April 24, 2016

Macau Michelin tour 2016: breakfast and sights

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In case anyone gets the wrong idea, it wasn't all fine dining on this weekend trip.  We did get a chance to hit some breakfast spots and also walked around a little - seeing a little bit of Macau that people who only spend time in hotels and casinos don't get exposure to.

We got up pretty early the first morning and headed to Mercado Municipal Horta da Mitra (雀仔園街市) for some breakfast.  The grandma who runs Lung Kei (隆記) had just arrived and hadn't set up her stall for the day, so we asked her to save us some bread and went in search of coffee.

Café T.H.S Honolulu (檀香山咖啡) has a branch just around the corner.  For a modest-looking, local coffee shop, I was surprised to see these guys with almost 30 different single origin coffees... so I's got to order me one!

The Arabica Ethiopian Sidamo was pretty nice.  I could smell it as soon as the cup was brought to the table.

After finishing our coffees, we went back to Lung Kei.  Grandma's now got her charcoal stove going, so we asked her to grill up some toast and sandwiches for us.

Toasting over charcoal really does give a more intense flavor... not to mention that our hair smelled like charcoal for hours afterwards.

We got some peanut butter and condensed milk on toast (奶醬多) and also on piggy buns (豬仔包).

There were also spicy sardine piggy buns (辣魚包), which had a little butter spread on the bun.  The canned sardines were a little spicy, which made this even more delicious.

With our craving satiated, we decided to walk around a little.  Our first stop was Santa Casa da Misericordia Albergue (仁慈堂婆仔屋) - a former old ladies' home which has been transformed into an art space.

The historical buildings with their yellow exteriors are over a hundred years old, as are the two camphor trees in the courtyard.  Since it was still early on a Saturday morning and nothing was open at this hour - neither the gourmet shop nor the restaurant - the place seemed really serene.

Walking along Rua do Campo towards the Exploding Pineapple Grand Lisboa, we come across the Bibloteca Publica da Associaçao Commercial de Macau (澳門中華總商會附設閱書報室).  The cute little two-storey, octagonal structure has got to be the tiniest library I have ever come across, and this time we decided to go in to take a look.

We even climbed the steep stairs to the upper level, and while many other uncles were leisurely reading their newspapers, I found a section of books on Chinese and Taiwanese political figures, and decided to browse through one of them...

After a long and delicious lunch, we met up with the Fergies after their arrival, and made our way to Studio City.  Among the attractions within this complex were two rides that I wanted to check out, and as it happens there was a promotion where both tickets could be purchased at 40% off face value.  What a great deal!

The first ride we took was on the Golden Reel - the ferris wheel in the middle of the building in the shape of the number 8.  The weather was poor, the sky was gray, and what was in immediately in front of us turned out to be an empty plot of land earmarked for the next hotel project... but I still wanted to ride it just for the novelty factor.

The second ride was Batman Dark Ride, which was billed as a "4D experience".  I didn't have any expectations before going on the ride, and it was a little slow in the beginning, but I thought it was really well done and totally enjoyed it by the end.  The only issue was that I got a little dizzy towards the end, and my stomach got a little queasy.  Thankfully this didn't affect my appetite for dinner.

We woke up a little later on the second morning, as the Fergies some people demanded to sleep in a little.  I took our gang to Casa de Cha Lung Wa (龍華茶樓), which I visited for the first time two years ago.  The dim sum here might be old school and not as refined as the lunch we would soon be having, but I just love the nostalgic feel of the place.

With the ladies seated comfortably and a pot of Puer tea (普洱茶) going, it was up to Fergie and I to go and grab the food that was placed on steamers in the middle of the restaurant.  Everything is DIY here.  And even though another dim sum lunch awaits us in about 2 hours, we still managed to put away a good amount of food...

Curry flavored honeycomb tripe (咖喱金錢肚) - love this.

Steamed pork ribs with black beans (豆豉蒸排骨)

Steamed beef meatballs (山竹牛肉) - these are always a little pink inside, but today they seemed a little more red than usual.

Steamed dace fish balls (蒸鯪魚球) - thankfully not too many of those bone bits that I hate.

Stuffed eggplant (釀茄子) - eggplant pieces were butterflied and stuffed with a piece of fish paste.

Steamed glutinous rice ball (蒸糯米球) - basically the same as the steamed glutinous rice they have on the side, but made into balls and wrapped with siu mai (燒賣) skin.

Steamed siu mai (切肉燒賣) - very old school.

Stuffed tofu (釀豆腐) - very delish.

Chicken feet (鳳爪)

Steamed sponge cake (蒸馬拉糕)

We needed to walk a little after our breakfast, and after a long walk through the parts of Macau without any tourist footprints followed by a short taxi ride, we ended up back in the middle of town for a shopping stop.

The Great One wanted to hit Lojas das Conservas Macau and do some canned sardines shopping.   Our eyes opened wide and our jaws dropped when we arrived.  The selection here was just a little bewildering for novices like us, and we spent a good amount of time going through the different selections - with sardine, mackerel, tuna, eel, and even corvina in all different flavors.  Some people spent a pretty penny here today...

After happily filling our shopping bags, we headed off to an eagerly-awaited (at least by me!) dim sum lunch...

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