Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Macau Dec 2009 - Day Trip (Eat, Eat and Movie!)

It was the fact that I was away from Hong Kong during a festive day that brightened up my day, even if it was a short day trip, it was still something to look forward to. It was on Christmas eve 2009 that my friend and I made a day / evening trip to Macau. We took the 4:30pm ferry over, just before the rush hour crowds. Did I ever mention I don't like queues and crowds???

Our first stop after arrival was the famous Margaret's Cafe & Nata. We arrived just in time before it close at 7:00pm. No fancy decor or anything, it was just a normal down to earth, neighborhood cafe with a few seats outdoors. The environment gave me a very warm and homely feeling, loved it!

One of the most famous items here at Margaret's Cafe & Nata was the Portuguese styled Egg Tart. I have no idea about its origins but according to wiki, it was "evolved from pastel de nata, a traditional Portuguese custard pastry that consists of custard in a crème brûlée-like consistency caramelized fashion in a puff pastry case." The outer crust of the egg tart was crispy and had a slightly chewy / elastic texture to it. The custard was wonderful because it was neither too sweet nor too creamy.

The Milk Tea was another famous offering but I personally find it to be rather ordinary. From the taste of it, the tea base seem to be made from Red Rose tea leaves. It was definitely a homemade style milk tea. I don't know, it was rather watery to me. (I don't think we should compare this with the Hong Kong styled milk tea because it was prepared differently for sure)

After this little pit stop, we walked around the area and snapped a few photos. The area around the Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro is one of the busies spots in Macau and it was packed with people all waiting for the countdown to Christmas in front of the blue XMAS tree! (so wrong! I want a good old green XMAS tree!)

I always find it intriguing to find different kinds of contrasting elements to its buildings, cultures and social values during my visits to Macau. The city is focus on the entertainment industry, particularly the gambling / casino businesses but if you talk to locals, almost 10 out of 10 would not go or have never been to one of the recent casino establishments in the city they lived in. Many businesses continued to operate in the same way as a few decades ago while part of the town has embraced technologies to an extreme, ie: surveillance? Ah well, you get to picture and what I am trying to say. The city has been focusing on tourism and the gaming industry but there seems to be an increasing imbalance in its social and culture structure IMHO.

On our way to dinner at Fat Siu Lau, we stopped by a restaurant that sells "shark fins in a bowl" 碗仔翅. I could not control myself but to try one and eat on the sidewalk of the street. It was alright, a bit too watery.

Don't be fooled by the front door of Fat Siu Lau 彿少樓; it was one of the oldest Portuguese restaurant in Macau but the interior was not that old at all. You are in for a little surprise for sure!

The 1st Floor looked promising as we wanted to enjoy our meal under a rather traditional / cellar like environment. However, out booking was on the second floor.

Wow, the 2nd Floor looked so modern and so CHINESE! I thought I entered into a different restaurant especially when I was being presented of the cellar like decor on the first floor! I felt a bit ... being cheated!

The 3rd Floor carried a fine dining decor if you ask me.

Anyhow, time for dinner!! The bun was EXTREMELY crisp. I tried to cut it in half without resulting with a table full of bread crumbs and flakes. I FAILED!

(1) Ox-Tail Soup (Sopa de Rabo De Boi)
A bit too watery and flavor was rather weak.

(2) Fresh Beef Tea (Caldo de Vaca)
It came in a cup and I really don't if I should call this a soup or tea. It was interesting indeed. I was expecting a strong herbal taste to it but to my surprise it tasted like beef broth, only lighter.

(3) Pork Chop Baked on Rice (Arroz de Costeletas No Forno) 焗骨飯

It tasted JUST LIKE baked pork chop rice in many of the Hong Kong local restaurants but only way better and LESS greasy! The fried rice in the hot clay pot was dry and chewy, a wonderful fried rice by itself. Another delightful surprise was the sauce, it was not sour at all and carried traces of sweetness to it. Thumbs up and must try indeed!

(4) Superb roasted pigeons marinated after our over 100 years secret recipe (Pombo Assado)

100 years secret recipe?? humm ... I really did not find anything overly surprising with the sauce or the pigeons. The skin was not as crisp as I expected as well. Meat was tender but not as extraordinary as the dish name would have suggested.

(5) Braised ox-tongue served with its own juice (Lingua de vaca Guisada)
The sauce was very watery but the ox-tongue was alright with the right tenderness to it. (I will think Tai Ping Koon ox-tongue is better!)

(6) Baked vegetables in Portuguese style (Vegetais Ao Forno A moda Portuguesa)
This dish was just plain BAD! The sauce was WATERY and RUNNING! The sauce was as thin as the soup I had! The flavors of the sauce was ... weak, very weak! Extremely disappointed! I think the dish should be called, Blanched vegetables in lightly flavored water!

Fat Siu Lau 彿少樓:
Rua da Felicidade No.64, Macau
Tel: (853) 2857 3580

  • Interesting decors / themes by floors
  • Pork Chop Baked on Rice (Arroz de Costeletas No Forno) 焗骨飯 - not greasy, sauce wonderful - not to sour, fried rice - dry and chewy by the grain!
  • Baked vegetables in Portuguese style - sauce was a joke! watery, running, weakly flavored!
  • Ox-Tail Soup (Sopa de Rabo De Boi) - too watery
Avg Spending: HKD 200 - 300 per person

Before heading back to Hong Kong, we headed to the Macau Tower to watch a movie. Only HKD40 to watch Sherlock Holmes! The so-called cinema was not really theater, more like a converted auditorium with plenty of seats but a rather small screen. Oh well, it was fun going all the way to Macau to watch a movie on Christmas eve and to say Merry Christmas on the dot somewhere away from Hong Kong!


fernando said...

Cool review. Caldo = broth.

Mun Yin said...

I can't believe you went to Macau and didn't gamble!!!! didn't realise there were other things to do there!!! :-p Great account of the food, btw, love egg tarts!!!!

Unknown said...

gawk gawk drool drool = i heart ox tongue!

very intriqued by the beef tea~

my mum used to feed me beef broth when i was young (kaldu sapi), maybe this is why i am oversized now :D

S.Cheung said...

egg tarts looks goooooood.

Anonymous said...

Jason, you didn't have soufflé at Fat Siu Lau? Carmen

Jason said...

@Anonymous: we were unlucky that night, they were not doing souffle that night because of capacity issue, will take forever and occupy their only oven (so was told!)

@Belle S: and they tasted good too!

@Rita: re the Beef Tea, if i see it in HK, I will order it again for sure.

@Mun Yin: HAHA, not really the gamble kind of a guy (at least with respect to money haha). Oh yeah, there are plenty of places to visit, plenty of hidden food joints and places for great pictures. (all of them away from the casino area of course lol)

@fernando: thanks for the info! The menu said Tea so I was a bit confused but soup/ broth makes more sense indeed! I am thinking of making the Beef Tea / Soup myself.

uvepece said...

Yes... I'm not portuguese but spanish and portuguese languages are very similar and "Caldo de Vaca" means "Cow broth"... wich could be beef broth too hahahah

sophia said...

While in Macau, did you check out Cirque de Soleil's Show - ZAIA? It is spectacular! We are so fortunate to be near a city where CdS plays year round and yet very few people in HK seem to know about it. I understand that they are losing money and will be halting the show soon. What a shame.

Jason said...

@sophia: really? CdS will be halting? I thought they will be constructing their own permanent site nearby instead of the using a stage for the performance. I am yet to see it but I heard the show is too short compared with their other shows, ie: "O". Then again that's Vegas, cannot really compare in my opinion HAHA ...

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