One of the great pleasures of Macao is that even though it’s one of the world’s major vacation destinations, it has managed to retain its small-town vibe. You could spend all day shopping in Macao by wandering its shopping malls, browsing the international labels that run the gamut from A. Testoni to Zara and everyone in between.
While there’s no shortage of top quality and an endless range of goods, Macao is also dotted with smaller-scale independent stores – quirky, fun, imaginative outlets that sum up the city’s entrepreneurial spirit. And even if you’re not in the mood to actually buy, browsing Macao’s mini stores is entertainment in itself.
Buddy Candy Store
Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can’t fail to enjoy yourself amid the sheer spectacle that is Buddy’s.
Just about every single form of confectionary is temptingly arrayed here, like something out of Hansel and Gretel but without a witch lurking in the corner.
There are lots of cartoon characters, with special guest star appearances by Disney and Hello Kitty among others.
It goes without saying that Buddy Candy Store is incredibly popular, with regular customers dropping by either for a quick sugar fix or picking up a present for a birthday or some special celebration.
Buddy Candy Store is at 14, Patio de Chon Sau; +853 2835 8222
Everyone’s heard about the legendary 24-hour-suit that you can buy in Asia – one that’s put together in a matter of hours for just a handful of dollars.
Sartor Lab is the complete opposite of such breakneck tailoring, providing the sort of bespoke service that would make Savile Row look to its laurels. Set aside time for at least two fittings, and maybe a third to be on the safe side.
Sartor also runs a corporate service, assembling outfits for executives for either for a special occasion or daily use. And for the executive in a tearing hurry, there’s also a neat selection of ready-to-wear.
Welcome to artisan land. The main attraction of Re-Elements is the leather workshop, where the chief craftsman hosts sessions in making wallets, passport- and card-holders and similar objets d’art.
Call ahead to book a session. Otherwise, take a stroll around to peruse some of the leather goods which have already been made – everything from shoes to wine carriers.
There are some other amusing bibelots as well, such as candles shaped like animal heads.
Re-Elements is at 10/F, Shun Lee Mansion, Rua Sao Louis; +853 2856 0003
While online shopping might be making some retailers re-examine their business model, Alberto Chan – proprietor of Quarter Square – can relax safe in the knowledge that the Internet offers no challenge to his combined café and boutique which also boasts a roof terrace.
Housed in a two-storey village residence, Quarter Square stocks interior design products from Denmark, brass homeware from Japan, and Swedish skincare products, to highlight three of its more eclectic offerings. Added to which is a real sense of style, something that’s sadly lacking in many everyday retail
Added to which is a real sense of style, something that’s sadly lacking in many everyday retail emporia nowadays.
For those in the know, Anton spells antiques. Macao was once a mini Aladdin’s Cave for anyone fond of old furniture and the like, but the number of such shops has shrunk in recent years.
Rather than just Chinese antiques, Anton carries pieces from all around the world, as well as more modern items which are just stylish or unusual in some way. Prices are eminently reasonable, and the staff and knowledgeable and helpful in the extreme.
Anton is at 16 Rua dos Mercadores, Taipa; +853 6675 3663
Macao Fashion Gallery
For the past five years, the Macao Fashion Gallery has been trumpeting the city’s take on style, showcasing young designers’ creations in the heart of St Lazarus, one of the city’s most picturesque districts.
Despite being a government initiative, the gallery is in no way, shape or form fuddy-duddy. It stages exhibitions, seminars, workshops and similar activities on a regular basis, and on top of pop-up stores there is also a regular shop. And it’s not just local designers, as international names are sometimes invited to show off their work here too.
So, anyone who fancies getting one of the early designs of one of the fashion stars of tomorrow should simply drop by the Macao Fashion Gallery.
Not so much a shop as a market, The Village comes to life at weekends. No two are ever quite the same, as themes embrace – for example – recycling, book exchanges, or local handicrafts, spiced up with some form of entertainment such as live music performances, dance classes, movie screenings, art exhibitions, drama, magic shows, painting and design workshops.
Tucked away in the Broadway Centre Building on Rua do Campo in downtown Macao, The Village is one of the city’s most happening venues, patronised by a hip and friendly crowd.
Ed Peters lives in Hong Kong and is a regular visitor to Macao.
Looking for more places to go shopping in Macao? Here are a few more local stores. Macao is well-known for impressive luxury resorts, which are packed with high-end boutiques and brand-name stores. Taipa Village is Macau’s hippest neighbourhood and where you’ll find several shops, galleries and cafes. Art lovers would love these places.