Macau Local Snack Guide

(Last updated: November 2, 2023)

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, single-handedly 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 snacks listed below are produced by them.  I’d also like to thank them for allowing me to take pictures.

With that introduction out of the way, let’s get right to 13 local Macau snacks that I think you’ll enjoy.

Macau Local Snack #1: Dragonbeard Candy

I had the pleasure of staying in the fantastic Four Seasons Macau in early 2020, where I met their lovely Guest Relations Manager, Wenslie Yao.  During check 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…)

Macau snacks: Dragonbeard Candy
Dragonbeard Candy

One of most unique snacks on this list, I’ve only seen Dragonbeard Candy sold by Yau Kei Bakery, who is now based out of a stall in the Three Lamps District.  They used to have a main shop near the Old Ladies Home in the St. Lazarus District, where you could watch the candy being made in the front window, but those sweet digs didn’t survive Covid.

Dragonbeard Candy stall at Three Lamps Macau

Its cool name aside, Dragonbeard Candy is simply peanuts wrapped in a sweet white floss that’s similar in texture to cotton candy.  When I first tried it in 2019, there were only four flavours: Original ($32), Black Sesame ($37), Savory Flavor ($37) and Belgium Dark Chocolate ($42).  Since then they’ve expanded with three choices that are clearly geared toward the mainland market, adding Plum ($37), Lychee Tea ($40), and Yuzu ($45).

Although the owner said that the Originals are the most popular, I much prefer the Black Sesame and Belgium Dark Chocolate varieties.  For peanut lovers, it’s all about the Black Sesame while the Belgium Dark Chocolate is just beautiful badness and bliss if you like your treats sweet. 

Macau Local Snacks #2: Pasteis de Chaves

Originating from the small city of Chaves in Northern Portugal, this flaky pastry filled with minced beef is an awesome little meat treat that will have you longing for more.

Pasteis de Chaves Macau
Pasteis de Chaves

Similar in texture to a croissant, the trip takes a real strange turn when the meat mixes in with the moist fluffy goodness of the layered crust.  It’s a quirky righteous combination that I can’t get enough of.  Slightly pricey at $20 a pop, I usually order 2 or 3 per visit and have one hell of a good time.

Pasteis de Chaves Macau

Pasteis de Chaves main shop is a little out of the way, tucked away on #5 Rua de Repouso, quite close to the steps that lead down to the St. Lazarus District.  Fortunately they have a much more accessible outlet near Senado Square on Tv de Sao Domingos.

Macau Local Snacks #3: Almond Cookies

I have to admit that I didn’t really get almond cookies until I tried them at Pastelaria Choi Heong. Usually they’re just way too dry, like munching on old cardboard, where you need 10 glasses of water immediately to wash all that sand down.

Macau snacks: almond cookies from Pastelaria Choi Heong
Almond Cookies

Pastelaria Choi Heong is the only bakery that still makes them by hand though, which results in a much fresher product that’s maddeningly addictive, mostly because they don’t skimp on the almonds.  And the fact that they’re made right next door means they’re still piping hot when you buy them, and ultimately why they’re so damn delicious.

Boxes of 10 cost $40 while boxes of 20 are $79, 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. 

Please note that the bakery has become so well known with locals and tourists alike that you might have to wait an hour to get in.  Patrons are also limited from buying more than 60 almond cookies per visit. 

Macau Local Snacks #4: Almond Pastries

Although almond cookies are much more famous, it’s possible that Almond Pastries ($66) have them beat.  (So long as the almond cookies aren’t coming from Pastelaria Choi Heong, then that’s definitely the case.)

Almond Pastries from Choi Heong Yuen
Almond Pastries

Sweeter, less dry, and fantastic with tea, just take care when you transport and handle them that they don’t break apart.

Other almond based products include Mini Almond Cakes ($42), Sunny Almond Cakes ($57), Almond Cakes with Fillings ($60) and Almond Cakes Baked in Salt ($70).

Macau Local Snacks #5: 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. 

Macau snacks: egg tarts
Lord Stows Egg Tarts

Arguments over whose egg tarts are better have ended friendships, marriages, partnerships, start up companies and every other business endeavour in between. That’s to say there is no definitive answer, the only way to know which one you prefer is to try them both 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.  Both cost the same price: $11 for 1 or $65 for 6.

