African chicken, baked egg tarts, samosas, pork-and-olive fried rice. In Macau, Portugal meets China with a dash of southeast Asia and a sprinkling of Africa. Macanese cuisine is, quite literally, a blend of all the places that Portuguese traders visited along the 16th century maritime route from East Asia to Lisbon.

Don't be surprised to find European dishes like salted cod and stewed rabbit followed by pork buns and rice on any menu here.

Seafood stew: a Macanese delight. Image by Max-Leonhard von Schaper / CC BY 2.0

A stunning mixture of foods that are at once familiar and exotic, Macanese cooking effortlessly combines ingredients like tumeric, ginger, papaya and curry with the grounded familiarity of meat and fish grilled to crispy perfection over charcoal.

Here's a hit list of the best things to eat in Macau.

Portuguese fried rice

Portuguese fried rice. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet

Fried rice like never before: hopped up on European ingredients. This moreish rice is infused with prawns, bacon bits, egg, asparagus, chicken and olives.

Try it

A Lorcha
Antonio

Egg tarts

Macanese egg tart. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet

The Macanese version of the pastel de nata is a light, fluffy affair with less sugar than its Lisbon counterpart. This makes it all-too-easy to chow down several, especially when fresh from the oven.

Try it

Lord Stow's Bakery
Margaret's Cafe e Nata

Garlic prawns

Garlic prawns. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet

What it says on the tin, except so much more delicious. Hefty doses of fresh garlic, heaps of butter and a generous splash of white wine, all flash stir-fried into a thickened, irresistible sauce.

Try it

Espaco Lisboa
Miramar
A Lorcha

Pork chop bun

Perfect pork chop bun. Image by Krista / CC BY 2.0

Macau's favourite snack food is perfect in its simplicity: a fresh Portuguese bread roll stuffed with a gleaming fried pork chop. No extras needed - this bad boy does the job without frills.

Try it

Tai Lei Loi

Spicy charcoal-grilled chicken

Spicy charcoal chicken. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet

Succulent whole chicken grilled over charcoals until the skin is delightfully crispy and burnt around the edges, then chopped Chinese-style and served with french fries.

Try it

A Lorcha
Banza

Stir-fried clams

Macanese stir-fried clams. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet

Fresh clams stir-fried in a wok with spring onion, generous doses of garlic and white wine make these among the best you’ll have in your life (really).

Try it

A Lorcha
Litoral
Restaurante Fernando

Serradura

Serradura: "sawdust" custard. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet

The name of this dessert means ‘sawdust’ but don’t be fooled: it’s a rich vanilla custard layered and topped with crushed Marie biscuits and served chilled.

Try it

Serrdura
Antonio
A Lorcha

Grilled fish

Grilled sea bass. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet

Sea bass, sardines, bacalhau (cod): you name the fish and they will grill it in Macau. This is almost always done on an open-air charcoal grill and the fish are served whole, with head, eyeball, crisp skin and all.

Try it

Miramar
A Lorcha
O Manuel

Seafood stew

Seafood and rice stew. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet

Fresh octopus, clams, hunks of cod, more clams, crab and mussels are thrown into a thick broth, oftentimes with rice and fresh vegetables like asparagus and Chinese greens. The result is this stew that is seriously difficult to stop eating.

Try it

Miramar
Clube Militar de Macau
Espaco Lisboa

African chicken

African piri piri chicken. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet

A whole chicken, cooked in a luxurious sauce of garlic, tomato, piri piri chillis and coconut milk, this dish is a not-so-spicy version of piri piri chicken or Brazliian barbecued chicken.

Try it

Antonio
O Porto Interior
Litoral

Almond cookies

Macau almond cookies. Image by David Boté Estrada / CC BY-SA 2.0

Another favourite Macanese dessert: almond cookies are made fresh and sold in shops and restaurants on every street corner in Macau. A box of these makes a perfect Macanese souvenir.

Try it

Choi Heong Yuen
Koi Kei 

Minchi

Minchi served over potatoes. Image courtesy of Macau Government Tourism Organisation
Minchi served over potatoes. Image courtesy of Macau Government Tourism Organisation

Macau’s oddest-sounding dish and perhaps its most intriguing fusion: pork and beef mince stir-fried with soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cumin and onions and served either with fried potatoes or over rice. A fried egg is often added over the top. Fusion comfort food at it’s finest.

Try it

Riquexó
Antonio
Litoral

Baked scallops

Cheesy baked scallops. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet

A Portuguese favourite: scallops served on the shell, smothered in a cheesy, creamy sauce and baked until the cheese bubbles brown.

Try it

Miramar
Restaurante Fernando

Wine

Portuguese Duoro wine is common in Macau. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet

Macau doesn’t produce any wine of its own, but because of a lack of import tax on alcohol, you can find fantastic varieties of European wines here, and tastes fall especially to Portuguese wine thanks to the long history between the two places.

Try it

Banza
Clube Militar de Macau

A Lorcha

Megan Eaves is Lonely Planet's North Asia Destination Editor and an unabashed eater of food. You can follow her on Twitter @megoizzy.

Megan travelled to Macau with support from the Macau Government Tourist Office (macautourism.gov.mo). Lonely Planet contributors do not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage.

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