Move over Michelin and Macanese. It’s time to highlight some of Macau’s lesser-known but worthy food, drink and dining experiences for visitors who are eager to try something a little bit off the beaten path. Here are 10 places that you might want to try in Macau.
1-Café T.H.S. Honolulu
Café T.H.S. Honolulu has been around since 1950 and has grown into a chain of 13 sit-down cafes around Macau. The café serves up economical breakfast, lunch and dinners to locals of walks of life.
Interestingly, Café T.H.S. Honolulu also offers over 20 varieties of international coffee beans, which are ground, brewed and served to order along with meals or on their own.
It is all part of the reason this business has successfully been around for the past 65 years in Macau, affordable meals and good coffee!
Meet the new Spanish kid on the block, L.B. SuperPollo.
This franchise arrived a few years back and has already expanded to three branches, specialising in slow-roasted chicken and cocas (Catalonian style pizzas), which are affordable and tasty.
This is a neat place to try if you want a break from sightseeing in the World Heritage area and fancy hearty, tasty, casual Spanish cuisine that won’t break your bank.
3-Son I Literal
This local ‘Char Chan Sat’ style café is also known as Yee Shun Dairy Company and is very popular for Cantonese-style cheap-eats and their famous steamed milk pudding and other milk-based desserts.
Crammed with tables, seats and droves of locals, there are two Son I Literal branches along Avenida de Almedia Ribeiro, on either sides of Senado Square. This is a fun place to try a local dessert, such as a plain (hot or cold) milk pudding or almond, chocolate or milk pudding with red beans.
To find Son I Literal, look for the sign of a cow with a green background.
4-Terra Coffee House
Macau’s café scene has seen a flurry of new coffee shops and bars opening up in recent years. Terra opened its doors during the summer of 2012 and quickly emerged as one of the best coffee shops in Macau, for its location and quality coffee.
Located in the quaint St. Augustine Square and close to a handful of UNESCO World Heritage attractions, Terra Coffee House is the ideal place for an afternoon break to enjoy black coffee and iced-coffee.
Open from 12pm to 12am, this place can get very busy. If there are no seats, just order your drinks to go and enjoy them at one of the seats across the street at the square.
Located in a traditional makeshift tin building next to the Coloane promenade, Hann Café is a cute little place run by a local barista who caringly prepares each cup of coffee sold in her little shop.
Hann Cafe is a genuinely unique place to try well-made coffee in Coloane. It’s a bit pricey but this is serious coffee, which can be enjoyed along with take-away egg tarts from nearby Lord Stow’s Bakery. It’s a winning combination and a classic afternoon snack to enjoy on the promenade.
6-Noodle & Congee Corner
One of the few non-Michelin places to eat at the Grand Lisboa, the 24-hour Noodle & Congee Corner is a top spot to taste a wide variety of noodle dishes representing various regions of China. Dishes are freshly prepared, served up quickly and are very tasty.
What’s even more enjoyable than the food is watching the noodle-makers behind the kitchen glass, demonstrating their expertise in rolling, cutting and boiling noodles with speed and precision. It is entertaining and tourists are welcome to take pictures.
Plenty of famous Portuguese restaurants around Macau should be take notice of the relatively unknown FADO, located on the second floor of Hotel Royal Macau.
This is the best Portuguese restaurant in Macau that you’ve probably never heard of.
Managed by Chef Luís Américo (Portugal’s chef of the year 2004), FADO serves up Portuguese dishes with an innovative touch. Notable dishes include their modern take of Arroz de Pato (Duck Rice), terrine of suckling pig as well as Posta a Mirandesa (northern Portuguese style rib-eye).
Unsurprisingly, desserts are gorgeous and delicious as well!
8-IFT Educational Restaurant
A less conventional dining option in Macau is the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) Educational Restaurant.
This is where you will find unexpectedly good Macanese, Portuguese and other western cuisine prepared by students learning to cook in the restaurant. They have a pretty decent wine list as well.
As a training centre, prices are more affordable than most established Portuguese restaurants around Macau. A large seating area makes this a great option for families. The restaurant is only open from Monday to Friday.
9-LemonCello Gelato Shop
After a hearty serving of African Chicken and other flavoursome Macanese dishes, nothing cleanses the palate better than a refreshing scoop of lemon gelato.
In Macau, this means a visit to one of the two LemonCello Gelato shops.
Situated on tiny Travessa Se, just off Senado Square, as well as in Taipa Village, LemonCello has been around for years, dishing out delicious scoops of traditional flavours. There are exotic choices like passion fruit, kiwi and durian. Their top seller is the lemoncello (lemon) flavoured gelato. This is a real winner and a refreshing dessert after dinner in Macau.
Whoever said that Macau was soulless obviously has not been to Macau Soul, an intimate wine bar on Rua S. Paulo just off the Ruin’s of St. Paul.
Operated by local expats David and Jackie, 400 labels of Portuguese wines are available at Macau Soul along with a selection of quality Portuguese foods and snacks, which can be enjoyed at this charming venue that you might just confuse for a European antique shop instead of a wine bar.
Only a handful of tables are available each evening so it’s best to call and reserve seating if you fancy an evening here and if you are lucky you may be able to catch one of their jazz events.
Brad Reynolds lives and works in Hong Kong but regularly spends time in Macau enjoying its emerging food and dining scene.
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