Macau Local Snacks #6: Dried Meat

A staple in Macau bakeries everywhere, dried meat is available in two primary flavours, Pork and Beef.  Sold by the pound, prices have gone up substantially post Covid, with nothing available for under $100 anymore.  Some of the more popular varieties include Flavor Pork ($108), Hot and Sour Pork ($136), Black Pepper Prime Pork ($159), Curry Beef ($182), Five Spices Beef ($182), Prime Beef ($186), and Thai Style Pork ($220).

Macau Snacks: Dried Meat
Dried Meat

A seriously tasty snack, anyone who likes meat will also like dried meat as well.  Keep in mind that it needs to be refrigerated after purchase to ensure that it stays fresh.

Macau Local Snacks #7: Peanut Candies

Koi Kei may be the biggest and most popular peanut candy producer in Macau, but they got nothing on this little stall located beside Mou Kei Seafood near the Street of Happiness.

Prepared on the spot, the peanuts come in Original and Black Sesame flavours, both of which cost $43.  You can get them soft and chewy, or hard and crunchy, a choice that just boils down to individual preference.

He Ji Peanut Stall Macau

No English is spoken if the older crew is working the stall, just know there’s a discount if you buy 3 bags ($120 instead of $129), a deal I take advantage of every time!

Macau Local Snacks #8: Walnut Cookies

Cookie lovers could spend a week lost in each of Macau’s different bakeries, trying out all of the different kinds.  There could be well over 30 flavours, 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 ($42), Cashew Cookies ($55), Coconut Cookies ($42), Abalone Pastries ($42), Oatmeal Pastries ($66), Golden Penny Cookies ($33).

Macau snacks: Walnut Cookies
Walnut Cookies

Walnut Cookies are the easy star here.  If you buy any cookie, that’s definitely the one. 

Macau Local Snacks #9: Sweet Heart Cakes with Winter Melon Paste

The selection of cakes aren’t as diverse as cookies, but there are still a bunch of different ones available, such as Husband Cake with Shallots ($50), Pineapple Short Cake ($56), White Sugar Cake ($38), Brown Sugar Cake ($29), and Garden Cakes ($38).

Macau snacks: Sweet Heart Cakes with Winter Melon Paste
Sweet Heart Cakes with Winter Melon Paste

I personally like Sweet Heart Cakes with Winter Melon Paste ($50) the most, but be warned, they’ll burn some serious holes through what’s left of your sweet tooth.

Macau Local Snacks #10: Nougat

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 ($62) and Almond ($62) flavours.  Rich, sweet, and totally irresistible, it’s heaven in a wrapper. 

Macau snacks: nougat
Nougat

Coffee ($62) used to be available but isn’t anymore, while Peanut ($48) is probably priced like it is because no one really likes it, me included!

Macau Local Snacks #11: 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 Floss ($58) ones best, because they have a sandy, spicy kick to them that’s quite unique.

Macau snacks: Egg rolls
Egg Rolls

Others flavours include Phoenix Egg Rolls ($38), Phoenix Egg Rolls with Shredded Pork Jerky ($42), Phoenix Egg Rolls with Seaweed and Shredded Pork Jerky ($48), Curry Phoenix with Shredded Pork Jerky ($42), and Vegetarian Phoenix Egg with Seaweed ($48).

Macau Local Snacks #12: Spicy Beef Cubes

In addition to Spicy Beef Cubes, Heong Kei Jerky Macau also sells Curry Meat, Curry Beef, Spicy Meat and Satay Pork. After doing a taste test of all of them, I’d say the Spicy Beef ($78) clearly takes the cake.

Macau snacks: Spicy Beef Cubes
Spicy Beef Cubes

A beautiful bite sized snack, it’s like cat food for humans, only better!!  Rocking subtle hints of spice and a pleasant consistency, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable ride.

Macau Local Snacks #13: Crunchy Cashew Candy

“Industry leader” Kou Kei’s only contribution to the list are Crunchy Cashew Candies for $139.  Much more expensive than other snacks on this list, it’s probably because the box is absolutely huge.

Macau snacks: crunchy cashew candy
Crunchy Cashew Candy

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. 

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