Cantonese Food+ Back

Cantonese food is the dominant food in Macau and I’d wager that more than 70% of the restaurants in town serve it in one form or another.  Compared to other styles of Chinese fare, Cantonese cuisine has a simpler, purer taste.  Oil, spices and seasoning are seldom used; rather the point is to let the natural taste of the food take centre stage.  For that reason it’s very important that the ingredients used are fresh and of high quality, otherwise things can go sideways really fast. 

Dim sum is a staple Cantonese food, often served at lunch or with afternoon tea.  There’s no definitive way to describe exactly what it is, other than a small kind of finger type snack food usually presented as dumplings, steamed buns, rice noodle rolls, or small wraps.  For two people to enjoy a dim sum lunch, you’d probably have to order 5 or 6 different kinds, with each selection normally between $15 and $65, depending on the restaurant.  If you only try one kind of Cantonese food when you’re in Macau, then definitely go for dim sum, just because it comes in so many different kinds of forms and flavours.  As Forrest Gump would say: Life is like a plate of dim sum, you never know what you’re going to get. 

Seafood is another large feature of Cantonese cuisine, given Macau and Guangdong’s proximity to the sea.  He Fa serves the city’s best seafood but you might need a Chinese friend to help you order the dishes.  For some of them you have to choose directly from the fish tank outside and how much everything costs depends on the weight.  Always be sure to double check the price.  Some things in seafood tanks look innocuous enough but they sure lay the smack down when it’s time to pay the bill.

Besides Cantonese food, many other styles of Chinese cuisine are readily available all over town, including Beijing, Sichuan, Hunan, Shanghai, and my personal favourite, Northeastern. 

 

Here are a selection of my favorite Cantonese dishes.

 

1. Dim Sum @ Campo De Dragon ($20 to $40)  

 

A lot of restaurants in town do dim sum well, but I’d like to give a shout out to Campo de Dragon because the venue is very underrated and should be better known.  A fine option for good and affordable dim sum, top choices include Shanghai Soup Pork Dumplings (灌汤小龙包 $23), Thai Eggplant (泰式酿茄子 $23), Shrimp Wraps (黑木耳鲜虾肠 $30), Shrimp Dumplings (聚龙虾饺皇 $30), Abalone Fish Ball (鲍鱼粒咸水角 $21), and Shrimp Rolls (木鱼丝虾春卷 $26).  I know that's quite a long list, but you really can't go wrong with any of them.

 

 

2. Black Pepper Goose & Black Pepper Duck @ Chan Kong Kei (Around $100 each)

 

I can’t decide which dish is better, so I’ve included both of Chan Kong Kei’s specialties on this list.  Choosing between the roasted goose and roasted duck is like arguing whether 1927 for 1963 was a better year for Vintage Port.  At the end of the day, does it really matter?  A feast for grease and gluttons, just sink your dirty claws into these fatty birds and revel in the results.

 

 

3. Shrimp Roe Noodles @ Wong Kun Sio Kung ($80)

 

Shrimp paste probably isn’t something you’ve bought in the last decade or ever, but definitely give it a try when in Asia.  Powerful and potent, it’s precisely what makes this simple bowl of noodles sing.  And once you add just a dash of spice and tea, the dish enters another stratosphere.

 

 

4. Shrimp Wonton @ Huang Guan ($88)

 

Dumplings are one my favourite foods in China, and they get a different name when served in soup, when they’re called wontons.  A taste explosion from start to finish, Huang Guan serves up a meal bowl using shrimp dumplings that’s .  Soft and fresh, served in a beautiful broth, they’re simply the best wonton I’ve ever had. 

 

 

5. Roasted Pigeon @ Tim's Kitchen ($120)

 

Roasted Pigeon is a time honoured Cantonese classic that’s extremely popular all over the south of China.  It’s one of Tim Kitchen’s premium dishes and the price is right too, only $120, which is just fantastic for a 1 star Michelin restaurant.  Much like the goose and duck above, it’s as succulent, tender and juicy as the day is long, and a definite must try when in this part of the world.

 

a plate of Roasted Goose at Tim's Kitchen

 

6. Seafood @ He Fa (Price varies, but it'll be $$$)

 

Two things about He Fa: yes, they’ve doubled their prices since the glory days of 2013, and yes, they still serve the best seafood in town.  Nestled right up against the Inner Harbour, it’s one of Macau’s most picturesque dining venues, where you sit down on the patio outside and watch the sun go down over the water.  Any and all of their seafood is bound to impress, mostly because the chef stays out of the way, and lets the natural taste of the seafood take centre stage.  The clams, soup, oysters and fish are all top notch.

 

 

 

7. Wet Beef Noodles @ St. Dominic Market ($45)

 


 

 

Cantonese Restaurant Recommendations

The Eight

 

This perennial 3 star Michelin restaurant has been setting the standard for Cantonese dining since opening in 2006.

 

Location: Grand Lisboa
Phone number: (853) 8803 7788
Price: $350/person

 

Long Wa

 

Macau’s last standing original teahouse offers unparalleled atmosphere, and is just a treat to be in.

 

Location: No.3 Avenida do Almirante Lacerda
Phone number: (853) 2857 4456
Price: $100/person

 

Tai Long Fong

 

Comfortable teahouse on the historic 5th of October Street has free Chinese opera performances daily from 3 pm. 

 

Location: 5th of October Street, No 127-129
Phone number: (853) 2892 2459
Price: $130/person

 
Campo De Dragon

 

With a very good central location close to the Amizade Strip, Campo De Dragon makes for a great breakfast, lunch or dinner dining option.

 

Location: Ave Do Dr Rodrigo Rodrigues No. 103
Phone number: (853) 2878 2345
Price: $180/person

 

He Fa (seafood)

 

view of the Inner Harbour from He Fa Ma Tou Seafood

The best seafood restaurant in town offers outside seating and smoking views of the Inner Harbour.

 

Location: Behind the gas station beside the Sofitel
Phone number: (853) 2843 6709
Price: $300/person