet, with endless options for customisability, the noodles here are of the “lo mein” variety, meaning that they come slathered in gravy, rather than swimming in soup. Beyond noodles, there’s also a dedicated Macanese snack menu, with some signature items—like the Saint Paul pork bun ($18)—that have been named after historical Macanese landmarks.
Chopsticks Kee, 85–89 Wellington Street, Central | (+852) 2854 9969
Straddling the line between tradition and modernity is Café Terceira, a bright and cheery eatery in Times Square that serves classic Macanese dishes like African spring chicken with piri piri sauce ($158) and Portuguese roasted suckling pig & chips ($198) as well as more playful takes on Macanese cuisine like the fritter-esque bacalhau (cod), cheese, and potato dumplings ($78). Whichever direction your meal goes, don’t leave without trying the homemade serradura ($28), a simple and beloved Portuguese dessert of whipped cream layered with crushed biscuits.
Café Terceira, Shop 1302, 13/F, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay | (+852) 3101 9539
While we will always love Hong Kong egg tarts, we also have a huge soft spot for Macanese-style egg tarts. Until last year, the famous Lord Stow’s Bakery—which is attributed with being the birthplace of the Macanese-style egg tart—sold its pastries in Hong Kong through The Excelsior Hotel, which has since closed. While the bakery hasn’t officially announced a permanent new stockist in Hong Kong, they have partnered with the Mandarin Oriental for an extended pop-up, meaning that you can get freshly baked egg tarts ($20 each) at the Mandarin Cake Shop between 12 pm and 5 pm every day until the end of the year. Eggcellent.
Mandarin Cake Shop, Mezzanine, Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road, Central | (+852) 2825 4008
This chain restaurant, which is run by the same group as Café Terceira, has two sit-down branches in the New Territories and a takeaway counter at K11 Musea, making it one of the most accessible purveyors of Macanese food in the city. Like with Café Terceira, the menu offers a variety of classic Macanese dishes and more modern selections, including the rich and hearty Macanese duck rice with porcini au gratin ($80) and pork chop bun with truffle cheese au gratin ($68).