8 is the most popular number in Macau, and you’ll see it a lot all over town, particularly in casino phone numbers and dining prices. The MGM phone number, for example, is 8802 8888 while Stanley Ho got 2888 3888 for his Lisboa. On menus meanwhile, every price is usually something 8, whether it be $68, $88, $128 etc. The reason being that 8 is associated with wealth in China, and is somewhat of a lucky number, a good thing to have in a gambling town.
A mere 10 minute walk from the San Va I got to the Grand Lisboa at about 6 pm. I was joined that evening by my friend, Jane Law, who helped me design my Chinese website, Fei Chang Ao Men (www.feichangaomen.com), AKA The Site That Is No More. Jane still does quite a bit of work for this Maven website as well, mostly related to taking pictures and then compressing them later on.
Mark my words, if this website has a great photo on it, then she probably took it, especially if it’s related to food, temples or museums. The girl has an eye for things that I just don’t see.
The 8 has been a three star Michelin restaurant for four years running now, and we were both eager to see if it was worth the hype. Designed by industry giant Alan Lam, the same man who put together China Rouge, the interior is a smashing mix of retro glam and subtle kitsch, highlighted by the hideous disco ball and wall of red fish. (Where else would you ever find that combination?? And actually have it look good??)
I also liked the mysterious sci-fi entrance tunnel and the clever way the number 8 was repeated throughout the restaurant, both on the chandelier tops and chains that dangle from the wall.
Wasting no time, Jane and I hit the dim sum menu hard, ordering four different kinds: Blue Shrimp Dumplings, Steamed Pork Dumpling with Abalone, Pan-Fried Barbecue Pork Bun and a Barbecue Pork Roll in Rice Flour.
As for mains, we tried BBQ Suckling Pig, Deep Fried Duck Fillet and Spare Ribs with Sweet and Sour Sauce.
Looking back, we went a little overboard with the meat and should have balanced it out with a couple of vegetable selections instead. The problem being though, we wouldn’t have known which dish to replace.
Everything we ordered was spectacular, from presentation to taste, body to texture, form to finish, it was the very definition of fine dining. I’d go so far as to say that it was the best Chinese I’ve had anywhere, anytime. Michelin definitely got this one right when they gave the 8 three stars. If you want to have high end Chinese while in Macau, then this is the restaurant to try.
Depending on what you order, 8 can be super expensive, but it can also be very reasonable, with some mains under $120 and dim sum in the $40 to $60 range. All told, our bill came out to $1136, which is pretty acceptable for 2 people.
The 8 changed their policy recently so dim sum is now only available at lunch, so you might want to make an extra effort to come then. Without fail, lunches almost always sell out so be sure to make reservations well in advance on the Grand Lisboa website, found here: 8.
8 enforces a dress code which precludes men from wearing shorts, a policy I find completely inappropriate and ridiculous, given that Macau gets pretty hot and women can wear whatever they want. It didn’t really matter for me this visit in January, but keep that in mind in the summer months.
After dinner Jane and I finished our evening off at the terrific MacauSoul, the best wine lounge in Asia, if not the entire world.