Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Macau: Popular Macau delicacies and top food finds (Macau pasalubong)

While Macau has so many popular delicacies to savor and take back home, there are five food finds which people can't stop raving about. A lot of tourists take them home for pasalubong. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Portuguese egg tarts 葡撻
Portuguese egg tarts are modifications of the Portuguese custard pastry called pastéis de nata. The original Macau version is a creation of Lord Stow's Café 安德魯餅店葡塔 in Coloane Island. The owner, a Briton named Andrew Stow, following the same pastel de nata recipe, baked the egg tarts using techniques in making English custard tarts. The main feature of the egg tart is a caramelized custard with a crème brûlée-like consistency inside a puff pastry case.

Aside from Lord Stow's, another popular source for the Portuguese egg tarts would be Margaret's Cafe e Nata 瑪嘉烈葡塔 which is near the Grand Lisboa. The store was quite hard to find since it's in one of the side streets. Good thing I had a photo of the egg tarts in my phone so I was able to ask locals for directions by showing the photo. When we arrived there, the line was quite long, proof that the egg tarts are much sought after. One piece is HK$/MOP7 while a box of six is HK$/MOP40. We bought two boxes, enough supply until breakfast the next day!

2. Bakkwa (jerky or dried meat) 肉干
Walking towards the Ruins of St. Paul, it's impossible to miss the stalls selling bakkwa. In fact, the vendors will try to grab your attention by talking to you in broken Filipino and offering you a free taste. These sweet or spicy preserved meats are another popular Macau delicacy you might want to take home. Price depends on the type of meat and the flavor.

3. Almond cookies 杏仁餅
Another treat you'll see while walking to the Ruins of St. Paul are almond cookies, which are also referred to as almond cakes or almond biscuits. In fact, don't be surprised if the hawkers start offering a free taste, hoping to get you to buy more.

One of the more popular stores for these yummy cookies is the Pastelaria Koi Kei. I got my box of almond cookies from a neighborhood pastelaria that was off the beaten track, somewhere near Macau's Red Market for HK$/MOP20 a box.

There are variations to the almond cakes including almond cake with yolk 蟹黃肉心杏仁餅, almond cake with sesame and peanut 芝麻花生杏仁餅, and almond cake with almond bits 杏粒杏仁餅.

4. Phoenix rolls 紫菜肉鬆鳯凰卷
Phoenix rolls are something I discovered only on this trip. While at that neighborhood pastelaria near Macau's Red Market, I decided to try everything by buying one piece of each pastry which was displayed in glass jars on the counter. And the phoenix rolls caught my fancy. Phoenix rolls are egg rolls with shredded pork and seaweed.

Phoenix rolls actually fall under the category of egg rolls 蛋餅 which includes the traditional egg roll 傳統蛋捲, and egg rolls with pork floss 肉鬆蛋捲.

5. Crunchy peanut candy 花生糖
Another popular delicacy sold on the way to the Ruins of St. Paul, these crunchy peanut candies are Macau's version of peanut brittle. Hawkers also offer as free taste at their stores.

Which is your favorite Macau delicacy?
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