Nga Tim

(Last updated: January 31, 2024)

You might not know it to look at it today, but Nga Tim is a Coloane Village institution. It’s been around since 1972, back when Coloane was still an island and the only way to get there was by ferry, which would dock at the old Coloane Pier.

Nga Tim Macau

An even sleepier backwater then, Coloane was popular for the beach down at Hac Sa and to a lesser extent, Ka Ho, which is a total afterthought these days. With basically no infrastructure or shops anywhere on the island, everybody inevitably returned to Coloane Village tired, hungry, and thirsty, which is what made Nga Tim so useful.

Nga Tim Macau indoor seating

In any and every late afternoon, under the shadow of a gorgeous Southern China sunset, people would sit outside on its worn cobblestone patio, eating warm fried rice and noodles, chasing it down with cold Casal Garcia, waiting for the last ferry back to Hong Kong or Macau.

Nga Tim Macau outdoor patio

If that sounds like nothing more than cheap cooked up nostalgia, perhaps it is, but the truth is that Nga Tim is still alive and kicking, in the same location it’s always had in front of the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier, with basically the same menu. (And for the record, the sunsets there are still beautiful.)

Nga Tim Macau square

A classic Macau restaurant through and through, they actually have three different kitchens for three different styles of local food – one that does Cantonese, one that does Portuguese, and one that does roasted meats. If you arrive a little late, be warned that one of the kitchens may have closed down a little early, limiting what you may be able to order.

Two things about the food – taste takes precedence, not appearance, and you might find it prepared a little differently than everywhere else. The African Chicken ($118/half), for example, is almost certainly barbecued, which gives it an extra dimension of crispiness and char that isn’t normally there.

Nga Tim Macau African Chicken
African Chicken

The Seafood Rice is a different kettle of fish too, prepared much more simply than normal, it looks like the rice and seafood are made separately and only mixed together at the end. No matter the process, it works wonderfully and the price is right too, only $58, which is $100 cheaper than most seafood rice in other restaurants.

Nga Tim Macau seafood rice
Seafood Rice

A tad spicy, with nice kick, the Shrimp Curry ($88) is everything you’d ever want in life, provided there’s a bowl of rice on the table too.

Nga Tim Macau shrimp curry
Shrimp Curry

The Baked Perch ($120) is another standout selection, a beautiful mixture of vegetables and boiled fish, just delicious from start to finish.

Nga Tim Macau baked perch
Baked Perch

And since we’re in Macau, why not end things with a fantastic little Pork Chop Bun for $20, which is miles better (and cheaper) than the supposed “industry leader”, the terrible Tai Lei Loi Kei?

Nga Tim Macau pork chop bun
Pork Chop Bun

If you take Nga Tim for what it is – one of the simplest and most laid back restaurants in town, located in the most atmospheric part of Coloane Village, then there’s no way you’ll go there and be disappointed.

Nga Tim Macau decoration

All told, our dinner for two only ran $607, which included $168 in Sangria alone, dirt cheap for Macau these days.

Nga Tim Macau Sangria

One terrific blast from the past that just keeps on trucking, Nga Tim is approaching must visit status for casual travellers and hard core Macau enthusiasts alike.

*** UPDATE ***

A few more tidbits about other dishes I’ve tried at Nga Tim, none of which move the meter much.

Starting with soups, stick with the Seafood ($22) and Bortsch ($22), while avoiding the Oxtail ($22) and Clam Chowder ($35).

Seafood Soup at Nga Tim
Seafood Soup
Bortsch at Nga Tim

I don’t even consider the Clam Chowder a soup, it was more like water added to clams and vegetables then left alone.

Clam Chowder at Nga Tim
Clam Chowder

A lot of places in Macau make Feijoada ($108) a lot better, while Nga Tim probably makes it at a 3 star level.

Feijoada at Nga Tim

At least it is properly sloppy and not that expensive, but it pales in comparison to the feijoada at places like Litoral and O Manuel.

The Roasted Eel ($298) is the best of the bunch by far but is wickedly overpriced.  Prepared well with beautiful texture and taste, there’s just not enough of it to justify the price.

Roasted Eel at Nga Tim
Roasted Eel

If it were $150 cheaper, I’d be all over it, but I won’t be going there again.  The Baked Pork Chop Rice ($78) is not something I’d usually order, but my friend enjoyed it and called it totally decent.

Baked Pork Chop Rice at Nga Tim
Baked Pork Chop Rice

As mentioned in the original review, the best dishes I’ve had at Nga Tim are the Shrimp Curry, Seafood Rice and Baked Perch.  Along with the Seafood Soup, they are all standout selections.

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