Can't Miss Dishes (1-5)+ Back

Way back in 2014, I was dining solo at Carlos and had the good fortune of making acquaintances with a couple of priests and elder Macanese man who went there every day for lunch.  Out of the blue they just invited me over to their table and we started talking about Macau, how the city was changing and what the best options around town for food were.  They told me they had the culinary scene cased, that they chose restaurants purely on the basis of what they wanted to eat, that when they felt like chicken they would go here, and when they wanted minchi, they would go there.  As I sat back sipping on their whisky trying to soak up as much as I could, I thought to myself: Man, these guys are everything I want to be, minus the black robe and celibacy, of course.


Fast forward 4 years and about 125 restaurants later, and I feel like I’m finally approaching their level, which is why I’ve prepared this list of 10 Can’t Miss Macau Dishes.  At the end I noticed that 7 of them were international selections, which was completely unintentional.  For more Macanese, Portuguese and Cantonese choices, you can always check the Food Overview here: Macanese Guide, Portuguese Guide, Cantonese Guide.  On another day, many of those dishes could have made this list too.

Dishes are arranged in order from cheapest to most expensive, and weren’t influenced in any way by popular sentiment or marketing spin or what X magazine or travel blog have to say.  It’s my list through and through, and here’s hoping you can make good use of it when choosing what to eat when in Macau.

1. Coconut Chicken Soup ($30) & Stirred Noodle with Ba La Chuang ($31) at Ya Xing  

Great food doesn’t always have to cost a fortune and these two dishes at Ya Xing are prime examples why.  I can’t really decide which one is better, so I’ve included both of them on the list. 



Take your pick between a slightly spicy soup with soft noodles that melt in your mouth and a deliciously simple yet skillful pairing of shrimp paste to the same kind of noodle, that just teem with taste and texture.  Both perfect as they are, I don't think either dish could be improved in any way. 


Location: 27 Rua de Fernao Mendes Pinto


2. Laksa Lemak ($78) at Katong Corner  


I don’t even really like coconuts yet this is second coconut soup on the list.  Whereas the coconut chicken soup at Ya Xing is a Myanmar creation, this Laksa comes straight out of Singapore with love.  It might not win any beauty pageants for how it looks, but you’ll go head over heels for its rich, slightly creamy composition and scrumptious mix of shrimp, sausage, noodles and tofu.  Seductively smooth, it’s seafood soup with a bite, and great bang for your buck at only $78.  

Location: Broadway Food Street, Cotai Strip


3. Moqueca ($100) & Feijoada ($100) at Yes Brazil                 


Let’s start with the bad news - neither of these dishes are available everyday and usually have to ordered in advance.  And even then, I’m not even sure you’ll be able to get them if you’re a first time customer.  They’re not part of the standard menu and I only learned about them my fifth or sixth time there, after I’d built up some cred and rapport with Yes Brazil's lovely owner, Maria. 


I also have no idea what type of fish the moqueca is made from either, because she couldn't tell me the English word for it, but it’s not something you need to know anyway.  As the old saying goes: one should not question miracles, only be grateful for them.  (Okay, maybe I just made that up now, but you get the point).  Whatever the moqueca is, it’s straight up marvellous, a gift from the Gods, with such texture and balance that any Michelin chef would die for.  It’s probably my favourite food on this list, so make an extra point to try it if you can.



The feijoada is nobody’s second choice either, prepared totally in the Brazilian style, not the Macau iteration that adds cabbage, pork knuckles, pig ears and whatever else they want to throw in there.  Best suited to be eaten in winter, it’s thick hearty comfort food that’s addictive to the point of being unfair, and just gets better the more often you have it.  And at only $100, the value is ridiculous.  


Location: Travessa Fortuna No 6

4. Roasted Pigeon ($160) at Fat Siu Lau



Location: Rua da Felicidade No 64

5. Dim Sum ($48 to $138) at the 8



Location: Grand Lisboa, 2nd Floor


For entries number 6 to 10, please keep reading!  10 Can't Miss Dishes