Treats from Cha Gordo in Macau
Cha Gordo treats/Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

China’s Special Administrative Region of Macau may be famous for its casinos but it’s the island’s cuisine — which blends Portuguese and Chinese influences — that hits the jackpot. Here are some tasty ways to sample Macau eats:

1. Try a Portuguese culinary workshop.

Dig into the core of Macau culture with a traditional Portuguese cooking class at Pousada de Coloane. Grab a shopping list and head to Macau’s landmark Red Market to haggle for all the ingredients for your dishes. Back at the pousada, a chef oversees the preparations as you mix the cuisine’s sweet and spicy flavors.


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2. Feast on Fat Tea.

Celebrate the Macanese take on the traditional English afternoon tea with the elaborate weekly buffet at the Macau Sheraton. Also called Cha Gordo, the tradition dates back to the early 20th century when local housewives would create an array of snacks and desserts for neighborhood gatherings and holidays. The Sheraton’s Fat Tea includes 12 sweet and savory dishes that are hallmarks of the tradition, including bacalau, a codfish and potato fritter and minchi, diced and deep fried meats.

3. Visit Lord Stow’s bakery.

A trip to Lord Stow’s tiny historic bakery in Coloane is a Macau must-do. The bakery’s warm, buttery, egg tarts are famous all over the world and you’ll see many travelers armed with their boxes at the airport. There are several cafes and stores that offer egg tarts but head to Lord Stow’s to savor the originals, oozing with caramelized tops and slightly sweet fillings, straight from the oven.

4. Dish up hot pots.

China’s 1,000-year-old hot pot tradition remains popular in Macau and you can check out various restaurants serving up hot pot meals. This popular social activity is sometimes called Chinese fondue and involves selecting meat, vegetables, condiments, and broth, then cooking them in a metal pot. It’s a leisurely, communal experience that illustrates the cultural importance of community.

5. Nosh on almond cookies.

In Macau, almond cookies are second only to egg tarts as popular sweets. These treats are made from mung bean flour and feature whole pieces of almonds for a nutty, faintly sweet flavor. You’ll see boxes of them everywhere, from high-end department stores to street stands. The most popular is Koi Kei, which offers flavors like black sesame and shredded pork.

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