Macao: Day 3

November 8, 2018

On our final day, we started off with a cup of tea at Long Wa restaurant. I loved the moody light streaming in from the windows and the restaurant itself could have been a movie set.

We stopped by Mandarin’s House, a historical residential complex. The sounds of kids marching and laughing echoed off the stone walls. Beyond the famous circular arch lies a garden as well as the living quarters.

For lunch, we dined at Aji at MGM Macau, the latest casino on the Cotai strip, built just a few months ago. The restaurant specializes in Nikkei cuisine: bold flavors of Peruvian flavors merged with Japanese culinary heritage.

Every dish we had embodied these principles with unique flavor pairings complemented by elegant plating and aesthetics.

Ceviche with lime is already delicious. But adding soy and ginger elevates it to another level. Both the wagyu nigiri and 50 hour sous vide short rib melted on the tongue. Perfect execution on texture and restrained seasoning

After the MGM, we stopped by the Wynn Palace for a tour. We were shown regular guest rooms and compared to the nicer, bigger suites. We were also led to their steakhouse on site and ended the tour with the Skycab experience where we were transferred safely to the ground by our vehicle. Amazing views and hospitality by the Wynn staff.

After some downtime, we headed back to Coloane Village to enjoy our last dinner in Macao at Nga Tim. Live shrimp was brought out in front of us. The shrimp were getting drunk off of sake and were suddenly picked up by a jovial older man who cooked it for us in 90 seconds and began serenading nearby tables. Apparently, he’s very popular among locals and pretty runs that village. While he was singing in his best karaoke voice, we noshed on fried fish, shrimp, pan-fried noodles, calamari. It felt good eating outside with the locals to get that sense of authenticity and community. In terms of ambiance, probably my favorite meal of the trip.

After our raucous meal, we decided to drive all the way up the hill to get a glimpse of the landscape below. Surreal moment in the dark, looking at the blinking neon and thinking about all the sights we have seen and food we have eaten.

Thank you again Macao Tourism Board for inviting me on this amazing journey and Hong Kong Airlines for sponsoring our travel. Even though we covered some good ground in 3 days, it was just the tip of the iceberg. I hope to visit that part of your world again soon!

Click here for Day 1 and here for Day 2

Macao: Day 2

November 7, 2018

After a good night’s rest and room service, I quickly ate some breakfast and got ready for Day 2.


Our first stop was at St. Paul’s, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On our way there, we did some street photography against many colored walls. Everywhere you turned, there was a photogenic building or a cool street with patterns and eye-catching designs.

A photographer’s playground of textures, light and shadows, and colors.

After St. Paul’s, we were led to a famous alley known as “Lover’s Lane” filled with street art, pastels, and engagement shoots where the bride was wearing intricate gowns. Luckily when we made our way down there, the alley was empty.

After all this walking, it was time to eat lunch at Tou Tou Koi, a spot famous for its dimsum. Since we were pretty famished, we ordered the whole menu. I’m talking shumai, hargow, jellyfish, riblets, char siu, crispy pork, chive dumplings, egg yolk buns, and the list goes on. Excellent flavors with wrappers that were not too doughy. I definitely had the best shumai of my life there. The mushroom in the filling kept it moist and delivered umami to my mouth.

After a brief break at the hotel, we went to one of my favorite meals at Aubuerge 1601 located in an impeccably preserved heritage building in the historical St. Lazarus neighborhood.

The Portuguese menu did not disappoint. Chunks of lobster meat inside a creamy risotto, one of the best grilled octopus I’ve had, Bolinhos de Bacalhau (salty fish potato balls), succulent suckling pig with heavenly crispy skin, and tender oxtail steeped in a dark gravy that injected bold flavors to the mashed potatoes.

For my early bday celebration, everyone whipped out their iphones to record me taking down three shots of port wine, after which I was floating on cloud nine.

A seriously delicious meal that hit the spot with the best company. Another exhilarating finish to an adventurous day.

Click here for Day 1 and here for Day 3

Macao: Day 1

November 5, 2018

After a 16 hour flight, a bus ride, and a ferry ride, we finally made it to Macao. I was there with travel mates Ashley, Chloe, and Christine to document the food scene of Macao to celebrate its recent designation as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. This was my first international press trip and I couldn’t have been more excited to begin my exploration. For a recap of my HK Airlines flight, click here.

As our bus made its way towards the Cotai Strip, the flashing neon lights pulsated with electricity and massive casinos were lining the streets. People compare Macao to Vegas but trust me - Macao was on another level of opulence and stimulation.

Even though we arrived at Hotel Okura close to midnight, the staff had graciously prepared some club sandwiches and French fries for us. More importantly, the shower had great hot water and the bed was so comfortable, I fell asleep in minutes.

November 6, 2018

After a night of rest, we met up with the PR team to get an onsite tour to check out the property.

The girls and I had some time for a quick photoshoot on the beach. The beach, chairs, and landscaping were pristine and well-kept. The weather was perfect - sunny but not humid. We splashed around a little bit in the water to cool down before we went back to our rooms to change for our first outing!

Our first food stop was at a Macanese restaurant called Litoral Restaurant. We feasted on local plates such as baked crab meat where there are baked breadcrumbs on top of the most delicate crab. A plate of bacalao (salted cod fritters) disappeared within 20 seconds. We also feasted on African chicken with a peanut butter sauce and tasty Ethiopian spices as well as some curry beef pastries with crispy dough.

We walked off the food at nearby A-ma temple, the oldest temple in Macao. You can feel the weight of history as you’re walking up the steps and as you dart throughout the sticks of burning incense and discover prayer rooms, you feel an overwhelming sense of calm and serenity. After a self-guided tour of the temple, we snapped a few pics against the surrounding green houses.

