Portuguese Cuisine in Macau – China

Portuguese cuisine has influenced the foods of countries around the world from Asia, to India to North America. This post is for the Portuguese Foodie and the Portuguese Historian in all of us!

Many of you may not know much about Macau, which was the former colony of Portugal off the southeastern coast of China for over 400 years. It was the first and last European colony in Asia until it was given back to China in 1999.

The tiny region is less than the size of Manhattan and home to nearly a half million people. The architecture is European. “Portuguese” is the official language spoken there.

My cousin lived in Macau for over 20 years and I remember receiving post cards and Christmas cards written in both Portuguese and Macanese and I found it so interesting that Portuguese was the main language of a country in Asia. Watch the video at the end of this post to listen to the Macanese Portuguese language and see if you can understand it!

Portuguese cuisine plays a main role in the foods of Macau which has a unique fusion of Asian and Portuguese flavor.

There are hundreds of Portuguese restaurants, bakeries and even the 5 star resort casino’s which all have Portuguese dishes on the menu.

This Spring, award winning Portuguese chefs from Portugal; Marco Gomes and Luís Américo, traveled to Macau to open a Portuguese restaurant,  “Fado” at the Royal Hotel Casino in Macau. The chefs were featured in Journal Tribuna de Macau a Portuguese Journal Magazine, a few months ago.

Photo credit: Chefs Marco Gomes and Luis Americo (Center)

Chef Luis Americo                                                            Chef Marco Gomes

Royal Hotel, Macau

Portuguese restaurants Antonio and Miramar can be found at Portuguese named streets such as; Rua do Cunha and Rua Fernando Mendes, and Rua Central.

Chef Antonio Coelho – Antonio’s restaurant is listed in the Michelin Guide Macau.

Visit this link for some amazing images and top 10 things to do in Macau.

Top 10 things to Savor in Macau: Author M.G.Edwards

# 6 Dine on Macanese and Portuguese cuisine

“Macau offers a delicious fusion of Chinese and Portuguese cooking. The two have blended into a local style known as Macanese cuisine with an emphasis on baked goods and grilled and roasted meats. Some popular Macanese dishes are Portuguese or African chicken, codfish (bacalhau), gray chicken or rabbit (pato de cabidela), spicy chili shrimps, minced beef or pork (minchi), stir-fried curry crab, steamed pork buns, and egg tarts. Macau has many fine Macanese, Portuguese, and Chinese restaurants. Dine at one recommended by a local or the concierge at your hotel. We dined at Antonio (259 rua dos Negociantes Taipa), a Michelin 3-star Portuguese restaurant owned by renowned chef Antonio Coelho widely known as one of the best purveyors of Portuguese cuisine in Macau. The meal was delicious, and the ambiance was wonderful.”

Visit these links for more information that lists hundreds of Restaurants and bakeries that offer Portuguese cuisine;  dining.macau.com/dining/restaurants – Casinos and hotels; macauhotel.org/grand_lisboa_hotel

The Venetian Macau has the Madeira Portuguese Restaurant which has a reputation for excellence, serves Portuguese dishes.

The Venetian Macau

The Mandarin Oriental’s restaurant named Vida Rica has many Portuguese dishes on the menu including Bacalhau and Carne Alentejana.

The Mandarin Oriental Macau


The Grand Lisboa, the Wynn Macau, and The Sands Macau are named in the top 5 best casino’s in Macau n Travel.cnn.com.

Michelin Star Chef Joel Robuchon’s – Michelin 3 star restaurant; Robuchon au Dôme, is Macau’s most impressive and exclusive restaurant is on the 43rd floor Dome of the Grand Lisboa casino and has one of the best views of Macau.

Famous Pasteis de Nata: Lord Stow’s Bakery
This legendary bakery is best known for its world-famous egg tarts. Many other egg tart bakeries have popped up around Macau, but none can compare to Lord Stow’s. It has 4 shops including one at the Venetian Macau.

This photo of Lord Stow’s Cafe is courtesy of TripAdvisor

A brief History:

“China gave Portugal the right to settle in Macau in the 16th Century, in exchange for clearing the area of pirates under strict Chinese administration. It became Portuguese colony after the treaty signed by Qing and Portuguese Government in 1887. Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999, ending over 400 years of Portuguese administration.”

Macau, is like Hong Kong which has a business-friendly environment and a lot of foreign investment. Capitalism is thriving here and if Hong Kong were China’s New York, then Macau would positively be its Las Vegas. Gamblers spent 8 Billion dollars here, more  than in Vegas.

Due to it’s proximity to over 1 Billion people, Macau’s casino industry and colonial attractions make it China’s top tourists destinations.

According to an article in Forbes Magazine; “Macau’s casino industry earned close to $38 billion in total revenues in 2012. This figure is not just substantially higher than that for Las Vegas, but also higher than the figure for the total U.S. casino industry. Macau’s casino gaming revenues grew by 13.5% in 2012.

Since most of us can’t make the long trip to visit this unique city where old world Portuguese Colonial influence meets modern say fine dining and tourism here’s a video for your enjoyment. Listen to the language that’s called Macanese – Portuguese!

I’ve also shared 2 great video diaries of travel to Macau which feature Portuguese architecture and cuisine.

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