If you have never been to Macau, or Restaurante Litoral, I urge you to get on a plane or ferry this instant.
Macanese food is one of the best little-known cuisines I have come across. It dates back almost 500 years, from when the Portuguese settled on a little peninsula of fishing villages and married into local Chinese families. Over time, the Portuguese-Chinese fusion picked up influences from around Southeast Asia and other colonies in Africa, Goa, and Brazil. One of the best spots in Macau to taste real Macanese cooking is Restaurante Litoral, a beautiful two-storey restaurant on Rua do Almirante Sérgio.
The upstairs dining was enormous (the owners also took over the 2nd floor of the next building), but because of the slideable wooden doors, it still felt intimate. Litoral is a rare restaurant that can be popular with both locals and tourists; my companions were two British expats who have lived in Macau since the early 1980s, and claim this restaurant serves the best Macanese dishes.
Caldo verde (potato and kale soup, in top photo) is similar to the Portuguese original, but instead of kale the locals use the more abundant bok choy. Though like the Portuguese, we doused the tops of our soups with extra olive oil.
Restaurante Litoral also does an amazing tamarind pork. There is a sweet and sour element from the brown sugar and tamarind paste, but the salty shrimp paste and sliced chilies make make it extra pungent and unmistakably Macanese.
Minchi may as well be Macau's official comfort food. It consists of ground beef or pork sautéed with onions, bay leaf, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, and usually paired with crispy potatoes. Litoral adds a runny fried egg on top, giving the meat a delicious oozy sauce.
Another Macanese dish you need to try is curry crab. Usually restaurants will serve a whole crab in curry sauce, but Litoral does all the work of plucking out the crab meat. The bowl also comes with shrimp and quail eggs. The diner only needs to spoon as much as she wants onto her rice, which can be a problem if she loves crab and has little self-control. (Guilty as charged.)
Did I mention Restaurante Litoral, as per Macanese tradition, dishes everything in huge portions?
Restaurante Litoral 261A Rua do Almirante Sérgio Macau
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