As Macau’s reputation as a foodie mecca has soared, chefs from around the world have flocked to the former Portuguese enclave to flex their culinary brain and brawn. The Macau food scene has come a long way in recent times.
Some of the recent arrivals transcend the classification “world-famous”, with Joël Robuchon being the prime example. Others could well be the celebrity chefs of tomorrow. Watch this very tasty space.
Dominique Bugnand – Vida Rica
It’s fitting that a former sailor should now be a top chef in a city that was once the premier port in Asia.
Dominque Bugnand, the creative virtuoso behind Vida Rica, embarked on his hospitality career in the French Navy in 1984. Since then, he’s worked in hotels around the world, and now presents classic French cuisine with a modern twist such as his signature Wagyu strip loin steak with shallot sauce.
“I am committed to putting a new shine on the tradition of culinary expertise by introducing diners to my own particular range of French fine cuisine with superb service,” he says.
Wee Chee Kiang – Xin
Like many Malaysians, Wee Chee Kiang grew up in awe of TV chef Martin Yam – and promptly decided he wanted to cook for a living too.
He currently helms Xin, an Asian hotpot and seafood restaurant whose name translates as “freshness”.
“Xin is the ultimate expression of what eating fresh food should be – great food is all about taking the very best and freshest produce and allowing it to shine,” says Chef Wee.
One of the star attractions of Xin are Chef Wee’s Asian soup bases, such as Nyonya Laksa soup, Sichuan spicy chilli oil broth, and Chinese herbal tonic with black silk chicken.
Joël Robuchon – Robuchon au Dôme
Never mind the trio of Michelin stars, never mind the awesome setting and service, and never mind that “Chef of the Century” Joël Robuchon only puts in an occasional appearance at his Macau kitchen – you can taste his genius in every bite.
“When a dish works, it works for everyone, whether you’re Asian, European, African, American or anybody else,” says the 70-year-old Frenchman, who has been cooking professionally for the past half-century and garnered a raft of awards in the course of his career.
António Coelho – António
The phrase “larger than life” could have been invented for António Coelho.
With a broad grin and arms opened wide in welcome, he ushers guests to their table in his charismatic backstreet restaurant in Taipa before diving back into the kitchen.
There are plenty of other restaurants around here, but only one António, which could well be pronounced “passion”.
“When I opened in 2008, I wanted to promote Portuguese food and culture – so our signature dishes are items like goat cheese with acacia honey and Portuguese olive oil, and Portuguese duck rice,” says Chef Coelho who has worked at top hotels and restaurants around the world, and is a Master Chef of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.
Robby Setiawan – Belon
It might be the beetroot-cured Norwegian salmon, or the vibrant seafood platter, or it might be any one of dozens of other items on Belon’s menu: one thing’s for sure though – they’re all curated by Javanese native Robby Setiawan, the restaurant’s executive sous chef.
Fish and seafood have figured large in Chef Setiawan’s career, as has fusion. “I am passionate about the deep study of different Asian and Western food cultures,” says the deceptively boyish-looking Indonesian, who was hailed as chef of the year when he worked in the Maldives.
One tip for Belon newbies: if you’re fond of molluscs, ease up to the Oyster Bar, which doesn’t close till midnight.
Looking for a Macau restaurant that offers a unique fine dining menu? Here are three top French chefs.
Looking for something delicious to try? Here’s a Portuguese egg tart recipe from one of Macao’s top chefs.
Macao’s Portuguese egg tart is world famous. Try the ones at Lord Stow’s.
Looking for something delicious in Macao? Here’s our Macau restaurant guide.
For a delicious Macao recipe go here.
Where to eat? How about trying a Macanese feast?