Wednesday, October 12, 2011


This is a story about how a young woman from New York turned a dream and $50 Hong Kong Dollars into a delicious Mortons Steakhouse dinner for two.

There I stood at the roulette table, two $25 HKD ($3 USD) chips in hand.  One I placed firmly on 26, Popsy's lucky number.  The other I slid onto 17, Dave's birthday.  "Put it on 18," Dave urged, "that's our anny."  But I refused.  I knew what I was doing here.  17 and 26 it was.  The dealer spun the wheel and the ball went round and round and as it slowed and eventually stopped I saw the pitboss' mouth fall open and his fists pump into the air.  I had won!  I gathered up my chips and speedwalked them across the casino floor and straight into Mortons, where we capped off our MET (Macau Eating Tour, more on this later) with a sirloin, hash browns and creamed spinach flown in from America. 
Macau, a special administrative region of the PRC, is known today mainly as the Sin City of the East.  A quick ferry ride from Hong Kong brought us straight into the heart of glittering casinos, fancy restaurants and high-end shopping malls.  The casinos are supersized versions of those in Las Vegas.
The Venetian Macau is the sixth-largest building in the world and the largest casino in the world.
Ever seen an Asian, opera-singing gondolier before?
But Macau isn't just about gambling and shopping.  A Portuguese colony from the 16th century until 1999, Macau has a rich history, interesting architecture and unique cuisine that reflects its mishmash of Chinese and Portuguese influences. 
The main square in Old Macau

The gorgeous tiles continue through narrow, winding streets

A blend of old and new
The crappy weather didn't deter the shoppers and tourists
Cute little shops line the streets
The ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral.
Built by Jesuits in the late 16th century, only the facade remains today.

The ruins up close
The Macau Eating Tour wasn't quite the whirlwind that was the Hong Kong Eating Tour, but we stuffed our faces with the best Macanese cuisine we could find.  Our dinners at Fernandos and Gallos skewed towards Portuguese flavors and preparations.
Fernandos' roast chicken
Fernandos' drunken steak
Gallos' african chicken
Gallos' olives
These meals were good (we preferred Fernandos) but nothing too special.  However, Macau food was 110% redeemed by the deliciousness of Portuguese egg tarts.  With a flaky, buttery crust and a rich custard filling, these puppies were something special.  Of course, a tart-off was in order.
Lord Stow's Portuguese egg tarts are the most famous and the big winner of the tart-off.
There are a few locations in Macau, including one conveniently located in the Venetian.
Check out that caramelized crust.  Oh my.
Rich custard filling.
Egg tarts from Maxim's (in Old Macau).
Dave said that these were sweeter than Lord Stowe's but also delicious.
No caramelized crust, so I decided not to waste my time and calories here.
Let's take a quick break to check out some Macau food that I would not rush to recommend.
Meat Floss Bread.
Meat paper.
I don't know what this is, but we saw ads for it everywhere.
The spokeswoman.  I have no words.
I'll just come out and say it: We found perhaps the most delicious dumplings I've ever had.  These guys were so good that we ate some right there at the stand (in the rain), then we bought more and ate them in McDonalds, and then we went back for thirds.
It's an unassuming little take-away joint on a tiny street
A happy camper (an extremely happy camper)

To-die-for dumplings, fantastic egg tarts, and a free Morton's dinner.  I'd say that the MET was a resounding success.

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