Things to Do in Macau

Macau has an intoxicating mix of colonial Portuguese and Chinese influence. From the architecture and cuisine with hints of flavours of Africa and South East Asia harmoniously blends into the local Macanese community who run multi generational local diners (the cha chaan teng) and restaurants serving amazing Macaunese + Chinese food. Macau is full of surprises - old juxtaposed against new. Most recently, young locals are creating a vibrant new café culture in the city,

The younger generation of Macanese entrepreneurs have been creating a new café coffee culture in the country. Run by a lovely local Keith - the only European certified barrister in Macau, he shares his passion for coffee, changing the menu regularly, doing small tastings and selling those exclusive beans at his beautifully done up little corner shop in the old Macau quarters. Definitely worth a visit and sometimes, if you’re lucky there’s walnut cake on the menu.
R. da Felicidade, Macao
On the opposite side of Senado square, walk up the little street, the first right street is rua da felicidade, Macau’s former red light district - also how the street got its name “Happiness Street” from its former seedy, heady colonial past. Today, it’s a busy street filled with shops and local restaurants (sharks fin particularly popular here). At the end of the street is Fat Siu lau, one of Macau’s oldest and most popular restaurant serving up Macanese/Chinese food at steep prices. Interesting Trivia, Indiana Jones and the temple of doom was filmed here on this very street.
1101 Av. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, Macao
One of the underrated landmarks in Macau, it’s a beautiful walk along the sea at sunset and very serene with the huge golden statue seemingly floating over the sea at high tide.
Taipa, Macao
Simple blank notebooks with black covers curl with moisture to create a textured wall here. Desserts are fabulous (run by a Macanese couple, one half trained in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu) as are the pastas and sandwiches.
Almost every local I know shop for their seafood and fresh produce here. The three story building was built in 1936 and its name derived from the red bricks. While nothing fancy, there aren’t many markets of this scale and layout in Macau, unlike in Hong Kong where every neighbourhood has a wetmarket and cooked food centre.
2/F, Grand Lisboa Hotel, Avenida de Lisboa, Macau
The Eight is classy fine dining Cantonese located at the Grand Lisboa. The base of the chef’s cooking techniques lie in classic dishes done brilliantly – light, fresh, delicate and pristine – the best ingredients in their purest form, soups light and rich, seafood cooked a perfect medium rare – the hallmark of Cantonese cuisine and most dishes at the above Macau Chinese fine dining restaurants passed the litmus test.

The ambience and decor stunning and tastefully decked out, with an interactive pond projector on the floor with fishes that swim past with every foot step and beautiful private dining rooms – we ate in one with a goldfish theme.

With wintermelon in season, most Chinese restaurants are serving the rich double boiled soup – the one at Eight comes with shrimp dumplings wrapped in a delicate thin layer of melon flesh, a trompe l’oeil and lovely surprise. Dimsum presentations are made a little more exciting with beautifully done goldfish looking shrimp dumplings hargau 虾饺 served alongside the Shanghainese xiaolongbao and a hedgehog BBQ pork bun charxiu bao 叉烧包 accompanied by the traditional deep fried taro nest topped with a fresh shrimp - all packed full of flavours and textures, a great duo combination on both dishes that balance the rich flavours lightness of the dimsum.
Rampa do Forte de Mong Ha, Macau
This little hidden gem is probably one of Macau’s best kept secrets - a city full of glitzy casino hotels, this 20 rooms colonial era hotel built in the 1930s is staffed with hotel management students and offers respite from the crazy bling of the new Macau. Not quite like the Hong Kong equivalent of ICON hotel staffed with hotel management trainees, but a slower paced friendly environment that showcases the slower, charming side of Macau.
396 Av. de Almeida Ribeiro, Macau
So pawn shops have been around for a very long time here and you’ve probably seen the emblem in neon and as badges around Hong Kong and Macau – it’s actually an outline of a bat holding on to a ball. The word bat in Cantonese Fu is homophonous with the word prosperity. Tak Seng On was then Macau’s largest multi storey Pawn Shop and given it’s UNESCO heritage status as it’s the surviving unaltered structure since it was built in 1917.
146 Rua do Almirante Costa Cabral
If you have no idea what Macanese food is and want to find out, look no further. While APOMAC as a civil servant retiree club doesn’t sound like a cool spot to go to, the food here is authentic and delicious - and one of the few establishments that serve up real homemade Macanese food. Lunch sets for less than 12USD (soup, main, drink).
146 Rua do Almirante Costa Cabral
While most children and girls come here for the Hello Kitty mania, the hokkaido milk egg tarts are really good and I’d highly recommend it. The butter cookies are good but gimmicky. I’d pass on the macarons.
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