A former Portuguese colony, Macau is a special administrative region (SAR) on the south coast of China. The city is relatively small but the world's most densely populated. You probably know Macau as a top gambling destination. However, there is much more to explore than casinos. Macau is a melting pot of cultures that offers a unique cultural experience to those willing to explore. From magnificent Portuguese and ancient Chinese temples to breathtaking attractions and mesmerizing festivals, Macau has something for any tourist.
And if you call yourself a foodie, Macau will not disappoint. Did you know that Macanese cuisine is considered the first-ever fusion cuisine? Macanese cuisine flavors, the city's plethora of fine-dining restaurants, cozy eateries, and exciting street food scene earned Macau the status of UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. Not to get lost among all the culinary offers, read our curated list of 10 must-try foods and drinks in Macau!
A Chinese dessert served fresh from oven. Tart shells are filled with rich egg custard and go right to the oven. In Hong Kong cuisine, shortcrust pastry or puff pastry is generally used for the base of a tart.
Crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside, Portuguese egg tart is a symbol of Macau, just like its prominent landmark, The Ruins of St. Paul's. Although the pastry originated in Portugal, this egg tart has a distinctive version in Macau. The main difference from its older brother is that the Macanese tart is less sweet and eggy.
Could you even consider visiting Macau if you haven't lined up for a few egg tarts at Lord Stow's Bakery & Cafe? This spot is legendary as that's where Macau's recipe for the Portuguese egg tart was born.
Minchi is one of the signature dishes of Macanese cuisine. And just like Macanese cuisine has roots in various culinary traditions, so does minchi. The word comes from the English word "mince," as the original recipe includes minced meat, usually beef or pork. The meat is fried with soy and Worcestershire sauces and served with fried potatoes topped with egg. Nothing complex, yet this local dish is an aromatic perfection of home-style cooking.
Every household and restaurant in Macau has its recipe for minchi. But the one you should definitely check out when in town is Belos Tempos. With a casual atmosphere and reasonable prices, Belos Tempos offers time-tested recipes to win your heart and stomach.
It's well-known that rice is a staple in Asia. And Macau is not an exemption. One of the most beloved rice dishes in the region is congee, a Chinese rice porridge eaten mainly for breakfast but also as an afternoon or late-night meal. Unlike many other rice recipes, congee takes longer to cook and requires more water. This technique makes the texture soft and creamy. From sweet to savory, you will find various congee toppings in Macau. Choose from exotic century egg and pork intestines, or go for more conventional beef, crab, and fish toppings.
If you wish for a 100% authentic experience, head to one of the places locals frequent. One of them is a humble eatery in the historic center, Seng Kei Congee. Offering Cantonese specialties for breakfast and early lunch, this cafeteria serves one of the best congees in town.
When exploring the rich history and culture of the city, sometimes you only need a snack on the go and a drink to keep you energized. Among the most beloved beverages in Macau is milk tea. As simple as the name suggests, it is just tea with sweetened cow milk brewed in a clay pot. Today there are different variations, including the mega-popular bubble tea, and cold milk tea with tapioca. But to truly dive into Macau traditions, try the authentic beverage that people in Macau have been sipping for centuries. It is a standard option at Macau cha chaan tengs, affordable cafes typical in Macau and Hong Kong. Every place has its recipe and secret techniques. Drink it cold or hot; pair it with a pork chop bun or an egg sandwich. Milk tea is a part of Macanese culture that you shouldn't miss out on!
To enjoy a glass of authentic milk tea and retro vibes, head to one of the oldest cha chaan things in Macau, Nam Ping.
It is a steamed, fried or baked small-portioned dish served in steamer baskets. It consists of various buns, dumplings and rice noodle rolls filled with a range of ingredients. Usually it is eaten for breakfast or lunch.
