Cantonese Food Guide

(Last updated: December 20, 2023)

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 absolutely paramount that the ingredients used are fresh and of high quality, otherwise things can go sideways real 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 $25 and $125, 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, since some of them are chosen directly from the fish tank outside.  How much everything costs depends on the weight. so always make sure to double check the price.  A lot of things in seafood tanks sure look innocuous enough, but they really 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 favourite Cantonese dishes.

1. Dim Sum @ Campo De Dragon ($18 to $68)  

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. 

Best Macau Restaurants: Shrimp Rolls at Campo De Dragon
Shrimp Rolls

Offering absolutely terrific value, top choices include Shanghai Soup Dumplings (灌汤小龙包 $32), Thai Eggplant (泰式酿茄子 $28), Grilled Dace Balls with Seasonal Vegetables (白灼时菜鲮鱼球 $50), Cauliflower Shrimp Spring Rolls (菜花虾春卷 $32), and Shrimp Dumplings (聚龙虾饺皇 $38).

Best Macau Dishes: Dim Sum at Campo De Dragon
Thai Eggplant

I know that’s quite a long list, but I didn’t know which one to leave out! 

2. Char Siu @ Chan Chi Mei Choi Kun ($68)

The best place to eat in Coloane Village is the criminally overlooked Chan Chi Mei Choi Kun, an establishment that the English interwebs hardly knows exists.  Located right beside St. Francis of Xavier Church, it’s owned by the same people who run Nga Tim, which explains why menus from both restaurants are offered at both places.  My favourite dish there undoubtedly is Char Siu, which roughly translates to Barbecued Pork, a Southern Chinese staple that simply must not be missed while visiting Macau.  

Char Siu at Chan Chi Mei Choi Kun
Char Siu

A smooth honey glaze takes the dish on a strange wonderful trip, infusing a slight sweetness upon the soft scintillating pork, a combination that invariably has me melting into my chair.  Since some patrons prefer the pork prepared slightly cold, it’s sometimes served like that, but I believe it’s 100% better when it’s piping hot.  If it comes out none too warm, just ask them to heat it up and they will gladly oblige.

Often sold out in the evening (for good reason), this is one choice only guaranteed to be available at lunch.

3. Wet Fried Beef Noodles @ Ping Kei ($50)

Inject it straight into my veins, people!  Ping Kei may be a humble food stall in a food court in a vegetable market, but we search high and low for the best that Macau has to offer.

Macau Street Food: Wet Fried Beef Noodles
Wet Fried Beef Noodles
Soft noodles seasoned with soy sauce, mixed with stir-fried slices of beef is a combination that will work everytime.  Juicy, moist, fresh and delicious, it’s street food that’s stupendous.

4. Black Pepper Roasted Goose & Black Pepper Roasted Duck @ Chan Kong Kei ($130 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? 

Best Macau Dishes: Black Pepper Roasted Goose at Chan Kong Kei
Black Pepper Roasted Goose

A feast for grease and gluttons, try the heart failure first (roasted goose) before finishing things off with a side order of cardiac arrest (roasted duck).

Best Macau Dishes: Black Pepper Roasted Duck at Chan Kong Kei
Black Pepper Roasted Duck

While it’s absolutely true that neither dish is exactly good for you, the best things in life never are.

5. Shrimp Roe Noodles Wong Kun Sio Kung ($83)

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 basic bowl of noodles sing. 

Top Macau Dishes: Shrimp Roe Noodles at Wong Kun Sio Kung
Shrimp Roe Noodles

Located on Rua de Campo, Wong Kun Sio Kung is known as the industry leader for this dish, so I recommend trying it there.

After adding just a dash of spice and tea, the dish enters another stratosphere.

6. Shrimp Dumplings @ Wong Kun Sio Kung ($138) 

Dumplings are one my favourite foods in China, but they sometimes get a different name when served in soup, when they’re called wontons instead.  Returning to the same restaurant again, Wong Kun Sio Kung serves up a meal bowl using shrimp dumplings that’s a taste explosion from start to finish. 

Best Macau Dishes: Shrimp Wonton at Wong Kun Sio Kung
Shrimp Wonton

Admittedly a little pricey, I’ll pay the premium every time for soup this good.

7. 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.

Best Macau Dishes: Razor Clams at He Fa Ma Tou Mei Shi
Razor Clams

Nestled right up against the water, it’s one of Macau’s most picturesque dining venues, where you can sit outside and watch the sun go down over the Inner Harbour. 

Best Macau Seafood Restaurant: He Fa Ma Tou Mei Shi
Just gorgeous!

While the restaurant still could still a serious facelift, and it’s no longer the amazing value it once was, the clams, oysters, soup and shrimp remain second to none.

Cantonese Restaurant Recommendations 

Ordinarily I’d advise you to only frequent local Cantonese restaurants on the street, but 8 and Zi Yat Heen might be too good to pass up.

The Eight

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

Best Macau Restaurants: 8 Macau
8 Macau

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

Long Wa

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

Best Macau Restaurants: Long Wa
Long Wa Macau

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

Zi Yat Heen

A Michelin starred restaurant for about a decade now, Zi Yat Heen truly deserves the accolade.  Exceptional service and quality of food in one of Macau’s most beautiful hotels.

Zi Yat Heen Macau Braised Superior Birds Nest with Crab Meat
Braised Superior Birds Nest with Crab Meat

Location: Four Seasons Macao, Ground Floor
Phone number: (853) 2881 8818
Price: $250/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.

Best Macau Restaurants: Campo De Dragon
Campo De Dragon

Location: Ave Do Dr Rodrigo Rodrigues No. 103
Phone number: (853) 2878 2345
Price: $150/person

He Fa Ma Tou Mei Shi (seafood)

The best seafood restaurant in town, He Fa Ma Tou Mei Shi offers outside seating and smoking views of the Inner Harbour. 

Best Macau Dishes: Oysters at He Fa Ma Tou Mei Shi
Oysters

Location: Behind the gas station beside the Sofitel
Phone number: (853) 2843 6709
Price: $500/person 

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