One thing the Macanese people inherited from the Portuguese after the latter’s colonial rule in Macau is the love for bacalhau dishes. This is a regular on the menu of most Macanese restaurants and eateries.
Bacalhau, a staple Portuguese dish, is made of dried slices of codfish.
Codfishes can be grilled, braised, or baked after desalting for at least 20 hours. Fried bacalhau balls, steamed bacalhau with seafood, and bacalhau with rice are only some of the standard codfish dishes in Macau diners.
Macanese street food
Scrumptious Macanese food is not only found in fine restaurants and cafeterias. Stroll along the street at nightfall and be flooded with a wide range of lip-smacking treats. Come by the Senado Square, where small food stalls flourish by nighttime, and try Chinese and Hongkong-inspired meals.
Lo Mai Fan, or glutinous rice, is definitely a must-try. This stir fried rice meal with onion chives, Chinese chorizo, and seasoning is sure to quench hunger from all the day’s activities.
Another special street meal is the steamy peanut porridge, which goes well with either pork dumplings (siew mai) or sweet Hongkong curry fish balls.
Portuguese Egg Tarts
Perhaps the most popular street food in Macau is the original Portuguese egg tart, another gift to Macanese cuisine from the European settlement. Egg tarts are a mainstay at the streets leading to the Ruins of St. Paul.
It is, however, best to buy original Portuguese egg tarts from seasoned establishments such as Margaret’s Café e Nata and Ko Kei.
These bite-sized treats are perfect for light and quick snacks and come in different variants such as the special bird’s nest egg tart.
Egg tarts are best eaten with complementing beverage, such the milk tea from the local fast food restaurants.
Traditional almond cookies
The traditional almond biscuits of Macau are another favorite among street food connoisseurs. These tasty Macanese cookies come in different shapes and sizes, with a special variant that resembles Chinese chess pieces. (This variant is aptly called chess cookies and is the most popular of the almond cookies, as it adds fun to the experience of cookie eating.)
Almost every Macanese pastry shop offers a unique style or variant of the traditional almond cookies. Some cookies are packaged with whole almonds while others are served with ground or rough-chopped almond nuts.
The almond cookies from Pastelaria Koi and Pastelaria St. Paulo offer some of the most sought-after versions. These traditional almond biscuits are also popular as take-home gifts for family and friends.
Although you may find pork sandwiches in other parts of the world, you still have to try one when you’re in Macau, the pork sandwich capital of the world. It is impossible not to find a pork sandwich here. This cheap yet gastronomically satiating meal reigns as the king of all Macanese street food.
Fried pork chop or lean meat served in freshly baked bread is the perfect and most prevalent Macanese snack and makes for a filling quick lunch.
The Macanese pork chop sandwich is best enjoyed with a hot or cold drink such as ginger milk, green tea, or chocolate.