Fifteen years after its return to Chinese administration, Macau continues to be dotted with restaurants serving Portuguese cuisine. Will an eatery off the beaten tourism track satisfy a former resident of the city?
Miramar Portuguese Food is a popular restaurant in Macau that serves Portuguese cuisine muito tipica, or very authentic. Located a 5 minutes walk from the Grand Coloane Resort, where Michael Taylor is hosted for 3 nights, it brings back fond memories, or saudades, of the city he called home 25 years earlier.
Dining and having lunch at the Miramar Portuguese Restaurant in Macau is like taking a walk down Memory Lane.
The menu is full of all those Portuguese dishes I used to eat when I lived in Macau for 3 years 25 years ago - and during my 3 month stay in Portugal 7 years ago.
For dinner and lunch I start with Caldo Verde, or Green Soup, which is as popular at Portuguese restaurants in Macau as Russian Borsch is at Western restaurants in Hong Kong.
Caldo Verde is made from potatoes, shredded kale, and salt. Chorico, or Portuguese sausage, is added at the last minute - never cooked in the soup.
Those in the know drizzle olive oil on top. Olive oil is always on the table at Portuguese restaurants.
Originating in Minho province in Northern Portugal, Caldo Verde was originally served at celebrations such as Christmas, weddings, birthdays, and festivals. It now served at lunch and dinner throughout the year.
I haven't had Caldo Verde in ages, since I haven't to Macau in ages, but this seems like one of the best versions I've ever tasted.
Bacalhau com Natas
My main course at dinner is Bacalhau com Natas, or Dried Codfish with Cream, an oven-baked dish that consists of layers of codfish, onions, sliced potatoes, and cream.
Bacalhau com Natas reminds me of my mother's yummy Scalloped Potatoes, one of my favourite dishes as a child.
Interestingly, you would never know that the dish contains fish. I order it for 2 reasons: to relive my days in Macau, and to relive my mother's cooking.
The dish at Miramar is rich and creamy, and the first few mouthfuls are mouth-wateringly delicious. It proves so rich, in fact, that I have difficulty finishing it. This dish would be best shared with others, one of several different dishes.
Better to come to this restaurant with friends or family and order this dish with other dishes - especially some of the grilled meats and fish - for a shared, family style meal.
My main course for lunch the following day is Bitoque, a piece of grilled beef that has been marinated and put through a tenderizer. It is served with a fried egg, French fries, white rice, and a small salad.
Unlike the Bacalhau com Natas, which should be shared, bitoque makes a perfect meal for a solo diner.
I've had the dish countless times, and it never disappoints. What does disappoint - in Portugal, at least - are the salads accompanying the dish, which usually consist of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and onions - with white wine vinegar and olive oil for dressing.
When I was in Portugal, I noticed that few local diners touched the salad, which seemed almost like parsley, something to add colour but not to be eaten.
This salad at MIramar, however, is quite nice. In addition to the lettuce, tomatoes, and onions are shredded carrots and a few slices of cucumber. And the dressing has a bit more flavour than what I endured in Portugal.
The Portuguese have a sweet tooth, and Portuguese restaurants often put their desserts, which are known as doces, or sweets, in a refrigerated display case so that diners can check them out before placing their order.
Miramar is no exception. There is chocolate mousse, which the Portuguese are past-masters at, and Serradura, or layers of crushed cookies and nuts alternating with layers of a creamy mixture of whipped cream condensed milk, and vanilla essence.
As well as several other calorific indulgences . . .
I am already stuffed to the gills. So I forgo dessert.
Miramar Portuguese Food, Zona Norte de Praia de Hac Sa (to the north of the Black Sand Beach), near the Grand Coloane Resort, Coloane, Macau. Telephone: (853) 2888-2623. Restaurant Website: Miramar
Miramar Portuguese food is located just a short walk from the Grand Coloane Resort overlooking Hac Sa Beach, a.k.a. Black Sand Beach, on Coloane.
Have you ever been to Macau? Can you recommend a good Portuguese restaurant? Which dishes would you suggest to diners not familiar with Portuguese food?
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