Day 3: Mou Kei Seafood+ Back

Just because we’re on a bit of an art kick here, I’d also like to share the outstanding French Masterpiece exhibition that was held at the Art Museum later on in the summer.  Of the 12 paintings shown, I thought 5 really stood out.  I’ll go into more detail about those ones at the end.

Charles Le Brun - Portrait of Louis XIV, 1662


The Sun King in all his glory.






Jean-Honoré Fragonard - The Lock, 1777


Man, they had to take a lot of clothes off back then. 






Wertmüller - Marie Antoinette Costume, 1788


The “Austrian Woman”, when she still had her head.






François Boucher - Diana Bathing, 1742


Boucher disdained Nature, saying it was “too green and badly lit.”  So he painted voluptuous babes instead, and ain't that god damn right?





Monet - Montorgueil Street in Paris, 1878


Monet rarely painted urban scenes, but this parade was an exception.





Fernand Léger - Circus Medrano, 1918


The circus is in town with this one.  But as modern art goes, I’ve definitely seen much worse.





Henri Matisse - Still Life of Magnolia, 1941


Hmmm, not sure how this one made the cut.






And here are the 5 I liked best:


Jean Clouet - Portrait of Francis I, 1530

What strikes me most about this painting is the detail in the gown.  It’s amazing that someone could draw that. 


Georges de la Tour - Saint Thomas, 1625


This saint looks like a more disturbing version of Captain Jean Luc Picard.  Carrying both a sword and book, I don’t know which one he’ll use first.  Is he like the woman above or is he the Centaur?  Or is he a dangerous combination of both?  That sword also looks like it could come out of the painting at any time and do some serious damage.  The veins bulging on his head are disconcerting as well.


Auguste Renoir - The Swing, 1876


The showstopper and the reason why people should live their lives.  This painting is so far removed from my existence in China that I don’t even want to look at it.  Chinese parks don’t even have swings, just a bunch of utilitarian exercise equipment instead.  People don't go there to relax or have fun, but work out instead.   

What makes this painting for me is the little girl on the left.  Without her it wouldn’t be half as good.  The way she looks up, hands cupped, in some way aware of what’s happening between the young man and girl is both the warmth and wonder of youth.  The man beside the tree knows what’s going on too, but he knows it from experience, while the girl can just feel it. 

The little girl might be looking up at her future as well.  That could be her in 10 years, all grown up and on the swing, shining in her beauty and youth, the object of a young man’s attention.  Looking away and blushing slightly, unsure of what to do exactly, but ready to do it anyway. 

Pierre Bonnard - Red Blouse, 1925


I see a woman stuck in a prison of geometric shapes.  There’s the square cabinet behind her, the round plate and cup on the table, the triangular shape of her bent arm.  Perhaps trapped in the misery of her banal domestic existence, Bonnard diabolically pins her between the table and the cabinet, the very objects of her discontent.


Picasso - Painter and Model in Studio, 1963


How cool is this?  I usually dislike modern art, but if it’s done like this - AKA something I could never do - then it’s alright with me.  Painted in 1963, 82 year old Picasso’s on acid and the Summer of Love is still four years away.  His model girl on the couch is his latest flame, some girl 60 years his junior, giving him what he wants as she lays on a couch.  I don’t think anything looked like this in 1963, which is why I like it so much.  

In the introduction to the painting, Picasso talked about his later works like this one, saying that it took him a lifetime to paint like a child.  And as I sit here now writing this, thinking about what’s left of the hair on my head and what I’ll do for my 37th birthday, I do feel a bit better.  Maybe it’s not all downhill from here, maybe the Fountain of Youth is there for everyone, if you know where to find it.  Something else just occurred to me too the other day that's been providing solace as well - You’ll never be as young as you are right now this minute, this second, so enjoy it.   

After the art exhibition, I hit the Craps table at MGM, the only place you can still play it on the old Macau Peninsula.  After hitting a particularly grievous run I cut my losses and headed back to the Guia. 

For dinner that evening I was back near the Street of Happiness for Mou Kei, a seafood restaurant.

There isn’t much written in the guide book about Mou Kei, only that it’s been opened for over 60 years.  It originally was Mrs Lam’s husband’s family business, before being passed to her.  When Mou Kei first opened, there were only a few side dishes and no seafood.  In order to stay competitive, the menu was expanded and fish tanks were added outside the restaurant, a feature still retained to this day.  Mou Kei likes to keep it simple, that’s why they stick with the same tables and chairs they’ve used forever while old handwritten menus still cover the walls.  Mrs Lam didn’t know much about how to run a restaurant before taking it over, but now she’s an expert in the seafood business.


Mou Kei is on the same street as Fat Siu Lau and Tou Tou Koi, right around the corner from the San Va.  Doing a nice business when I arrived, all of the tables in the back were full so I took a seat near the front.  Besides seafood, Mou Kei also serves a good number of meat and vegetable dishes, but I decided to stick with the house special and went with lobster and fish, along with pork and vegetable soup.  Choosing the fish was an interesting endeavour, I had to go outside to the fish tank and pick the one I wanted, which was only done after confirming the price of course.  Never pick anything from a fish tank in Asia unless you know exactly what it costs, otherwise you may find yourself acquainted with their kitchen before the night is over.



The pork and vegetable soup came out first which was quite good followed by the lobster.  The lobster looked triple the size of the one I had a night earlier at Southwest, and the friendly waitress even helped me take it apart.  All throughout the meal she was very helpful and seemed genuinely happy every time I said thank you to her, reminiscent of my dining experience at Tou Tou Koi.  The fish came out last and with all due respect to the waitress at Southwest actually had taste, and was under $200 Mops at that, making it wonderful value.       

I don’t think Mou Kei is the best seafood restaurant in Macau - that’s definitely He Fa - but I enjoyed my meal there and would go back again.  The service was really good and the restaurant was full of happy local families, always a high endorsement for any establishment in a tourist centric area.  I met Mrs Lam at the cash register and talked to her for awhile, telling her about my horrible experience at Southwest the evening before.  The look on her face was priceless, she just grimaced and asked why I'd ever go there.  When the bill came to $343, I said let's make it $340 and she happily obliged.  In the battle of seafood restaurants around the Street of Happiness, Mou Kei obliterates Southwest ten ways to Sunday. 


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