Macau is a foodie’s playground and the UNESCO World Heritage area is one of the first places I like to go to experience the city’s impressive food and drink scene. Intertwined with centuries-old World Heritage attractions are hundreds of places to try good street food and Macanese specialty snacks or to dine at local cafes, restaurants and coffee shops.
Snacking in Macau’s popular local eateries is budget friendly and a self-guided food tour around the Historic Centre of Macau is a great way to start your visit.
This do-it-yourself food tour includes 15 places in the area between two famous landmarks in Macau, Senado Square and the Ruins of St. Paul’s, so you won’t have to walk far to find them all.
More guides for visiting Macau on a budget:
- What To Eat In Macau – Historic Centre
- Macanese Specialty Snacks
- Something Savoury
- Something Sweet
- Something Healthy and Fruit Juice Drinks
- Coffee Time
What To Eat In Macau – Historic Centre
Macanese Specialty Snacks
Let’s start with something truly local.
Take a short stroll down Rua de São Paul (also referred to as Food Street) and you’ll find numerous local pastelarias (bakeries) where you can sample a wide variety of Macanese snacks.
Macanese cuisine is unique to Macau and is a fusion of Portuguese, Chinese and other Asian cuisines.
Koi Kei Bakery (Macanese specialty snacks)
Koi Kei is the most famous pastelaria in Macau.
They have several shops along Rua de São Paulo, including the large outlet directly on Largo Comphania de Jesus in front of the Ruins of St. Paul’s.
This Koi Kei branch has an extensive selection of Macanese specialty snacks including homemade almond cookies, Phoenix rolls, peanut and ginger candies and a wide range of bak-kwa (braised jerked meats).
You can try most of the foods at Koi Kei for free and purchase whatever you like best.
They also sell good Portuguese-style egg tarts (sadly no free samples).
At Koi Kei, I particularly enjoy their varieties of spicy bak-kwa, which are succulent and flavourful and sold for MOP80+ per pound.
They are good for nibbling on while sightseeing around the Historic City of Macau.
Staff will also gladly seal bags of bak-kwa so that you can return home with them after your trip.
Opening hours are 10 am to 10.30 pm daily.
Choi Heong Yuen (Macanese specialty snacks)
This is another very popular pastelaria with a few shops around the city centre including a branch at 28E Rua de São Paulo.
Again, feel free to try and buy from their wide range of Macanese snacks.
My favourite at Choi Heong Yuen would be the traditional almond cookies, which I find to be amongst the best in the city.
These little dandies are nice on their own and even better at home with a cup of coffee or tea.
Opening hours are from 10 am to 10 pm daily.
If you want something savoury and more substantial, here are a handful of good options in the area.
Cathedral Café (Portuguese style chorizo)
Cathedral Café is a good spot for Portuguese and western breakfasts, light meals or a round of drinks in the evening.
I like to stop here for a plate of their Portuguese chorizo (MOP95) served with traditional bun.
The chorizo is slightly spicy, succulent and flavourful.
It is a hearty portion size so consider sharing if you want to save tummy space for other food stops in the area.
Note that this is a good venue for seated service as well.
They have upstairs and downstairs seating in the cellar, staff are friendly and service timely.
This café is located at 12 Rua da Sé, very near to Cathedral Square. Opening hours are 7.30am to 10pm daily.
Tai Lei Loi Kei (Pork chop buns)
Tai Lei Loi Kei is famous for their local-style pork chop buns (MOP55), which they started selling in Taipa Village in 1968 and is one of the places I recommend if you’re looking for snack food in Taipa.
The Macanese style pork-bun (chopa bao) is a popular street food.
What you are served is a seasoned pork chop in a hot Portuguese bun or a pineapple bun if you prefer a toothsome finish.
It is rather simple, yet also very tasty.
Do be mindful that pork chops are served on the bone, which you may not see because of the large bun.
Make sure to bite softly to avoid a bruised tooth.
There are two branches in the World Heritage area at 12A Travessa de São Domingos and at 25 Rua de São Paul. Opening hours are 8am to 6pm daily.
Café SAB 8 (Bacalhau tarts)
For a creative light bite, order the signature Bacalhau Tarts (MOP20 each) at Café SAB 8
This is an innovative take on traditional Portuguese pasteis de bacalhau (cod balls) and a delectable treat.
The tarts are creamy with a nice cod flavour.
They also sell signature Sardine Tarts which make for an interesting stronger-flavoured option.
Bacalhau Tart orders can take up to 20 minutes so be prepared to wait.
The good news is that this is another sit down place where you can rest your feet while waiting for your tarts to come out.
Café SAB 8 is at 10 Patio De Chon Sau near Largo da Companhia de Jesus. Opening hours are 12pm to 8pm (closed on Mondays).
Estabelecimento de Comidas Ka Lei Weng (Curry bowls)
Interested in something more Chinese when it comes to street food? You’ll find quite a few places serving up fish ball sticks and curry bowls throughout the city centre.
Trying a curry bowl at Establecimento de Comidas Ka Lei Weng means choosing from a wide range of ingredients including tofu, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, sausages and meat balls (MOP10-15 per choice) as well as noodles if you like.
I recommend selecting at least four to five ingredients.
Your choices will be steamed together, put in a green take-away bowl and topped with spicy curry sauce.
These are served piping hot so allow time for some cooling.
Establecimento de Comidas Ka Lei Weng has branches at 10-12 Travessa de São Domingos and 2 Rua de Monte on the square along Rua do Palha.
