A Culinary Experience from Macao

Peter Morrell samples Macanese food, the World’s first Fusion Cuisine

Macao is one of Asia’s most fascinating destinations, with its exciting mix of east and west, old and new. Along with its renowned gastronomic scene, including 18 Michelin-starred restaurants, Macao highlights include the World Heritage-listed Historic Centre, world class nightlife and entertainment and a year-round programme of colourful events and festivals. It makes the perfect two- or three-night addition to a Far East holiday or stopover en route “Down Under”.

Just 40 miles from Hong Kong, Macao is located on China’s south coast at the mouth of the Pearl River and surrounded by the South China Sea. Macao has its own international airport with connections from around the region, but most UK visitors fly to Hong Kong and take the fast ferry to Macao from the airport or downtown, which takes around one hour. Within the next six months travel to Macao will be even easier when a new bridge is opened.

One of most exciting aspects of Macao is the cuisine. Recently Chef Antonieta ‘Neta’ Fernandes Manhão, a specialist in Macanese cuisine from Macao visited London. She worked alongside British chefs to create a menu inspired by the traditional Macanese Cha Gordo (‘fat tea’).

Chef Neta, who is half-Portuguese and half-Chinese, is committed to preserving the unique culinary heritage of this fascinating destination. Chef Neta prepared traditional recipes like Minchi, a classic dish of sautéed minced pork and beef whose name is said to derive from the English word ‘mince’, and Casquinha de Caranguejo (crab meat baked in its shell with olives, spring onion, turmeric and breadcrumbs).

Macanese cuisine reflects Macao’s unique history and Portuguese maritime culture. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Portuguese merchants brought exotic spices and flavours to Macao from Africa, India and South East Asia – including curry, coconut milk and cinnamon. These were incorporated, along with local Chinese ingredients and culinary techniques, into traditional Portuguese dishes, giving birth to the uniquely delicious Macanese cuisine of today. In 2017, Macao was recognised by UNESCO as a Creative City of Gastronomy, reflecting its rich and distinctive culinary heritage.

Peter Morrell Editor commented “I had the opportunity to sample Chef Neta’s food in London and it was outstanding. The cuisine alone is a good enough reason to visit Macao with the added bonus of a rich cultural heritage that will wow the most experienced traveller

For more information about Macao, visit www.visitmacao.co.uk