Archive for the 'Food' Category

Fusion Food, Macanese style

May 16th, 2008

Portugese Dish

THINK fusion when you dine at Nga Tim Cafe, one of the “must go” dining institutions in Macao. When I was in Macao recently, I had lunch at the cafe and ordered a Portugese style pan-fried garoupa dish from the menu. The dish came as chunky sizes of fish and surprise, surprise – thin slices of dried Chinese sausage or lap cheong. Preserved Chinese sausage in a Portugese dish? An interesting fusion touch. But too bad, the lap cheong was a tad too salty and fatty. I didn’t finish it.

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Adding color and fibre to the dish were slices of green pepper, tomatoes and fried onion strips. I found the generous slices of garoupa succulently fresh and chewy.

But Nga Tim Cafe had a different kind of appeal for me. Its odd, eclectic decor was an amusing conversation starter. You know how laid back and carefree the place was from the old Christmas trimmings that still strung across the ceiling. On the wall, a pin-up calendar of Chinese opera singers looked menacingly over hungry diners. And for some unknown reason, huge swaths of white cloth were wrapped around the trunks of the two gigantic banyan trees that stood on the site of the cafe. The irreverent mix of decorative styles gave the cafe a quirky, off beat charm.

I like the ‘anything goes’ kind of spirit of the place. On a hot afternoon, Cafe Nga Tim is an affordable place for shade, an iced cold local milk tea and a view of the Coloane village square.

Getting there
8 Rua Caetano, Largo do Sao Xavier
Macau

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Food Review: Fernando’s Macao – What A Letdown!

May 13th, 2008

ALWAYS GO where the crowds are for good food, but it turned out to be a major culinary letdown for me and a friend recently.

We’re in Macao for a holiday and we’ve read superlative reviews about Portugese restaurant, Fernando’s on Hac Sa beach. Never mind the scruffy surroundings or the indifferent customer service, the reviewer said, the food alone was good enough to justify the long wait and discomfort. So eagerly, we set off for our culinary adventure. It took us 50 minutes to bus from Macao Island to Hac Sa Beach.

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After a customary wait of 20 minutes, we were finally shown our seats behind the cashier. A grim faced Portugese waiter came to take our order. We asked for his recommendations. He looked preoccupied and didn’t offer any. Seeing that he wasn’t going to say anything helpful, we quickly settled for a Portugese classic – grilled codfish.

Fifteen minutes later, the highly-rated dish was served.

The Portugese classic was the saltiest cod fish I have ever tasted. The saltiness was so deadly that it numbed my taste buds. It was like biting into a thick clump of salt. Our meal would have been impossible to eat if not for the two slices of bread and broiled potatoes which helped to neutralize the saltiness a little. I suspected the chef must have been over zealous with his salt toppings.

It tasted so bad that I just had to risk offending the grouchy owner, Mr Fernando.

“All cod fish is salted fish,” he said, grudgingly.

“You mean, it’s supposed to taste like ‘hum yu’ (meaning preserved salted fish in Cantonese)?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Fernando abruptly, as he walked away in a huff. Business is so good that he has no reason to bother with unhappy customers.

Now, what he said was a new culinary discovery – I never knew that cod fish was supposed to taste like preserved salted fish.

For MOP/HKG 190, it’s an awfully expensive meal for preserved salted fish, even if it included two slices of bread, one broiled potato and a bowl of soup.

On hindsight, we should have be forewarned by the local taxi driver’s indifference to Fernando’s. On our way to Fernando’s, we asked the cab driver what’s so good about the restaurant. He thought for a while.

“The bread. They make their own bread,” he said.

“Anything else?” I pressed.

“…the bread, the bread is good,” he reiterated in Cantonese and continued driving.

Fernando’s Macao? I shall take heed from the locals and give it a miss the next time I visit Macao.

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Love at First Bite – Lord Stow’s Portugese Egg Tarts

May 13th, 2008

portugese egg tart
IT WAS love at first bite when I sank my teeth into the crispy pastry crust filled with a crème brûlée-like egg custard that literally melts in your mouth. The Lord Stow’s Portugese-style Egg Tart was simply divine. I had my first bite of this famous chain of egg tarts during a recent trip to Macao in May 2008. I’ve read claims about it being the “best in the world.”

Well, you never know unless you try it.

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My verdict? Yes, it tops all the other versions of egg tarts I’ve ever tasted. It tastes so goooood.

Reason? The caramelized glaze on the surface of the egg tart gave it a distinctive aroma and taste – that lingered to tease your tastebuds long after the first bite. And the pastry crust was of the right thickness. You don’t need to chew through a thick chunk of pastry to get to the delicious custard filling.

A box of six of the Lord Stow’s Portugese egg tarts cost MOP/HKG 40. I finished two boxes in two days!

Getting there:

Lord Stow’s Portugese Egg Tarts
1 Rua da Tassara
Coloane Village
Coloane Island

Bus 26A will take you there. Take the bus from Av de Almeido Ribeira, Macao Island. This is a major road fronting the Senado Square so you can’t miss it. Or, grab a taxi. Beware though, it’s terribly difficult to get a cab out of Coloane Village. Call for a cab.

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