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 (@ashyi), Chloe (@bychloesee), and Christine (@kkarmalove) 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