Grand Hyatt's Vanessa Chow tells us her favourite Macau restaurants
From upscale to down home, hotel marketing director guides us through the former Portuguese enclave's dining scene - WITH MAP
I moved to Macau five years ago because I was intrigued by how this small city has the capacity to host mega events of an international standard. Macau is becoming a multinational and diversified city, and this is reflected in its cuisine. Many renowned international chefs have opened restaurants here, adding variety to the city’s own unique Macanese food, which combines Portuguese and Cantonese culinary influences.
My comfort food choices include healthy types such as salads, sandwiches and Cantonese, especially seafood. When I dine out I search for authentic dishes prepared using traditional methods, made with the finest and freshest ingredients. And polite and attentive service is important, as is a cosy ambience.
There are three upscale restaurants I love here. Michelin three-star The Tasting Room (level 3, Crown Towers, City of Dreams, Estrada do Istmo, Cotai, tel: +853 8868 6681) always brings surprises to the plate. My choice for romantic dinner is Aurora (level 10, Altira Macau, Avenida de Kwong Tung, Taipa, tel: +853 2886 8868). It has fantastic views of Macau Peninsula and an excellent food and wine menu. The Tuscany beef tenderloin tartare with Alba white truffle purée and spinosi artichoke salad is a delicious appetiser. Barolo wine-braised Fassona veal cheek with hazelnuts and Alba truffled potato mash, which takes 72 hours to prepare, is my must-try main course. Japanese restaurant Tenmasa (level 11, Altira Macau, tel: +853 2886 8868) flies the freshest seafood from Japan at least five times a week, and its Kuruma prawn tempura is the best in town.
I also love to visit Macau’s dai pai dongs. At Fong Son Mei Sek (shop ADE, Edificio Hou Kuong, 52 Rua da Ribeira do Patane, Patane, tel: +853 2896 8180) I get my fresh seafood spread sitting on the sidewalk. My favourite is the seafood hotpot with suckling pig served in a bubbling tom yum kung broth.
To entertain clients, Mezza9 Macau (level 3, Grand Hyatt Macau, City of Dreams, Estrada do Istmo, Cotai, tel: +853 8868 1920) on the pool terrace is my destination. It offers myriad dishes and cooking styles – such as Macanese, Japanese, Thai, grill, deli, wok or steam. I especially enjoy the variety of seafood on ice – lobster, tiger prawns, black mussels, Japanese scallops, Alaskan snow crab legs and seasonal oysters. Sometimes I suggest that overseas visitors sample African chicken and Macanese duck rice, or Portuguese egg tarts prepared by our native Portuguese chef.
With a spacious and luxuriously decorated dining area and memorable Chinese dishes, Bravo Palace (1/F Macau Fisherman’s Wharf, Lisbon II, tel: +853 2872 5220) is one of my favourite Chinese restaurants in Macau. Roasted pigeon is my regular dish. You can’t beat the crispy skin and tender meat. Another dish I often order is the deep-fried milk in cream custard – a perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness in one mouthful without any greasy aftertaste. I love the crusty outer layer and silky inner custard – best eaten while it is hot.
For an exceptional Shunde treat I head to Mrs Chan Dailiang District Shunde Cuisine (Macau Fisherman’s Wharf, Italy Building, tel: +853 2881 3322). With good atmosphere, comfortable seats and courteous service, this place serves tasty silky porridge hotpot with rice. The Chinese-style stewed goose is cooked perfectly.