Dish sum is a quintessential Chinese meal traditionally eaten for breakfast and brunch, widespread in the South. Thousands of dim sum types include dumplings, rolls, cakes, and so much more. Basically, dim sum is a range of sweet and savory small plates served with tea. Some of the dim sum must-tries in Macau are xiao long bao, steamed dumplings with broth; delicate rice noodle roll; turnip cake, and barbeque pork bun.
You can find the dim sum in many Macau restaurants, from casual eateries to three-star Michelin restaurants. Are you looking for exquisite gastronomy? There is no better place than The 8 Restaurant with three Michelin stars. With mindblowing design and artistic presentation, The 8 Restaurant serves some of Macau's most creative and unique dim sum.
Another Macanese specialty not to miss is African chicken, barbecued poultry topped with a delectable creamy sauce. That sauce, cooked with coconut milk and chili, makes African chicken one of the must-try foods in Macau. Despite what the name suggests, this recipe originated in the SAR. However, the spices such as Piri Piri pepper come from the African Continent.
Book a table at Restaurante Litoral to taste one of Macau's most flavorsome African chickens. This home of Macanese cuisine offers family recipes with flawless service, a mix that is hard to beat.
Walking the streets of Macau, you will notice that pastry shops are a big part of local gastronomy. People in Macau have a sweet tooth too! And among the multitude of traditional pastries and sweets, the renowned almond cookie stands out. Funny enough, its original recipe didn't contain almonds, only mung bean flour. But its almond shape gave the biscuit its name. However, today almonds are commonly used in these biscuits.
Apart from being a must-try food to eat in Macau, almond cooky is the ultimate edible souvenir to bring home. Find one of the oldest pastry shops, Pastelaria Fong Kei, on the vibrant Rua do Cunha in Taipa. Not just a bakery but a part of Macau's culinary heritage, Fong Kei has been baking almond cookies since 1902.
A traditional Chinese, particularly Cantonese, dish - barbecued pork. Typically it is a pork shoulder cut in long boneless strips seasoned with honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder and rice wine, roasted over an open fire. May be served with rice, noodles, or alone as a main dish.
Who doesn't love some perfectly roasted BBQ? When in Macau, do it like Cantonese and taste char siu. To prepare it, chefs source high-quality pork, season it with five-spice powder and glaze it with honey, fermented bean curd, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce. Then, the seasoned pork spends enough time in a rotisserie to make it juicy on the inside and caramelized on the outside. Restaurants often serve char siu with fluffy steamed rice. You will also see street vendors selling this aromatic delicacy all over the town.
Should you wish to discover this must-try food in an exquisite setting, make a reservation at Jade Dragon. Sophisticated diners chose this restaurant with three Michelin stars for its unparalleled service, lavish design, and, most importantly, the refined culinary experience.
It is impossible to imagine Chinese cuisine without noodles, a dish cherished among locals and foreigners alike. Whether spicy Sichuan dan dan noodles or meaty zha jiang mian from Beijing, noodles are eaten all across China and around the globe, too. While you can find hundreds of different noodles in Macau, arguably the most beloved in the area is wonton noodles. Served in a bowl of vegetable broth with shrimp wontons and egg noodles, this is a must-try food when you are looking for something hearty and easy on the stomach.
With an array of eateries offering this dish, one that earned some of the most praise is Wong Chi Kei. This long-established restaurant with more than half a century of history has two other branches in Macau.
Serradura is a layered dessert born in Portugal and introduced in Macau during colonial times. It means "sawdust" in Portuguese for the finely crumbled tea biscuits. It is easy to make and requires only a few ingredients, which doesn't make it any less saught-after. Layers of crushed biscuits alternate layers of whisked cream. Then, the dessert needs around five hours in the fridge to be served cold. Yum!
Today serradura might be even more popular in Macau than in its country of origin. So it won't be hard to find it around town. You can finalize your meal with serradura in most Portuguese and Macanese restaurants. For example, try Espaço Lisboa in Coloane, a charming Portuguese restaurant mentioned in the Michelin guide.