Macau is a thriving city that has much more to offer than gambling. It has gorgeous colonial architecture, some of it on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and beautiful beaches and excellent food and drink.
It is a special administrative region of China and under the “one country, two systems” policy has its own government, police, tax system and currency independent from Mainland China.
1. Nga Tim
Macau is a multi-faceted destination that boasts the most impressive collection of casinos in Asia. It also has a thriving tourism industry.
Located on the northernmost Macau Peninsula, the Old City is full of heritage landmarks and interesting streets filled with quaint shops and delicious restaurants. The area also features a delightful cross-cultural relic – the Feira do Carmo, an open-air marketplace with a roof made of Chinese tiles supported by Roman pillars.
Travelers looking for a more laid-back experience can take a trip to Coloane, the former island that is now connected to Taipa by reclaimed land. This area offers hiking trails and beaches.
2. Long Wa
One of the oldest dim sum and tea houses in Macau, Long Wa is a cash-only place that serves simple food and is a great place to enjoy a moment of quiet. It has a wide variety of Chinese and Chinese-inspired teas, plus traditional Cantonese dim sum, all priced at $25 per basket.
The restaurant is also located in a beautiful building with intricate hand-carved doors that tower above a low-lit corridor. The graceful entrance opens into a huge room that is set off by a wine cellar on one side and sweeping views of Macau on the other.
Macau has grown from a tiny trading port to a city that covers fourteen times its original size. It’s a sprawling metropolis that was once an overseas Portuguese territory until 1999, when it reverted to China.
Located on the 11th floor of Altira Macau, Tenmasa is a culinary experience like no other. The brainchild of Chef de Cuisine Takenori Noguchi, the restaurant offers a wide selection of high end Japanese dishes crafted by a master in the making.
Tenmasa is a classy place to dine with its Japanese inspired decor, tatami seating and an exclusive sushi and sake bar. The most impressive part of the restaurant is its tempura, a deceptively simple food preparation that takes years to perfect.
Fernando’s has been a staple of Macau since 1986. It may be a touristy restaurant, but the Portuguese food is fantastic and the atmosphere is warm and cozy.
The clams and roasted chicken are excellent, and the salad with lots of bread is just divine. It’s a great place to have lunch with a friend or to sit down and relax after a day on the beach [9 Hac Sa Beach, Coloane].
At this popular Portuguese hot spot Tony is joined by locals for an homage to Macau’s colonial heritage, over grilled chorizo, fresh clams steamed with garlic, cilantro, and white wine with Malagueta pepper, grilled fresh sardines, and roasted suckling pig marinated in wine and spices.
5. Cheung Chau Ping Kee
There’s no Macau without a mango mochi, and this tiny address on Wing On Street churns out fresh fruit-filled treats. The velvety texture tastes mildly of rice and the filling options are a riot of fruits including strawberries, kiwi and bananas.
Cheung Chau Ping Kee sells its fruit-filled dough as a traditional snack for local rituals like the Hungry Ghost Festival and the Bun Festival. It’s also a popular spot to get the bun for Buddha’s birthday, which is celebrated every year on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month.
6. Almond Cookies
Chinese almond cookies, or Xing Ren Bing, are one of Macau’s most famous snacks. These savorier, nuttier, and slightly chewy cookies are made with mung bean flour, which results in a deliciously crumbly texture.
They also contain an egg, which acts as a binder to hold them together. The addition of icing sugar also adds sweetness.
They’re a perfect treat to enjoy with friends and family. They are particularly popular during the Chinese New Year.