Abalone Ah Yat

(Last updated: June 26, 2024)

Hotel Fortuna may be a dump and their casino sucks, but they somehow got their restaurants right.  In addition to the underrated Fortuna Japanese, there’s Abalone Ah Yat, which was connected to world renowned Hong Kong restaurateur Yeung Koon-Yat, who led the legendary Forum in Causeway Bay for 50 years, until his death in 2023.

Abalone Ah Yat dining hall

Just how involved the the acclaimed “Chef of the Century” ever was here in Macau is up for debate, as Abalone Ah Yat never received any accolades that I’m aware of, while Forum has been busy collecting Michelin stars ever since Hong Kong restaurants started getting them in 2009, last seen scoring 3 in the 2024 guide.  The flip side is that Abalone Ah Yat has always been busy every time I’ve visited, which has been quite a bit over the past decade, while updating menu prices for the Fortuna review.  On my to do list for a lot longer that it should have been, I finally paid it a visit in May 2024.

Abalone Ah Yat patrons eating at a table

With no English menus, ordering there isn’t going to be easy, and I was just guessing with some of them, or looking at pictures.  Fortunately 5 out of the 8 choices turned out to be spectacular, clearly worthy of 4.5 or 5 stars.  In no particular order, they were Japanese Grilled Salmon Rolls (日式网烧三文鱼卷, $39.8), Nostalgic Shark’s Fin Dumplings (怀旧鱼翅饺, $33.8), Original Abalone Cake (原只吉品鲍鱼酥, $58.8), Sauce King Golden Belly (酱皇金钱肚, $46.8), and Abalone Shrimp Dumpling (阿一虾饺皇, $39.8).

Abalone Ah Yat Japanese Grilled Salmon Roll
Japanese Grilled Salmon Roll 日式网烧三文鱼卷

My favourite dim sum was the Japanese Grilled Salmon Rolls, which paired a crispy wasabi shell with scintillating strips of soft salmon.  Perfect for anyone who loves sashimi, I enjoyed them so much that I’ll be ordering two servings the next time I go.

Abalone Ah Yat Nostalgic Shark's Fin Dumplings
Nostalgic Shark’s Fin Dumplings 怀旧鱼翅饺

I may be going to hell for recommending the Shark Fin’s Dumplings, but I was told they aren’t expensive enough to be the real deal.  So hopefully that’s true, because whatever is inside tastes spectacular, as does the sauce served with it.

Abalone Ah Yat Original Abalone Cake
Original Abalone Cake 原只吉品鲍鱼酥

The Original Abalone Cake is a house specialty, and rightfully so.  Presented in a tart form, the abalone sits on top of what could be a mushroom filled pastry, although I’m not sure what’s inside exactly.  With scrumptious texture that really takes off when paired with tea, it’s another dim sum that I’ll be double dipping next time.

Abalone Ah Yat Sauce King Golden Belly
Sauce King Golden Belly 酱皇金钱肚

Cow stomach is a classic Macanese dim sum that I first had the pleasure of trying at Long Wa.  It’s all about the sauce with this one and Abalone’s is fantastic, tasting like something that might have come from a succulent Sunday roast.  Slightly spicy with just enough kick, it’s chewy but gloriously so, another banger that only gets better with tea.

Abalone Ah Yat Abalone Shrimp Dumpling
Abalone Shrimp Dumpling 阿一虾饺皇

Most everyone who has dim sum orders Shrimp Dumplings, and Abalone’s version does not disappoint. Packed to the brim with plenty of shrimp, they were soft, springy and alive, snugly wrapped in a sensational thin skin.

The final three dim sum fell short of standards, two of which I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.

Abalone Ah Yat Nostalgic Pork Belly Dumpling
Nostalgic Pork Belly Dumpling 怀旧猪膶烧卖

When I ordered the Pork Belly Dumplings ($19.8), I was expecting Pork Knuckle, so I was legit confused with what arrived at my table.  At first I thought it might have been a fish ball because it tasted really aquatic, but there were also weird notes of liver present.  Consider the mystery solved now, as those slabs on top are pieces of pork belly, and they played surprisingly well off the fish dumplings, a combo I never thought would work in a million years.  Questionable whether I’d order it again, it was still a solid 4 star selection.

Abalone Ah Yat Shanghai Steamed Seafood Dumplings
Shanghai Steamed Seafood Dumplings 上海鲜肉小笼包

Shanghai Steamed Dumplings ($25.8) are a personal favourite of mine, but other places do them much better than Abalone Ah Yat.  The main issue was with the skin, which needed to be a lot thinner, for all the textures and tastes to work together.  A 3.5 star dim sum, at least the soup inside wasn’t scalding hot, which is sometimes an issue at other joints.

Abalone Ah Yat Steamed Squid with Curry
Steamed Squid with Curry 咖喱蒸土鱿鱼

The Steamed Squid with Curry ($39.8) can be ignored as well, as it went a little overboard on the spice.  I mean, that was all I could taste, with not enough flavour coming from the vegetables or noodles to sufficiently jazz it up.  A snoozer worthy of 3 stars, don’t go near this one with a ten foot pole.

Normally I say avoid Chinese restaurants in the hotel casinos, but Abalone Ah Yat is a clear exception, since it caters to local people and not tourists.  While most of the dim sum was 4.5 or 5 star quality, I’m giving to 4 stars overall for two reasons: no English menus and slightly elevated cost.

Abalone Ah Yat horse artwork

Typically speaking most joints in Macau don’t charge more than $30 per dim sum while Abalone Ah Yat basically starts from there and sometimes doubles it.  All told I paid almost $400 for 8 different kinds, including tea, tax, and service charges. Pricey indeed but worth every Mop, I will definitely be going back again in the future.

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