Today’s feature travel video is of us eating street food in Macau, China with a specific emphasis on Macanese cuisine which has distinct Chinese and Portuguese influences.
After an impossibly long day packing up, moving out and flying to Macau from Chiang Mai, we were ready to hit the streets – after a long sleep – to check out all of the culinary delights Macau has to offer.
Unique to Macau, Macanese cuisine is an eclectic blend of Portuguese, southern Chinese, SE Asian and African influences.
It’s a fusion style of cuisine that combines ingredients found in Europe, other parts of Asia and locally.
Old world blends of spices including coconut milk, cinnamon, turmeric and bacalhau are typical seasonings when making Macanese dishes.
Baking, seldom used in Chinese cuisine, features prominently in Macanese dishes.
As we wandered through the historic area of the Macau we quickly realized we’d be able to mark off all of the items we had our checklist of street foods to try eating.
Macanese Cuisine: Street Food In Macau
On our way from Senado Square (Senate Square – *Portuguese: Largo do Senado; Chinese: 議事亭前地*) to The Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral (Portuguese: Ruínas de São Paulo, Chinese: 大三巴牌坊) we walked along a bustling pedestrian section featuring many kinds of Macanese dishes.
There were so many people competing for space it looked as though an ant hill suddenly split open with all the ants (people) scurrying about frantically.
Macanese Egg Tarts
First on our list was the famed Egg Tarts (Portuguese: pastel de nata) which we quickly spotted as we randomly wandered around.
Pastéis de nata were first introduced in China under the Portuguese government that controlled Macau.
In Chinese they are known locally as 蛋撻 and/or 蛋挞 (pronounced as dàntǎ) literally translating as egg tart.
On the outside they were crispy with a soft fluffy creamy center similar to a souffle. Distinctly sweet, they immediately were a hit with both of us.
As we continued along the pedestrian strip we encountered a shop giving out free samples of dried and sweetened strips of meat. Audrey took a bite and proclaimed it tasted similar to bacon.
Macanese Almond Biscuits
Our quest to satisfy our ever demanding sweet tooth brought us over to a shop selling almond biscuits (杏仁饼 or 杏仁餅). Also known as almond cakes and almond cookies, these Chinese pastries are quite similar to shortbread Christmas cookies. They’d make a great little snack for afternoon tea.
Macanese Pork Chop Bun
Feeling a little overwhelmed by the gridlock of people in tandem with stifling heat and humidity, we decided to head down a less crowded side street where we just happened to stumble across a shop selling Macanese pork chop buns.
These buns, which are crispy on the outside and soft inside, are some of the most popular snacks in all of Macau. Luckily, the little eatery we selected was full of locals, so we knew it would be good.
Also known as a piggy bun, a fried slab of seasoned pork chop (豬扒包) is placed inside of a bun that appeared to be coated with butter.
Although this dish wouldn’t score highly in terms of ‘being healthy’ it certainly was delicious as the pork was very flavorful and melted in your mouth with each bite of the bun.
The one dish we didn’t get to try was Galinha à Africana (African chicken); however, I have tried it once before and I even made my own version of African chicken which I shared as a recipe on my site.
Complete List Of Street Food in Macau
Macau is known for its vibrant street food scene, featuring a unique blend of Chinese and Portuguese flavors. Here is a list of some popular street food options in Macau:
- Portuguese Egg Tarts – These are probably the most iconic street food in Macau. The tarts have a flaky crust and a creamy egg custard filling. The best-known shop for egg tarts in Macau is Lord Stow’s Bakery.
- Pork Chop Bun – This is a crispy pork chop served in a soft bun with a side of spicy sauce or mustard. The pork chop is usually marinated in a blend of spices and then deep-fried.
- Almond Cookies – These are traditional Chinese cookies made from almond powder, sugar, and egg white. They have a light and crispy texture and are usually sold in small tins.
- Serradura – A Portuguese dessert made from layers of whipped cream and crushed biscuits. The dessert is usually served in small cups.
- Fish Ball Noodles – This is a popular street food in Macau made with fish balls, noodles, and a flavorful broth. The fish balls are made from minced fish and then boiled or deep-fried.
- Curry Fish Balls – Another popular street food made with fish balls, but this time served in a spicy curry sauce.
- Portuguese-style Grilled Chicken – A delicious dish of grilled chicken marinated in a blend of spices and then grilled over an open flame.
- Beef Jerky – This is a popular snack made from thin strips of dried beef that have been marinated in a blend of spices and then dried in the sun.
- Bubble Tea – This is a popular Taiwanese drink made from tea, milk, and tapioca pearls. It has become a popular street drink in Macau.
- Cheong Fun – This is a rice noodle roll filled with ingredients like pork, shrimp, or vegetables. It is usually served with a sweet soy sauce or peanut sauce.