Dai Gwan (Black pepper pork dumplings)
The Taiwanese pepper pork dumplings (MOP19 each) served at Dai Gwan are one of my very favourite street foods in Macau.
The Michelin guide loves this place and so do I.
Here you are served up a hand-sized dumpling that is crispy on the outside and stuffed with spring onion, succulent pork and black pepper sauce.
They are hearty, delicious and one of the best value for money food experiences in Macau in my opinion.
Interestingly, Dai Gwan uses a cylindrical-shaped iron bucket to bake the pepper pork buns.
It can be seen just next to the serving counter and if you arrive at the right time, you can watch them loading raw buns or removing those ready to be served from the iron bucket.
They are happy to let you look inside and take pictures at those times as well.
Dai Gwan is at 1 Rua do Monte and is open from 10am to 8pm daily.
When you are ready for a sweet snack or dessert, head to these places!
Coco Legend (Handmade coconut ice cream)
Handmade coconut ice cream is a local favourite and there are several places to find this dessert in the World Heritage area.
This includes Coco Legend on 40 Rua de São Paulo. Opening hours are 9.30am to 9.30pm daily.
Their cups of coconut ice cream (MOP30) are usually frozen solid so best to let it thaw for several minutes before eating. The ice cream is slightly gritty with lots of coconut bits.
The coconut milk flavour comes through well with mild sweetness.
Durian Garden (Durian ice cream)
Durian Garden has a bright green-coloured shopfront and is a great place for durian-flavoured ice cream.
Durian is a pungent fruit with a spiky outer shell and a creamy flesh wrapped around large seeds.
There are two grades of durian ice cream: Regular Durian in a cone (MOP35) or cup (MOP40) as well as a special Mustang Durian in a cup (MOP60).
The ice-cream texture is creamy and smooth and the taste is expectedly strong.
Do be ready for that first bite, especially if you have not tasted durian before.
Durian Garden is located at Patio da Cabaia 11A on the small square along Rua da Palha. Opening hours are 8.30am to 9.30pm daily.
LemonCello Gelato (Lemoncello gelato)
LemonCello is another Michelin recommended place and a long standing favourite in Macau.
This little shop offers 30 different gelato flavours (MOP35 for one scoop, MOP40 for two) and most that I’ve tried over the years are pretty good.
However, if you are only going to have one, go with the signature Lemoncello, which is a citrusy and refreshing option on a hot afternoon.
It’s also a great palate cleanser after eating all those savoury foods.
LemonCello is located at 6 Travessa do Bpo, near Cathedral Square. Opening hours are 11am to 11pm daily.
Leitaria I Son (Steamed milk pudding)
Leitaria I Son (also called Yee Shun) is famous in Macau for their steamed milk pudding.
The pudding is served hot or cold (MOP34-37).
Their signature is plain-flavoured but you can order it with other ingredients such as ginger or red bean.
The pudding tastes like sweet milk and has a creamy and smooth texture.
This is a good light food to have early in the day or as an afternoon dessert.
Leitaria I Son is at 7 Rua Leste do Mercado de Sao Domingoes, next to St. Dominic’s Church. Opening hours are 9am to 10pm daily.
Something Healthy and Fruit Juice Drinks
GREEN’s Kitchen & Juicery (Healthy food and drinks)
For those searching for something healthy, look no further than GREEN’s Kitchen & Juicery.
Here you can find vegan and vegetarian friendly fare including wraps, salads and delicious banana nut bread.
They have gluten free foods and sell freshly made smoothies and cold pressed fruit drinks as well.
GREEN’s Kitchen & Juicery is at 20 Rua da Se. Opening hours are 11am to 6pm daily.
Come On (Tea and fruit Juices)
There are a handful of fruit juice shops around Largo de Companhia de Jesus.
I like the naturally sweet and refreshing Kumquat lemon tea (MOP15) from a shop called Come On.
They also sell fresh Thai coconut juice served in a coconut husk (MOP25).
To find Come On, look for the shop near the red post box at the corner of the square.
They have an open window and large container filled with ready to sell fruit drinks.
Dry ice smoke is pumped over the drinks, making it easy to recognise their shop.
These days there are plenty of places to grab a cup of coffee in the Historic Centre of Macau.
Here are two places that I really like.
Sei Kee Café (Old-fashioned clay pot brewed coffee)
In the old days, coffee in Macau was brewed in claypots making use of charcoal.
This traditional brewing method is how Sei Kee Café still does it to this day.
Enjoyr a take-away cold coffee (MOP20) from Sei Kee while sampling other foods in the area.
This drink is sweet and moderately strong and has a silky and creamy texture.
It makes for a good try if you want to experience old Macau-style coffee.
Sei Kee Café is at 7 Patio de Palha, a small lane just off Rua do Palha.
Communal Table (Serious coffee)
For a serious cup of black, I’ll go to Communal Table, which is a few minutes walk from Cathedral Square.
This is one of the very best coffee shops in the city and a place to seek out if you want serious coffee.
Baristas are well-trained and they make use of locally roasted Blooom coffee beans.
While I usually order an espresso or long black, the white coffee, mocha and affogatos at Communal Table are also very good.
Communal Table is at 29C Rua Formosa. Opening hours are 8 am to 6 pm on weekdays and 10 am to 7 pm on weekends.
These are 15 places that make for a fun DIY food tour during visits to the Macau World Heritage area.
Just keep in mind that there are many more food and drink options and if you are able to explore the broader Historic Centre of Macau, you’ll discover hundreds of other places to pick and choose from.
Don’t hesitate to venture beyond this list if you find a place that tempts your taste buds.
It’s all part of the Macau experience!