On the evening of 18 December 2012, well over 1,000 friends and relatives – and a few hangers ons – of two of Macau’s most socially prominent families gathered in the Convention and Exhibition Centre at Macau Fisherman’s Wharf to celebrate the wedding of Debra Chow, daughter of Mr and Mrs David Chow, and Adrian Pinto-Marques, son of Mr and Mrs Adriano Pinto-Marques, which had taken place earlier in the day at St Dominic’s Church (for more on the wedding, see: Macau: Debra Chow and Adrian Pinto-Marques Tie the Knot).
The guest list read like a Who’s Who of Macanese society. Even Macau’s Chief Executive, Fernando Chui, and his lovely wife were in attendance. There were also guests from Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Hong Kong, and the United States.
The evening started with cocktails in the foyer. A sit down Chinese banquet followed in the massive hall, which had been extravagantly decorated in purples and pinks for the festive occasion. There was that undeniable layer of Las Vegas style razzmatazz.
You could feel the excitement the moment you entered the room.
There were Canto Pop stars, a string quarter, a dancing duo from Russia, and a lovely video recounting the lives of Debra and Adrian, how they met, and clips from the wedding ceremony that had taken place a few hours earlier.
The sound track was by Elton John.
As the gala event drew to a close, Hong Kong 1980s pop diva Frances Yip made a cameo appearance, singing her signature piece, “Shanghai Tan”.
This was my personal highlight of the evening. I’ve always been one of her biggest fans (at least one of her biggest non-Chinese fans), and that has always been one of my favourite Chinese songs.
I can’t believe I got to hear Frances sing that song live. I can’t believe I actually got within two feet of her when she was singing. And I actually sang along a few bars with her…
But what I TOTALLY can’t believe is that I didn’t have the nerve to have my picture taken with her as she was singing – as a few of the other guests did. I’ve been kicking myself ever since!!!
Dancing With a Dancing Waitress
“Mike, why didn’t you join them in that photo shoot?” my good friend, Sarah Feather, whom I had asked to accompany me and take pictures, said to me moments later.
“Didn’t you see the photographer waving at you to join them? He wanted you to be in the picture!”
“He did?” I said dumbly …
I guess I was too star struck … too overcome with emotion … too excited … and now I don’t have a picture, but I do have a memory.
But all was not lost. A song came on that I liked, and I stood up and started dancing.
A charming young waitress came up and danced with me as she carried a tray of dirty dishes. Another waitress – who had been keeping our wine glasses full – looked on approvingly.
Chinese wedding banquets can be much of a muchness, with menus that can be downright formulaic.
It was a welcome surprise, therefore, to peruse the menu as we waited for the first course to arrive and discover that not very many of those tired old dishes were on it!
It looked rather innovative! Would it live up to our expecations?
So here’s what was in store for us, with comments …
- Barbecued Honey Glazed Suckling Pig – cooked to perfection, yummy, tender, and not too salty.
- Sautéed Prawn and Scallop with XO Sauce in a Pastry Basket – OMG! The scallop was the BEST scallop I’ve ever had in my entire life! The prawn was delectable, and the pastry – which looked like a paper cupcake holder – was impossibly thin and crispy.
- Double Boiled Shark’s Fin Soup with Chicken and Sea Whelk – I can’t say for sure, but I believe this was ethical shark’s fin soup; in other words, I don’t believe there was any sharkfin in it. I’ve been told that the flavour is all in the stock – shark’s fin itself doesn’t have any flavour, and the flavour in this version was definitely there – minus the texture.
- Braised Wild Tasmanian Black Lip Abalone with Broccoli – mouth-wateringly delicious (see below).
- Steamed Fillet of Coral Trout in Light Soy Sauce – I’m not a big fan of fish, but this fish was delicious. Best of all, there were no fish bones (I hate fish bones)!
- Portuguese Style Slow Cooked Wagyu Beef with Paprika and Shallots Potato – I’m not sure what was Portuguese about this, but it was tender and juicy.
- Fried Rice with Seafood Wrapped in Aromatic Lotus Leaf – I love rice stuffed in lotus leaves, and this version did not disappoint!
- Shrimp Dumplings in Supreme Soup and Green Chives – the broth was heavenly, the skins were thin, and the filling was sublime.
- Double Boiled Hasma with Red Date and Lotus Seed – not sure what hasma is. Judging from the Chinese character on the bilingual menu, it was something that came in a shell. Whatever it was, it was delicious!
- A medley of Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese Petite Fours – can’t comment on this course. I didn’t have room
- Fresh Fruit Platter – ditto. I think I was dancing when this course arrived.
Anyone for Abalone?
After dinner was over, I comented to one of the hosts on on how yummy that abalone course was. Next thing I knew, I was being introduced to the distribtutor.
And I asked, “Just curious, but how much would one serving of that go for?”
“One hundred US dollars,” he said
“OMG!” I thought. “I only ate US$50’s worth!!!”
Brenda Chow and Adrian Pinto-Marques got married earlier in the day at St Dominic’s Church (see: Macau: Debra Chow and Adrian Pinto-Marques Tie the Knot).