Macau – Lost City of Good Eats

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Macau is at a crossroad – the city’s main income come from casinos. In fact Macau has overtaken Las Vegas as the Gambling Capital of the world. However, dining wise, I would voice a deep disappoint that the casinos have not brought about a renaissance of the culinary type. In fact, the best eateries are those not in the casinos. Here are some of the best of Macau have to offer.

Some of these places existed even before the casinos start coming in. Why I recommend you to taste these in Macau even though you may be able to get it HK or elsewhere in China – 1) freshness due to proximity to the sources of ingredients and 2) techniques. Some of the cooking techniques are lost in the rapid expansion of restaurant chains in China. Also in the push for higher profits, some of these ingredients have been doctored – e.g. pig blood, pigeons, shark’s fin and dogfish.

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水蟹粥

水蟹粥 (read: Shui Hai Jhok) is a traditional favourite of the Macaunese and tourists alike. 水蟹 is a freshwater crab that is bred in the estuary and is exposed to saltwater (Brackish water is the correct terminology). So it retains the sweetness of the freshwater variety, while inherits the advantages of the saltwater variety. The best months to savour this dish are the autumn (more roe) and winter months (more meat).

This crab is cleaned and chopped into pieces and then cooked in plain congee (or Jhok in cantonese). The congees absorbs all the goodness of the crab that resulted in a sweet, savoury goo that is flavourful to the very last drop.

Fine examples can be found in 肥仔文 in 氹仔, and 皇冠小館 at 水坑尾街

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椒鹽九肚魚

九肚魚大名龍頭魚,又名狗母魚、豆腐魚、狗吐魚、水龍魚等。把龍頭魚稱為狗母魚或狗吐魚是廣東師傅常見叫法。粵語“狗”的發音很易被誤認為“九”, “母”、“吐”又與“肚”的發音相近,或許狗母魚、狗吐魚名稱也不雅,於是廚房裡的師傅便稱其為九肚魚了,後又演變出九禿魚、九兔魚等叫法。九肚魚肉質鮮嫩,有骨好似無骨,漁獲期以春季為主。九肚魚屬“見光死”,捕撈上岸便死,還因其體內含水分較多,不易貯存,以前多加工成鹽乾製品,即“龍頭烤”,現保鮮技術以冰鮮品為多。無良商家為了降低保鮮成本出現過“甲醛九吐魚”事件。

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烘禾虫

烘禾蟲:在順德傳統名菜中佔有重要席位,據記載:“禾蟲能補脾胃,生血利濕,可治水腫,有強心之效”。一般的制法是將新鮮禾蟲用清水漂洗乾淨,隔清水份,用瓦鉢裝置,放入適量的油鹽、陳皮等,攪拌成膠狀,隔水蒸熟,再加瓦蓋,上下用炭火烘乾,原鉢上席。

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雙皮燉奶

新碼路議事亭旁的“義順牛奶”有百多年歷史,再加上義順自設農場飼養乳牛,所以它們的奶類食品特別原汁原味,不少香港人每次來澳門,也必到這間老字型大小的總店點上一個雙皮奶。

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魚翅

As a fishing port, shark’s fin was something Macau was famous for. Although HK was the largest trading centre for shark’s fin worldwide, Macau could be the place with the most (dedicated) shark’s fin restaurants per capita anywhere in the world. And you can get a bowl of this tasty treat anything from MOP $50 (USD 8) upwards – the sky’s the limit.

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紅燒乳鴿

中山石岐乳鴿本是中山籍華僑從國外引進的優良鴿種,經同本地優良鴿和雜交後孵育出來的一種乳鴿。這種乳鴿以體大肉嫩、胸肉特厚而著名,烹制方法繁多,其中以紅燒乳鴿聞名於省港澳各地。石岐紅燒乳鴿其皮脆肉滑,甘香鮮美,幼嫩可口,油而不膩,色香味俱佳,被推為上品佳餚。

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豬紅韭黃菜

粵人稱豬血為“豬紅”,最大的功效能防治缺鐵性貧血和幫助排出體內有害物質。常用粉筆的教師、掃街的環衛工人及貧血者可作調理湯飲之料。

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豬腦面

對於資深食客,挑戰各種奇特的食物才有成就感。澳門三盞燈區有一家東京食店,店內最出名就是豬腦面。點菜之前要想像一下,當一大盤形狀完整的豬腦漂浮於湯中端上桌時,你會不會嘩一聲跳起來奔逃。

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