Macau Local Snack Guide
A large part of Macau commerce revolves around shops that specialize in local snacks and they are ubiquitous in certain parts of the city. Mainlanders invariably lug three or four big bags of it back across the border, singlehandedly keeping dozens of these businesses afloat. The snacks sold are quite diverse and most places give out a generous amount of free samples so you can always do a taste test first to see what you like before buying anything.
Koi Kei Bakery and Choi Heong Yuen are the two most popular bakeries in town and their outlets are all over tourist friendly areas, in particular around Senado Square, the road that leads up to St Paul’s, the Street of Happiness, Taipa Village and in various shopping Promenades in big Cotai Strip hotels like the Galaxy, City of Dreams and Venetian.
Koi Kei is the industry leader but I’ve always liked to go against the flow, so that’s why I prefer Choi Heong Yuen instead. Unless otherwise indicated, all of the prices listed below came from their big shop on the road leading to St Paul’s, which is the outlet I always use. I’d also like to thank them for allowing me to take pictures.
As for personal recommendations, I’m a fan of everything on this list or else it wouldn’t be on it. Gun to my head though, I’d put the Belgium Dark Chocolate Dragonbeard Candy, Spicy Dried Fish, Nougat and Walnut Cookies in its own tier at the top, closely followed by the Dried Meat, Almond Pastries, Sesame Peanut Candy and Sweet Heart Cakes with Winter Melon Paste just below it.
With that introduction out of the way, let’s get right to 15 local Macau snacks that I think you’ll enjoy.
Macau Local Snacks: Egg Tarts
It’s generally accepted that Macau has two egg tart producers that stand head and shoulders above the rest: Lord Stow’s Bakery and Margaret’s Cafe.
Arguments over whose egg tarts are better have ended friendships, marriages, partnerships, start up companies and every other relationship in between. That’s to say there is no definitive answer, the only way to know which one you prefer is to try both of them yourself.
Lord Stow’s tarts are heavier and sweeter, not to mention the originals, so that’s why I’ve always championed them over Margaret’s.
I have to admit that I didn’t really get almond cookies until I tried them at Pastelaria Choi Heong on Rua do Gamboa. Usually they’re just way too dry, lacking flair, flavour and flamboyance.
Pastelaria Choi Heong is the only bakery that still makes them by hand though, which results in a much fresher product that’s tastier and more delicious, mostly because they don’t skimp on the almonds. Boxes of 10 cost $36 while boxes of 20 are $71, so definitely double up and save that 1 MOP! If you can’t quite find the shop, just get in the general vicinity and you can smell the cookies being made a block away.
Almond cookies are available in numerous forms around town which include Almond Cakes with Filling ($56), Almond Pastries ($58), “Sunny” Almond Cakes ($53), Almond Cakes Baked in Salt ($45), Almond Cakes with Walnuts ($38), Mini Almond Cake with Shredded Pork Jerky ($40), and One Bite Almond Cakes with Pumpkin Seeds ($23).
Macau Local Snacks: Almond Pastries
Although almond cookies are far more famous, I probably prefer Almond Pastries ($58) instead. Sweeter, tastier, and better all around, just be careful when you transport and handle them that they don’t break apart.
I had the pleasure of staying in the fantastic Four Seasons Macau in early 2020, in the process meeting their lovely Guest Relations Manager, Wenslie Yao. As I was checking out I mentioned to her that I was a little hungry, and two seconds later just like that, a free gift box of Dragonbeard Candy appeared at the front desk.
And it was from that moment on, that a new love affair emerged in my life.
(Just with the candy only, somewhat unfortunately…)
One of most unique snacks on this list, I’ve only seen Dragonbeard Candy sold at Yau Kau Bakery, which has a couple of outlets around town. Their main shop is near the Old Ladies Home in St. Lazarus District, just after you walk up the big stairs in the direction of Kiang Wu Hospital.
Its cool name aside, Dragonbeard Candy is simply peanuts wrapped in a sweet white floss that’s somewhat similar in texture to cotton candy. Made onsite by hand in the front window, it comes in four distinct flavours: Original ($28), Black Sesame ($35), Savory Flavor ($35) and Belgium Dark Chocolate ($40).
Although the owner said that the Originals are the most popular, the two superstar choices for me are the Black Sesame and Belgium Dark Chocolate varieties. For peanut lovers, it’s all about the Black Sesame while the Belgium Dark Chocolate is pure bliss if you want something sweeter and more sinister.
