Even before the term “fusion” turned out to be a global culinary trend, there existed the Macanese food—the original fusion gastronomic, which blended the Chinese and Portuguese ingredients collected by the Portuguese sea cruises along the South-Asian, African, and Indian coasts.
All this began after the Portuguese settled in Macao. These seafarers introduced not only the European ingredients but also the cooking methods, including roasting, stewing, and grilling in the region.
Over time, the Chinese spouses tried to cook to their Portuguese husbands, dishes that were as close as possible to what they usually had back in their mother country. But of course, they did not have enough ingredients. So they tried to blend the available Chinese and South Asian ingredients. This is how the famous Macau dishes came into being.
Whereas the top world cuisines are known beyond their borders, the Macanese cuisine exists only within Macao, reflecting its tourism importance. The Macau cuisine, which was almost exclusively home-cooked, has recently found its way into the local restaurants in an effort to preserve the country’s unique and ever-evolving culture. So, what is the Cuisine in Macao and gastronomy like?
Macau Cuisine and Gastronomy
Much like Macau’s fusion identity, Macanese cuisine is also a fusion, blending the best of Portuguese with Chinese ingredients and culinary. The city’s food and cooking emanate from as far as Brazil, Goa, and other Portuguese colonies.
Macau cuisines are prepared with a lot of garlic and onions. The cuisine is well seasoned with curry, cumin, and other non-local spices. Unlike the Chinese culinary, Macau cooks use a lot of potatoes, boiled or fried. The Macau famous dishes you will never lack in any Macanese restaurant are “Minchi” and the “Chu Pa Bao,” They are the icons of the Macanese foods.
Minchi is mainly a dish of white rice served with minced meat and a fried egg on top. Presenting with thousands of recipes, Michi is ideally a cheap meal. On the other hand, “Chu Pa Bao” is essentially a pork steak on a sandwich. Planning your next trip to Macau? Do not bother inquiring a lot about the cuisines in Macau. Go straight into any restaurant and order one of these. Fortunately, they are not only available in almost all the restaurants, but they are also cheap.
What is the Cuisine in Macao? Currently, Macau is a place where food is taken seriously and similar to other Asian countries; they also consider cuisine as an art. Macau cuisine is a blend of textures and flavors. One major unique characteristic of these Macau famous dishes is the amazing blend of sweet and sour, hot and cool, sharp and tasty, and mostly crunchy and smooth.
Influences and Characteristics
Macanese food came about, mostly from necessity and homesickness. When the Portuguese sailors or merchants felt hungry while in foreign countries, mainly in Macau, they encouraged their Indian and Chinese wives to prepare for them these dishes.
Some historical documents also point out that some Portuguese settlers had difficulties in adapting to the local Chinese foods. To solve this, they brought from their cruises some ingredients they were familiar with, such as eggs, chicken, milk, cheese, spare-ribs, and fish.
These ingredients and spices from Africa, India, and South-eastern Asia were combined using the Chinese cooking skills in some wonderful aromas and taste, giving birth to the Macau famous foods of today.
Macanese cuisine is noble and well-seasoned with vast Portuguese influence. It is cheap, fast and can be found almost everywhere in Macau. The Chinese residents also had a pervasive influence in Macau’s culinary, including dim sum, Minchi, and lots of noodles. Street food is also everywhere in the city and its Wahoo! You will also come across seafood buffets in Macau.
With all these characteristics and influence, Macau’s famous dishes are incredibly unique and vibrant, so distinct that Macanese gastronomy was included in the 2012 Macao intangible cultural heritage list.
In a Nutshell
Macau cuisine and unique culinary culture are borrowed from the best aspects of Asian and European cuisines. The best way to enjoy Macau’s famous foods is the authentic way. Thanks to its UNESCO designation as a unique city of Gastronomy, Macanese famous dishes might find itself on menus far and wide.