Restaurants II+ Back

Speaking of lunch, our meal on Saturday was at the Rickshaw, a small local restaurant of considerable reputation given its working class stature.  Far off the beaten track, it’s located way up on Avenue Sidonio Pais close to the Islamic Mosque and Cemetery.  Since Jane and I were staying at the Royal it wasn’t THAT far away, but it still took us about 15 minutes on foot.  The front door is down a little side alley so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the big sign on the main road.

The Rickshaw was doing a good business when we got there at noon, with most of the patrons sitting outside partaking in an early Saturday afternoon beverage.  Jane and I also chose to sit outside as well, although the inside looked pretty inviting too, with all of the old memorabilia, photos and paintings of Macau on the walls. 



Prices are excellent at the Rickshaw with most mains $60 to $95 while the most expensive meat and seafood dishes only top out at $120.  The best deal is the daily special for only $70 which comes with one soup, one main and one dessert.  Take away is also available and from what I’ve heard that selection is prepared by a team of Macanese grandmothers who cook it in the morning and then deliver it everyday before noon.  I don’t know if that’s just an urban myth or not, but I’d give the place more props if it were true.

Minchi is the Rickshaw’s signature dish so I went with it, while Jane tried the pork chop for $60.  We also ordered pumpkin soup for $15 and a slice of cake for $14. 



My minchi was excellent, and the way it mixed together with the rice was a thing of beauty.  The best minchi is done moist so that’s there’s always a little juice, that way it goes together with the rice very well.  For those who have never had minchi, let me tell you, it can be maddeningly addictive, like uncut H.  (Just kidding!)  The first few times you try it, you might think it’s pretty good but that’s it.   And then mark my words, two weeks later, completely out of the blue, you’ll suddenly have a craving for it and won’t know why.  When and if that day ever comes for you, scratch that itch at the Rickshaw and you’ll be glad you did.  Jane also enjoyed her pork chop and cake as well, making our lunch there an unmitigated success.  

Since my first visit there during this Grand Prix weekend, I’ve returned to the Rickshaw a few times and have never been disappointed.  A lot of people say Macanese food is dying but it’s alive and well there everyday.  I also enjoy the clientele that the Rickshaw pulls.  At dinner time there’s invariably a large sitting of 5 or 6 people, usually older patrons who slide in and out of English, Portuguese and Cantonese with minimal effort, depending on which friend they’re talking to at the moment.  Very obviously local Macanese or some seriously long tenured expats, the fact that they hang out at the Rickshaw is a far better endorsement than anything I could ever write. 

All told, our meal for two came out to $213 which included a $55 half bottle of wine.  The food is not gourmet quality by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s good, cheap and anyone looking for an introduction to what Macau cuisine is all about shouldn’t hesitate in checking it out.  I’d give the Rickshaw a solid 4 stars across the board - 4 for the food, 4 for the venue and 4 for the nice staff.


For dinner, Jane and I tried Fu Lai Seafood, which is located down a small side street beside Camoes Park named Rua da Patane.  The owner of Macau Soul introduced this restaurant to me, saying that it served the same kind of food as He Fa, but for half the price.  Sounding like my kind of joint, Jane and I walked over from the Royal and got there around 7 pm.  It was almost full when we arrived and a large line formed outside soon after, perhaps a sign that we had chosen the right place.  I let Jane take control of ordering because I’m hopeless in Cantonese restaurants and that goes double for seafood joints where issues like weight and measurement also need to be discussed.


Jane decided on one fish, one kind of clam that came with a shell, another kind of clam that did not, a corn soup, shrimp and one vegetable.  (I’m sorry about the vagaries of those descriptions, but believe me, translation tools were of absolutely no use.  They spit out something that looked like Latin.) 




The word I’m going to use to describe all the seafood we had was “flat” and I hope that you can understand what I mean.  If cola can go flat and if wine can go flat, then I think seafood can do so as well.  The shrimp and clams, in particular, were just weird.  It was like munching on something that was very obviously alive once, but wasn’t anymore, just the same as drinking flat pop a day after it’s been in the fridge.  The soup and fish were bland as well, lacking both kick and taste, and neither Jane nor I could figure out why so many people were waiting outside. 


The waitress was also a little pushy too, but in a completely unintended and almost friendly kind of way.  I think she saw me there and thought the foreigner should try everything on their menu and she kept suggesting things to Jane, which of course, she politely declined.  All told our bill came to an even $500, which would have been very reasonable for seafood, had it been any good.  Perhaps it was just an off night I don’t know, but you won’t catch me back at Fu Lai any time soon.  When I want seafood I’ll be kicking it at He Fa every day of the week and twice on Sunday, facing the Inner Harbour watching the sun set and the lonely junks come home.


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