I know a place: finding Macau's independent spirit
Noel Furrer is the executive manager and creator of China Rouge Private Members Club at Galaxy Macau
I work in a casino hotel, but my favourite places to eat are small, independent restaurants all around Macau. A Lorcha (289A Rua do Almirante Sergio, tel: 853 2831 3193) is small and cosy restaurant with a rustic, colonial-Portuguese-style decor that contributes to its pleasant atmosphere. It serves superb authentic Portuguese food with a consistent quality that never lets you down.
Il Cafe (Rua De Seng Tou 319, Nova Taipa Garden 21, Taipa, tel: +853 2883 8372) is a great start on a lazy Sunday. Enjoy a casual Italian lunch with authentic pizza and pasta in a comfortable restaurant overlooking a huge park. Their seafood linguine has plenty of assorted fresh seafood and the pasta is cooked perfectly. The service staff are hospitable and friendly, and the decor is warm. It has a great vibe.
Hong Heng Cocos (14 Rua da Tercena, Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, tel: +853 2892 0944) originally imported coconuts from Malaysia to distribute around Macau as a retail business. Eventually, the owner started to make ice cream out of it, without using additional sugar. All the sweetness comes from the coconut itself. Definitely a great spot to explore in Macau's old town for those with sweet tooths.
Hands down, my favourite is Ramen Kouji (Rua De Fernao Mendes Pinto, Taipa, tel: +853 2857 6672). With only eight tables and about 20 seats, it is probably one of Taipa's smallest restos. But size doesn't matter; at least with this small venue. They play uplifting J-pop and the open kitchen and front of house team always welcome you. After being seated, you can choose from five Japanese ramen dishes; and one has been out of stock for weeks.
My ramen dish is served with beef shoulder, fresh bamboo finely sliced spring onions, handmade egg noodles and fine herbs, all taking a bath in a rich flavoured, slightly creamy broth. Delicious! For a side dish you can try the juicy, meaty dumplings with a beautiful crunchy crust and some vinegar. There is real passion and consistency in the product. For less than 120 patacas, it's a must-have dish for me.