Secrets of Taipa Village Macau
Taipa Village, with its rich cultural heritage and beauty, offers a welcome alternative to the Cotai casino area
Macau has worked hard to forge its reputation as the gaming capital of Asia. But it would be a mistake to believe there is little else to this marvellous city.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the Cotai Strip, a gem awaits in the form of Taipa Village. If you’re looking for an authentic slice of Macau this is the place. Seemlessly blending all that marks Macau as the charming city locals know it to be, Taipa Village is located in the best-preserved area of historical Taipa Island.
Home to Portuguese architecture and Mediterranean influences, alongside Chinese architectural features, it offers rich cultural heritage and historic beauty. Here you will find museums and colonial churches juxtaposed against Chinese temples in what is a welcome alternative to the Cotai casino area.
One example is Pak Tai Temple, built in 1844, it has a rich history. A worship pavilion is set up for followers to pay tribute and offerings, which is rarely seen elsewhere on the island. Most people used to earned a living by fishing, so they followed the rules of Pak Tai, the northern emperor, who is believed to wield power to withstand floods and fire, which led to the temple’s establishment.
In celebration of the Feast of Pak Tai on the third day of the third month of the Lunar Calendar each year, performances of Chinese opera are usually held in front of the temple.
Elsewhere, the stunning Taipa House Museum built in 1921 served as a residence for the Portuguese governor and other high-level civil servants and their families. Today, the museum is rated among Macau’s top eight sights for its beauty and architecture.
A short walk along the cobble streets will lead you to IEC Long Firecracker Factory, a reminder of Macau’s manufacturing roots. At one point, Macau was home to five fireworks factories, which offered residents many job opportunities. This factory operated from 1926 until its closure in 1984, and is the best preserved industrial heritage site in Macau.
Taipa Village is one of the few areas in Macau where you can step back in time and enjoy quiet strolls along pedestrianised alleys and hidden lanes to linger and browse in cosy shops that offer a window on the real Macau, such as local bakeries selling the city’s famous almond cookies and peanut candies.
Established in 1903, restaurant Fat Siu Lau is situated in the heart of the village and offers authentic Macanese cuisine. Owned and operated by the descendants of its founder, the restaurant is known for its signature dish, shek ki superb roasted pigeon, whose recipe is a family secret. The baked pork chop on rice is also recommended.
Founded in 1961, Solmar Restaurant is famous for its Portugal chicken and spicy African chicken, both of which are classic Macanese - rather than Portuguese - dishes. The Solmar spicy prawns are also not to be missed.
For those who are partial to the odd sweet treat, be sure to visit the new pastry shop Snaffles. Founded in Hokkaido, Japan, their signature light cheesecakes are delicious.