10 Can't Miss Macau Dishes

(Last updated: May 22, 2024)

Way back in 2014, I was dining solo at Carlos and had the good fortune of making acquaintances with a couple of priests and elderly Macanese man who went there every day for lunch. Out of the blue they just invited me over to their table and we started chatting 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.  When it was time for chicken, they knew to go here, and when they wanted minchi, they knew to go there. As I sat back sipping 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 10 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.  Save for desserts at the end, selections 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 in Macau.

#1: Coconut Chicken Soup ($32) & Stirred Noodle with Ba La Chuang ($33) at Ya Xiang

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

Coconut Chicken Soup at Ya Xiang
Coconut Chicken Soup

Take your pick between a slightly spicy soup with soft noodles that melt in your mouth and a deceptively simple yet skillful pairing of shrimp paste to the same kind of noodles, that just teem with taste and texture.

Stirred Noodle with Ba La Chuang at Ya Xiang
Stirred Noodle with Ba La Chuang

Both incredible as they are, I doubt either could be improved in any way.

Location: 27 Rua de Fernao Mendes Pinto

#2: Crab Paste and Wonton in Noodle Soy Sauce ($68) at Niu Ji

There are plenty of tasty crab paste dishes in Macau; the same goes for wontons, which are basically dumplings, just with a thinner wrapper, often filled with shrimp. I’d been a fan of both for years before stumbling upon the ultimate truth at Niu Ji, that just like Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire, the crab paste and shrimp wonton complete each other, and are so much better together than alone.

Crab Paste and Wonton in Noodle Soy Sauce at Niu Ji
Crab Paste and Wonton in Noodle Soy Sauce

The only question is whether one bowl is enough, and that answer is probably no!

Spicy Curry Beef Noodles at Niu Ji
Spicy Curry Beef Noodles

To that end, if you’re still hungry and want to try something else, the Spicy Curry Beef Noodles for $36 are another good choice. The spice doesn’t lie here either, it lowers the BOOM!

Location: Edificio Iat Fat, R. de Cinco de Outubro

3. Duck Rice ($158) at Vic’s Restaurant

The best Duck Rice in town is served up by Chef Martinho Moniz at the criminally underrated Vic’s Restaurant at Rocks Hotel.

Duck Rice at Vic's Restaurant
Duck Rice

Mouthwateringly moist, it’s a superb mix of tender duck and oven baked rice that’s slightly crispy, topped off with slices of smoked sausage.  During preparation, juices from the duck escape and get absorbed into the rice, which packs more flavour into every bite.  It’s perfection on a plate.

Location: Rocks Hotel GF, Fisherman’s Wharf

#4: Roasted Pigeon ($160) at Fat Siu Lau

Situated in the former red light district on the Street of Happiness, Fat Siu Lau has been around since 1903, and after trying their roasted pigeon you’ll know why. One of Macau’s oldest and most guarded recipes, the star is the secret sauce that complements but doesn’t conquer, providing the perfect foil to the slightly crispy skin and soft juicy meat.

Roasted Pigeon at Fat Siu Lau
Roasted Pigeon

Sure it’s pricey and the preparation time can sometimes be long (45 minutes), but it’s stood the test of time for a reason – nobody in Macau does it better.

Location: Rua da Felicidade No 64

#5: Dim Sum ($78 to $168) at the 8

Dim Sum at the 8 is more than just food, it’s where passion and professionalism team up with creativity and care to produce culinary works of art. Just take a look at the adorable Cristal Blue Shrimp ($120), Puff Pastry with River Shrimp Handbags ($90), and Steamed BBQ Pork Buns ($90), and tell me if you’ve seen better looking food anywhere, anytime! I didn’t think so!

Steamed BBQ Pork Buns at 8
Steamed BBQ Pork Buns

The detail that goes into some of the dim sum preparations is just phenomenal, and probably one of the reasons why the 8 has had 3 Michelin stars for over a decade now.

Cristal Blue Shrimp at 8
Cristal Blue Shrimp

I’m also a big fan of their Deep Fried Pork Rolls ($78), Abalone and Pork Dumplings ($120) and Lobster and Black Truffle Dumplings ($120).

