January 13, 2018

Girls' trip to Macau: a day without Michelin

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I'm spending the weekend in Macau, accompanying Hello Kitty on a "girls' weekend" that somehow turned into a "couple's weekend" for the two of us.  As I'm trying to get my ass back on a diet - and having already had way too many big meals just a week-and-a-half into the new year, I wanted to take it easy on the eating today.

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After getting off the ferry, we grabbed a taxi to our lunch spot - and got dropped off at the junction of Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro and Rua dos Mercadores - since the taxi driver didn't feel like turning into the side street.  This ended up working out fine for us, because we decided to go into Loja das Conservas to replenish our stock of canned seafood.  We also discovered that there's a new shop boss, and while I was busy spending money, Hello Kitty was busy petting her.

Lunch was at Loja Sopa da Fita Cheong Kei (祥記麵家), a local favorite. It's been a long time since my last visit, so I figured I'd get some of their signature plates in my belly...

Signature tossed noodles with shrimp roe (招牌蝦籽撈麵) - I remembered that they like to add soy sauce to tossed noodles here, but I had completely forgotten that in this shop, the flavors of the soy sauce pretty much overpowered the flavors from the shrimp roe they gave us... which was a real shame.  On the plus side, there's not much alkali flavor in the noodles themselves (and those would have been covered up by the soy sauce, too...) and the texture was reasonably soft and supple.

The portion today looked a little smaller than I had remembered, but that didn't bother me much today.

Deep-fried mud carp balls (酥炸鯪魚球) - I like the way they cover up the mud carp balls in Macau with little bits of rice vermicelli.  This makes them real crispy on the outside, and I also tend not to find too many bits of bone in the fish balls here.  Pretty good.  The "clam mustard (蜆芥)" was very, very heavy and salty, so I only needed a little dab of it.

On my way out I decided to grab a jar of their shrimp roe, which actually has lots of other stuff besides the shrimp roe itself.  Now, I know it's been 8 years or so since my last visit, but the price of this stuff has gone from MOP 80 or so to MOP 150.  Yikes!

I decided to walk along Rua da Felicidade after lunch, as the old houses lining the street are nice and quaint.  I'm not sure why I had never taken notice on my previous visits, so I took some time to stroll around and take some pictures.  It does have that old school, traditional charm which is sorely missing in our daily lives...

We checked into the Grand Lisboa Macau and I took a nap while Hello Kitty got herself pampered with a session at the Aromatherapy Associates spa.  Before we knew it, the time had come to go get ourselves some dinner.

Restaurante Carlos (加路餐廳) is a casual, family-style Macanese restaurant that Hello Kitty had been to before.  It's not too far from the hotel, so we took a slow walk there while staring wide-eyed at all the bright LED shop signs along Avenida Sir Anders Ljungstedt...

Bacalhau à brás - always one of my favorite dishes in Portuguese cuisine, so of course I had to order it.

The bacalhau came in larger chunks and not quite the shreds that I had hoped for, but the good news was that the deep-fried shreds of potatoes were pretty thin and crispy, and not at all soggy.  Mixing with stir-fried onions, spring onions, and eggs made for a delicious dish.

Hello Kitty suggested that I drizzle a few drops of the house chili oil on top, and damned if that didn't make the dish taste even better!

Leitão assado - we were told as soon as we were seated that the suckling pig had just finished roasting... which was perfect for us!  The bed of arroz chau chau underneath came with strips of chorizo and was OK, but then that's not exactly the point of the dish...

The suckling pig was indeed very, very tasty.  The thin and crispy skin, with a little layer of fat underneath.  The soft and tender meat, which prominent pork flavors along with that unmistakable milky taste that could have only come from an animal still suckling on it mother's teat.

Legumes salteadas com alho - we needed to balance our diet, and a plate of stir-fried vegetables with garlic always does the trick - especially when you've got cauliflower and cabbage.

Egg pudding - there was no way I'd leave here without having the caramel flan... which performed such a beautiful jiggle dance when I asked it to...  Delicious!

The food was delicious and we were totally satisfied, but the night was still young and we desperately needed to do some walking after our dinner, so we did some lèche-vitrines at One Central on our way to the Mandarin Oriental MacauVida Rica Bar is one of best places for a drink, not the least because of the fantastic views - as well as those multi-story "chandeliers".

M.O. Man Tai - OF COURSE I'll be the one ordering the girlie drinks!  This fruity drink with a punny name came with mango, pineapple, and lime - with a side of fresh mango to boot.  Not bad.

The Ruins of St. Paul - I was curious when I saw that the components of this drink included chamomile tea, lemongrass, lychee juice, cinnamon, seasame, lemon, and mint.  So when this whole contraption arrived... it was a little overwhelming.  All the ingredients came separately, and our waitress proceeded to put all of them into a cobbler shaker to finish the job.  Highly aromatic and elegant.  Definitely girlie.

This was a pretty relaxing day.  We figured it was probably a good idea to retire back to our room and get some rest.  There's a battle ahead of us tomorrow...

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