Saturday, 26 July 2014

A Taste of Portugal in Macau

Delicious plump and juicy clams stir-fried with garlic and white wine
I'm really clueless when it comes to local eateries in Macau. The only ones I knew about previously were Fernando's in Hac Sa Beach and Club Militare behind Casino Lisboa.

So a friend who lives in Macau was shocked -- shocked -- that I didn't know about the old Taipa Village and had to rectify the situation by taking me to one of the restaurants there called A Petisqueria.

Old Taipa Village is right across from Galaxy Macau and up until July 1 this year, there was a dedicated shuttle bus taking visitors there. Currently there's road construction on in front of the casino complex, but it's basically just across the street.

The famous codfish cakes that were absolutely divine
I visit Macau on average once every other month and it's to check out the latest happenings in the casino complexes, so I don't have much of an opportunity to see the real Macau.

Some 20 years ago I remember the quiet alleys (compared to now) and most of the tourists were other people from Hong Kong getting a bit of rest and relaxation on the weekend.

Nowadays it's choc a block pretty much everyday with mainlanders still coming to try their luck at the casino tables.

But back to A Petisqueria...

It's on the corner of Rua de S. Joao and Rua das Virtudes, and once you walk inside you're greeted by the head of a deer with giant antlers on the wall flanked by hanging garlic and then an archway decorated with fake grapes leading to the main dining area, that like Fernando's, has red-and-white checkered tablecloths and wooden chairs.

A light and refreshing octopus salad makes a great starter
Locals like to come here, particularly those of Portuguese descent and so I was looking forward to a memorable meal.

For starters, the octopus salad is very refreshing, chunks of octopus marinated with diced onions, parsley and lots of olive oil garnished with olives.

Another favourite -- and the highlight of the meal -- were the bacalhau, or fried codfish cakes. They were unexpectedly so light and fluffy inside it was a pleasant surprise. It was definitely fresh codfish that made this dish exceptional.

We also ordered stir-fried clams with garlic and white wine sauce with a few chilli flakes for good measure. The clams were plump and sweet and our only complaint was there wasn't enough sauce to mop up with warm bread.

Finally, the Spanish paella came in a large wok-like platter, filled with saffron-flavoured rice, prawns, crab and squid.

The hearty Spanish paella with seafood and olives
This rice had lots of flavour and the two of us managed to finish most of it!

It's also nice drinking the Portuguese beverage Sumol -- fruit-flavoured sodas. I had the passion fruit one and it hit the spot.

We love the lack of pretension in this place and the heartiness of the dishes. Meanwhile service is friendly and brisk.

I'm still thinking of those codfish cakes...

A Petisqueria
15 Rua de S. Joao
(853) 2882 5354


  1. Years ago, I used to go to O Manel but I don't like how built up Taipa has become, so avoid that area when I visit Macau.

    My favorite local restaurant in Macau is A Lorcha -- on the Macau Peninsula near the A Ma Temple. If it's full, you can head to the similar O Porto Interior or slightly more upscale Restaurante Litoral a few doors away.

    I've long wanted to try the Clube Militar but was told that it's reservations only. Is that the case?

    1. Hi YTSL -- I have been to A Lorcha eons ago and O Porto. Another friend of mine who works in Macau loves Antonio's so another place to check out!

      Again Clube Militar I went to many years ago for lunch and it was quiet and walked in. I don't think you need reservations unless it's a weekend...

  2. Thanks for a mouth-watering report! It's so nice to know that the traditional family-owned restaurants, with something special and unique to offer can still survive in Macau, unlike in HK, where a handful of big landlords have virtually crushed all the wonderful old time restaurants out of existence. Will check out A Petisqueria on my next visit as it is now hard to find a good traditional paella anywhere these days!

    1. HI Anonymous -- thanks for the reply! There are many of these restaurants in Macau -- you just need to know where to find them. If I hear of another one will blog about it here!