These are just a few examples of the street food that can be found in Macau. There are many more unique and delicious options to discover!
Macanese Foods To Try That Are Not Street Food
Macanese cuisine is a unique blend of Chinese and Portuguese flavors and has a wide range of delicious dishes that can be enjoyed beyond street food. Here are some examples of Macanese dishes that are not street food:
- African Chicken – This is a popular Macanese dish that combines the flavors of Portugal and Africa. It is made with chicken marinated in a blend of spices, coconut milk, and peanuts, and then baked or grilled.
- Minchi – A dish made with minced beef or pork, potatoes, and soy sauce. It is usually served with a fried egg on top and rice on the side.
- Bacalhau – This is a Portuguese-style salt cod dish that has been adopted into Macanese cuisine. The salt cod is soaked in water and then cooked with potatoes, onions, garlic, and olives.
- Capela – This is a Macanese dish made with pork, chicken, or beef stewed in a rich tomato sauce. It is usually served with fried potatoes and rice.
- Sopa de Lacassá – A soup made with vermicelli noodles, chicken or pork, and a flavorful broth made with Chinese herbs and spices.
- Tacho – A slow-cooked stew made with different types of meats such as beef, pork, and chicken, as well as vegetables like potatoes and carrots. It is seasoned with a blend of spices and red wine.
- Galinha à Portuguesa – A Portuguese-style chicken dish that has been adapted into Macanese cuisine. The chicken is marinated in a blend of spices, white wine, and olive oil, and then grilled or baked.
- Caldo Verde – A soup made with kale, potatoes, and chorizo sausage. It is a traditional Portuguese soup that has been adapted into Macanese cuisine.
These are just a few examples of the many delicious dishes that can be found in Macanese cuisine beyond street food.
Where To Eat Street Food In Macau
Macau is a vibrant and exciting city, and its street food scene is a must-try for any foodie visiting the area. The blend of Chinese and Portuguese influences creates a unique and delicious fusion cuisine that is sure to delight your taste buds. The best way to experience Macanese street food is by taking a stroll through the local markets and food stalls.
One of the best places to start your street food adventure is Senado Square, a popular tourist destination and a great place to try some street food. Here you can find a variety of snacks and desserts, including the iconic Portuguese egg tarts, pork chop buns, almond cookies, and more. The bustling market atmosphere adds to the excitement of trying new foods.
Another great spot to explore is the Red Market, a local market in Macau where you can find a variety of fresh produce and street food. This is a great place to sample some of the local specialties, such as fish balls, curry fish balls, grilled squid, and more. The lively market is a great place to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the vibrant street food scene.
If you’re looking for a charming neighborhood to explore, Taipa Village is a great option. This area has a variety of restaurants and street food vendors, where you can find traditional snacks like cheong fun, beef jerky, and egg rolls. The narrow streets are filled with vendors and small shops, creating a cozy and welcoming atmosphere that will make you want to explore further.
For a more laid-back experience, you can head to Rua do Cunha, a street in Taipa Village that is known for its food stalls and restaurants. This is a great place to sample some of the iconic Macanese street food, including Portuguese egg tarts, pork chop buns, and almond cookies. The colorful buildings and lively atmosphere create a picture-perfect setting for your street food adventure.
Moreover, if you’re looking to venture off the beaten path, Horta da Mitra is a street in the Coloane Village area where you can find a variety of street food vendors. This is a great place to try some of the more traditional Macanese snacks, such as minchi, Portuguese-style grilled chicken, and bacalhau. The quiet street and relaxed atmosphere offer a refreshing break from the bustling markets and tourist spots.
Furthermore, Macau’s street food scene is a unique and exciting culinary adventure that is not to be missed. From the iconic Portuguese egg tarts to the more traditional Macanese dishes, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Exploring the local markets and food stalls is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the vibrant street food scene.
Street Food In Macau Final Thoughts
Amidst the hustle and bustle of Macau’s streets, A symphony of smells and flavors greet The adventurous foodie with open arms, Inviting them to sample local charms.
The aroma of pork chop buns fills the air, Luring the hungry with its savory flair. Golden egg tarts with a crispy crust, Are a sweet treat that you simply must.
Fresh fish balls, grilled squid, and beef jerky, Are some of the street food classics that are lucky To call Macau their home and their stage, Delighting locals and tourists of every age.
The fusion of Chinese and Portuguese cuisine, Creates a blend of flavors that is simply serene. Minchi, bacalhau, and grilled chicken too, Are dishes that will make your taste buds woo.
So come and explore Macau’s street food scene, A culinary adventure like you’ve never seen. The delicious treats that you’ll find, Will leave a lasting memory in your mind.
Overall, we enjoyed tickling our taste-buds with Macanese cuisine and we highly recommend you try as much as you can when visiting Macau.