When in Macau, how can one not resist going to Fernando's?
My friend and I checked out of our hotel at 12pm and made a beeline for the taxi stand. However, while one hotel staffer signaled for a taxi, another one did for another party, which led to some confusion as to who would take the cab.
The other party was a Chinese family of three generations and the matriarch even made the plea, "We have young children here!" as if that was supposed to make us have a soft spot for them.
The fact was we were there first, but given they were prepared to throw a tantrum, we decided to yield to them and wait for the next taxi.
Just say "Hac sa Fernando's" and just about every cab driver knows. It's the furthest island from the main area near the ferry terminal, but it's worth the trip.
You cross the main bridge and into Taipa and Coloane, where you pass by what is called the Cotai strip, featuring City of Dreams, a complex which has three hotels, Hard Rock, Grand Hyatt and Crown, and the 3,000-room Venetian across the street. Apparently this Venetian is bigger than the one in Las Vegas.
Soon afterwards we ride into more green areas, and then soon you can see the beach which really does have black sand. We finally arrive almost half an hour later, right in front of the restaurant.
It's still its unpretentious self, hidden under tree leaves. We arrive just in time to get a table in the front before a horde of other hungry diners come and have to wait at the back.
The menu is still the same -- in Portuguese and Chinese -- but thankfully there is also a slim colour brochure with pictures and English in it. I point to four items on the menu to the waitress and she quickly brings us a big bottle of water and the giant bread buns.
We don't wait long until the bowl of caldo verde arrives. It's a traditional Portuguese potato soup with slices of sausage and kale. It's a good thick hearty soup, probably not the best choice for summer, but nonetheless a Macanese dish worth sampling.
Then my favourite dish, the clams arrive. They are absolutely to die for, stir-fried with a good helping of finely diced garlic, a slight tomato-based sauce, and parsley. The clams are cooked just right, plump and juicy. But wait -- the other good part is mopping up the sauce with the bread. And we make the plate completely clean.
The salad here is also refreshing -- lettuce leaves, slices of red ripe tomatoes, and onions with a generous drizzling of olive oil and vinegar. In the end I also mop up the salad dressing with the bread.
Another highlight was the roasted pork ribs on a bed of thick fries. The meat was tender and we could not help but eat them with our fingers instead of forks and knives.
After lunch, we spent a bit of time at the beach, feeling the sand between our toes and the waves rushing in. Kids frolicked in the sand, while some die-hard swimmers did a few rounds in the sea.
We had a really good memorable time at Fernando's and look forward to the next time we're there.
Praia de Hac Sa No. 9 Coloane
(853) 2888 2531