Our next stop was Macao Tower with 61 floors and 233 meters high. The view from up top made my stomach somersault and I tasted the African chicken again. I don’t do well with heights so I snapped a few quick pictures and closed my eyes until we went back into the bus….safely on the ground.

Beautiful green houses greeted us as we entered Taipa Houses-Museum, a homage to Macau’s colonial era. It really felt like we stepped back in time as we walked by these houses.

As we made our way to Cunha Street, we found so many photo ops in the nooks and crannies of the streets. It was challenge photographing in the streets due to many close calls with motorcycles and cars that sped past us.

Love the busy, crowded vibe of Cunha. Filled with delicious smells of food being made by local vendors and we were able to try a porkchop bun from Tai Lei Lou Kei, a storefront over 50 years old. Succulent and juicy, the pork chop was pounded thin and marinated perfectly, but the bun itself was a little dry. Maybe it was because we took 10 minutes photographing the poor thing.

My favorite bite at Cunha Street and Top 5 bites in Macao, was the mango mocha from Cheung Chau Ping Kei. The fluffiest mocha that gave way to the ripest mango that dribbled down my chin. I could have inhaled 5 of these. Super fresh and holds its own against the best mocha in Japan.  

Nourished by these street snacks, we trekked onwards to our next destination located in an older part of Macao away from the glitz and glamour. The last few rays of the day reflected off the multi-colored houses and walls as we walked along the peaceful water. The air was thick with silence except for the occasional bird flapping its wings or the sounds of old cars rumbling on the cobblestone streets. We ended this excursion with a quick stop by Lord Stowe’s, a renowned bakery known for making amazing Portuguese egg tarts. Amazing crumbly crust with a creamy filling that isn’t too sweet. Before I blinked, I had swallowed the best egg tart I have ever had.

Still with me? Keep in mind, this is still Day 1 out of a 3 day trip and after writing everything down for this post, I realized that we definitely covered a lot of ground in terms of eating and cultural sites. After our initial day of exploring the streets of Macao, we were looking forward to being rejuvenated by some nourishing hotpot.

Lotus Palace was as opulent as the casino it was in at Parisian Macao. Sleek black, deep red tones, and shiny glass adorned the ceiling and walls.

The luxurious presentation extended to the food and beverages we ordered. We had a nice cider mocktail with cinnamon that tasted like Christmas and my mocktail was a delicious passionfruit chrysanthemum tea. Yes I ordered another one because it was one of the most delicious drinks I’ve ever had.

Next, we customized our sauce from 12 bowls (the Thai red chilis were no joke) and had a seat while the food made its debut on our table.

Ribbons of marbled beef were gently draped and ready to be dipped into our sichuan broth while fresh lobster and scallops were delivered on ice. Pork, beef, and lamb lollipop skewers were juicy and oftentimes disappeared into the vat of broth to be retrieved 15 min later. We still can’t find the missing scallop to this day.

Hotpot was a great idea for our first dinner together. It allowed for laughter, bonding, and interaction with food - which, in my opinion, is the most satisfying way to eat.

Click here for Day 2

Hong Kong Airlines: Macao - bound!

After arriving at the Tom Bradley International Airport, I made a beeline to the Hong Kong Airlines check in area where I met Carman, our Macao Tourism rep as well as Dean, a Hong Kong Airlines rep. My travel mates, Chloe, Ashley, and Christine were already there with way too much energy for a 6am call time.  After breezing through security, we were told that two upgrades to business class cleared so two of us took the seats while the other two would be given priority on the return flight.

Even though I was in economy, I had the whole row to myself. This meant I could stretch out and even lie down to take a nap. The 16 hour flight passed quickly as I watched movies and enjoyed the delicious airline food.  My first meal was a delicious stewed pork with veggies over rice. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect but the flavors were spot on. The dish could have been from any Chinese restaurant in LA.

A few hours later, I chose the grilled chicken with flavorful mushrooms, potatoes, and veggie medley.  Cooked very well without being oversalted and dry. The fresh fruit and Milano cookies made for a tasty dessert.

Service was great – a few attendants came by and checked on me and always brought me cups of water.

This service was extended to my return flight as well.

The lounge attendants at Club Autus, a swanky lounge at the HK Airport, welcomed our group with warm smiles and provided a quick tour. We were able to eat some snacks such as dim sum, noodles, spring rolls, and drink some cocktails before our flight.

Luckily, I was upgraded to business class and was led to a very spacious seat that had a huge TV screen stocked with a library of new releases. Comfy slippers and a warm comforter was provided that came in handy later. My attendant checked up on me frequently and constantly refilled my oolong tea. Our first snack was a dimsum platter with juicy hargow, shumai, and delicious sticky rice wrapped in fragrant lotus leaf.

Lunch was multi-course meal. The appetizer had foie gras, one of my favorite foods, and it literally melted in my mouth. For my entrée, I chose the Dong Po pork platter with slices of tender pork and fluffy white rice. After watching a few movies, I ordered some instant ramen that really hit the spot. The last thing I remember before drifting off to sleep was wrapping myself in a warm comforter and laying my head on a soft pillow in the comfortable lie-flat seat.

8 hours later, I woke up refreshed and heard the announcement that our flight was approaching LAX. The service, food, and smooth flight made me a customer for life. Thank you again @hkairlines for treating us so well and taking care of our transportation needs. It was a seamless experiences without any incidents and I look forward to flying with you next year!

For more details on my Macao experience, click here