Puff Pastry with River Shrimp Handbags at 8
Puff Pastry with River Shrimp Handbags

Keep in mind that the 8 only serves Dim Sum at lunch, so be sure to make your reservations then.

Location: Grand Lisboa, 2nd Floor

#6: Roasted Chicken ($180) at O Manuel

No matter which country you come from, you’ve probably been eating chicken all of your life, so this dish shouldn’t need too much explanation.  While it’s not the most exotic food on this list, the Roasted Chicken at O Manuel is still an exceptional dish.

O Manuel Macau roasted chicken
Roasted Chicken

Think of the best chicken you’ve ever had in your life and then come try this.  You won’t be disappointed.

#7: Seafood Paella ($205) at A Petisqueira

A Petisqueira may be a Portuguese restaurant but they do their paella more in a Spanish style, meaning dry and delicious.  Medium grain rice infused with clams, mussels, shrimp and lobster is a combination that cannot disappoint, and I’ve been enjoying it for almost a decade now.  Truth be told, I could probably put about 6 different dishes from A Petisqueira on this list and they would all fit, as it’s probably the best Portuguese restaurant in Macau.

A Petisqueira Seafood Paella
Seafood Paella

Known as Arroz do Marisco in Portugal, Seafood Rice was named one of the 7 Wonders of Portuguese Gastronomy in 2011.  If you want to try the more traditional Portuguese version, which is wet and wild, and more similar to a risotto, just with more sauce, I’d recommend Espaco Lisboa down in Coloane Village. 

Location: Taipa Village, Rua de S. Joao, no. 15

#8: Naughty Pork Ribs ($270) at Naughty Nuri’s

Like the roasted chicken above, the pork ribs at Naughty Nuri’s are probably something you can find almost anywhere in the world.  That’s to say, I wouldn’t have included them on this list unless they truly were special, and I seriously doubt anyone in your town is making them better.

Naughty Pork Ribs Naughty Nuri's Macau
Naughty Pork Ribs

Everything that makes great ribs great is on show with this bad boy: perfectly charred crust, tantalizing texture and meat that just melts in your mouth.  Don’t bother with any of the complementary sauces that just get in the way, because it’s perfect off the grill.  Situated on the picturesque Street of Happiness, the location is absolutely phenomenal as well.

Location: 7 R. da Felicidade

#9: Everything at Urban Kitchen ($358 to $688 for Lunch and Dinner)

Okay, maybe that’s going a little too far, but there is no better buffet in Macau at the moment than Urban Kitchen. Truly unrivalled, the seafood section is out of this world, and there’s always a lot of other great Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisine on offer as well.

Urban Kitchen Macau fish
Big Fish

In particular, make sure to try the Roasted Peking Duck, Grilled Portuguese Chorizo, and Suckling Pig if they have it, the latter of which is usually only available on weekends.

Meat Station at Urban Kitchen
Meat Station

It’s often very difficult for a buffet to both be comprehensive and of very high quality, but Urban Kitchen walks that tightrope with remarkable ease. It’s basically bulletproof and the only one you need to try when in town.

Desserts at Urban Kitchen

Location: Galaxy Macau, JW Marriott Hotel, 1F

#10: Lavender Lemon Tart ($68) and Tiramisu ($58) at LaNova B

Portuguese egg tarts may get all the press in Macau, but they can’t touch any sweet sold at LaNova B, especially their prized Lavender Lemon Tart and Tiramisu.  Made by the “Darling Diva of Desserts” (my nickname), LaNova B is overseen by Macau’s best pastry chef Betty Fung, who had previously ran the outstanding Cafe Bon Bon, on the old Peninsula.

La Nova B Macau Lavender Lemon Tart
Lavender Lemon Tart

From the scrumptious sour tang textures of the soft smooth Lemon Tart, to the brilliant rum infused butterscotch sweetness of the Tiramisu, they’re two desserts that will melt your mind, body, face, and soul.

La Nova B Tiramisu

Pro tip: pouring espresso on top of the Tiramisu is how it’s done in Naples, and how you should be doing it too!

LaNova B also serves great soups, salads, and mains too, so by all means, make a whole meal out of it. And when it’s time for dessert, just sit back, relax, and take that long slow dive into oblivion.

Now, take some time to explore 10 Iconic Macau Restaurants!

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