Macau Local Snacks: Dried Meat
A staple in Macau bakeries everywhere, dried meat is available in two primary flavours, Pork and Beef. Sold by the pound, current prices are as follows: Black Pepper Prime Beef ($148), Curry Beef Jerky ($148), Black Pepper Prime Pork ($98), Spicy Beef ($98), Hot and Spicy Beef ($93), Roasted Piglet ($83), Hot and Spicy Pork ($75), Garlic Pork ($69), Honey Roasted Piglet ($69).
A seriously tasty snack, no one who likes meat also doesn’t like dried meat as well. Keep in mind that it needs to be refrigerated after purchase to ensure that it stays fresh.
Spicy Beef Cubes
Since we’re on the topic of meat, let’s keep it rolling with Heong Kei Jerky Macau and their Spicy Beef Cubes which cost $64.
I did a taste test of all their flavours which include Curry Meat, Curry Beef, Spicy Meat and Satay Pork, but the Spicy Beef took the cake for me.
A beautiful bite sized snack, the meat is somewhat soft and the spice isn’t that strong, making it a thoroughly enjoyable ride.
To find Heong Kei Jerky Macau, just head to Rua de Felicidade (the Street of Happiness) and Tv do Auto Novo (清平港).
Macau Local Snacks: Spicy Dried Fish
As much as I like the Spicy Beef Cubes, the Spicy Dried Fish at Heong Kei is even better. It’s one of those things I never would have tried unless I was doing this guide, and I’m glad I did, because it’s an all out monster.
Crunchy, chewy, and packed to the brim with a pleasant subtle fish taste, you could even consider pairing it with a heavy Douro red and reap those rewards later.
For more seafood, consider trying the Dried Squid at Ying Kee for $68.
Chewy, rubbery and very hot, there’s something about the squid taste that works very well in conjunction with all the others.
While it might give your jawbone quite the good work over, you’ll be rewarded with some long term love after every bite.
Ying Kee has plenty of branches all over town, including one on the main road leading up to St Paul’s.
Macau Local Snacks: Egg Rolls
One of the most popular local snacks in Macau, egg rolls are sold in almost every bakery in town. Interesting treats, I like the Seaweed and Salmon ones ($50) best, because they have a nice sandy spicy kick to them that’s quite unique.
Others flavours include Seaweed and Shredded Pork ($39), Vegetarian Egg Rolls with Seaweed ($39), Curry Phoenix with Shredded Pork Jerky ($36), and Phoenix Egg Rolls ($35).
Crunchy Cashew Candy
“Industry leader” Kou Kei’s only contribution to the list are Crunchy Cashew Candies for $111. Much more expensive than other snacks on this list, it’s probably because the box is absolutely huge.
The key is the caramel that adds a pleasant pinch of sweetness into the mix. Crunchy and light, it makes for a very satisfying snack.
Macau Local Snacks: Peanut Candies
Cheaper peanut candy alternatives are found at Choi Heong Yuen, with three flavours that all cost $39: Sesame, Black Sesame, and Coconut.
Far chewier than the Crunchy Cashew Candies, I usually buy the assorted box so I get all three.
Nougat is the kind of food you try for the first time and then wonder where it’s been all of your life, particularly the Blueberry ($55) and Almond ($55) varieties. Sweet, rich and totally irresistible, it’s heaven in a wrapper.
Coffee ($55) and Peanut ($43) are also available, but I don’t think they’re on the same level.
Macau Local Snacks: Seaweed
I liked seaweed a lot more than I thought I would. Strangely good, it’s kind of addictive, like potato chips you start eating and then can’t put down.
Seaweed comes in three flavours that all cost $46: Original, Hot and Spicy and Wasabi.
Cookie lovers could spend a week lost in each of Macau’s different bakeries, trying out all of the different flavours. There could be well over 40 kinds, which is too much to list here, so I’ll just share a few I spotted at Choi Heong Yuen: Walnut Cookies ($48), Mini Walnut Cookies ($39), Cashew Cookies ($46), Abalone Pastries ($58), Oatmeal Pastries ($58).
Walnut Cookies are the definite star here. If you buy any Macau snack, and especially cookies, buy that.
Macau Local Snacks: Assorted Cakes
The selection of cakes aren’t as diverse as cookies, but there are still a bunch of different ones available, such as Lotus Seed Cakes ($48), Pineapple Short Cake ($41), White Sugar Cake ($29), Brown Sugar Cake ($29), Parched Rice Cakes ($39), and Garden Cakes ($29).
I personally like Sweet Heart Cakes with Winter Melon Paste ($48) the most, but be warned, they’ll burn some serious holes through what’s left of your sweet tooth.
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