Chalou

(Last updated: April 4, 2024)

Sometimes you just have to listen to yourself. Occupying spot #5 in my 10 Top Tips for Macau is this little pearl of wisdom: Avoid Chinese Restaurants in the Casinos. The reason is simple: they’re overpriced, overrated, often empty (and if they’re busy, the people are all tourists), three factors that combine to mix a wicked cocktail of waste and woe.

Chalou entrance Grand Lisboa Palace

I was feeling the same pain after leaving Chalou, not so much because the food was subpar, but because of how synthetic and contrived the whole experience felt. Dim sum lunches in Macau need to happen in establishments that have stood the test of time, in dilapidated buildings, amongst dilapidated tables and chairs, preferably in the company of dilapidating people.

Chalou dining area

The food itself is almost a secondary consideration, with the venue, staff, and other patrons just as important as what you’re eating. Mark my words, if half the people around you aren’t grandmothers in pyjamas, then you’re doing it all wrong!!

Chalou table with patrons

Given its location in the sprawling modern monstrosity that is the Grand Lisboa Palace, Chalou is simply incapable of providing that sort of authentic dim sum experience, which is why I’ll never go back again.

The flip side is that some of their dim sum is straight up sensational, and if you only care about the taste on your plate, then definitely give Chalou some strong consideration.

Four selections stand out in particular: Crab Meat and Pork Dumpling ($88), Wagyu Beef Bun ($68), Egg Custard Bun ($68), and Barbecued Pork Rice Roll ($78).

Crab Meat and Pork Dumpling at Chalou
Crab Meat and Pork Dumpling
Wagyu Beef Bun at Chalou
Wagyu Beef Bun

Sure they are triple the cost of what dim sum typically goes for in Macau ($20 to $30), but they’re also prepared on a level that soars high into the culinary stratosphere, one in which you might expect to find Michelin stars.

Egg Custard Bun at Chalou
Egg Custard Bun
Barbecued Pork Rice Roll at Chalou
Barbecued Pork Rice Roll

I’ve probably written 150 restaurant reviews by now and I’m pretty much out of ways to describe why things taste good. Just trust me on this one, whether it’s due to freshness, texture, taste or a combination of all three, they’re all near flawless options, ranking as some of the best dim sum that Macau has to offer.

Barbecued Pork Bun at Chalou
Barbecued Pork Bun

The Barbecued Pork Bun ($68) and Morel Mushroom and Minced Pork ($68) are a notch below but still worth ordering, while I’d give the Crabmeat and Conpoy Dumpling ($78), and Crispy Taro Puff ($88) failing grades.

Morel Mushroom and Minced Pork at Chalou
Morel Mushroom and Minced Pork

The Taro Puff, in particular, is sticky disgusting fodder that somehow got a Chef’s Recommendation on the menu, which is just lunacy.

Crispy Taro Puff at Chalou
Crispy Taro Puff
Crabmeat and Conpoy Dumpling at Chalou
Crabmeat and Conpoy Dumpling

At the end they gave us some free dessert which hit the spot wonderfully, especially since it normally runs $78 off of the menu.  Somewhat reminiscent of soft ice cream, the Bird’s Nest and Coconut Jelly Fish beams with balance and is super refreshing, the rare kind of Chinese sweet that can compete with its Western counterparts.

Bird’s Nest and Coconut Jelly Fish at Chalou
Bird’s Nest and Coconut Jelly Fish

If you’re in Macau for cheap affordable dim sum in a venue that’s special and has been special for a long time, then Chalou isn’t going to pass the mustard. I didn’t find it a particularly relaxing experience and wouldn’t return again, far preferring more established places like Long Wa, Tai Long Fong and Campo de Dragon.

All told, our bill ran $693 which included a 10% service charge, something you don’t have to pay if you use the Grand Lisboa Palace card, which is free to get downstairs in the casino.

Tea only cost $36 and got refilled as many times as we wanted, and tasted beautifully at that.

General Information

Maven Score

Address Grand Lisboa Palace, Cotai
Business Hours:
11:30 pm to 3:00 pm (Tue to Fri)
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm (Tue to Fri)
10:00 am to 3:00 pm (Sat & Sun)
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm (Sat & Sun)
Closed on Mondays
Price Range: $$
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