Creative City of Gastronomy
A total of 65 Macau eateries have been included in the 2018 edition of the Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau. Two restaurants got three Michelin stars, five got two Michelin stars, and 11 got one Michelin star. Did any Portuguese eateries make the grade?
Much to disappointment of food writers, there was little movement of Macau’s restaurants in this year’s edition of the Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau, which didn’t leave much for them to write about.
Somehow “predictable” isn’t nearly as exciting as “controversial” so let me create a controversy of my own.
Why after 10 years of publishing an eating out guide to Hong Kong and Macau did Michelin decide to hold the press conference announcing the winners in a former Portuguese colony if no Portuguese representatives were going to receive a Michelin star?
Same Same, and NOT Very Different
With apologies to those street vendors selling T-shirts in the streets of Thailand that read “Same Same” on the front and “… but different!” on the back, this year’s Michelin guide is “same same, and NOT very different”!
Both of Macau’s three-star restaurants retained their three-star status. And all five of the former Portuguese enclave’s two-star eateries retained their two-star status. Eleven restaurants were awarded one-star status.
Were any of them newbies by any chance?
This year’s list includes nine eateries in the Bib Gourmand category, which is awarded to restaurants offering quality three-course set menus for HK$400 or less.
And Portuguese food fans will be happy to learn that Castico (65B Rua Direita Carlos Eugeio, Taipa, Macau; Tel: +853 2857 6505), an unpretentious little eatery serving traditional Macanese dishes in Taipa Village, DID make the Bib Gourmand list.
Michelin has long been accused of showing a preference for restaurants serving French or French-influenced cuisine, which shouldn’t come as a total surprise since it IS, after all, a French-based company!
In the case of Macau, however, the 2018 Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau gives stars to a total of 18 restaurants, and only two of them are French, putting Gallic eateries in the same league as Japanese restaurants and what I’m going to call “other Chinese” restaurants.
Eight Great Cuisines of China
The world’s most populous country has what I call the Eight Great Cuisines of China, and Cantonese Cuisine (粤菜) is usually (but not always) considered to top the list.
Since Macau is located in Southern China, which is home to Cantonese Cuisine, it is no surprise that Cantonese restaurants account for nine – or half – of the restaurants getting one or more Michelin stars.
Restaurants focusing on “Other Chinese” – which would includes the cuisines of Anhui (徽菜), Fujian (闽菜), Hunan (湘菜), Jiangxi (徽菜), Shangdong (魯菜), Sichuan (川菜), and Zhejiang (浙菜）provinces – account for only two of the eateries.
And if you’re wondering about Pekingese or Shanghainese cuisine, well, Chinese foodies don’t consider them to be “great” cuisines.
Every province (and city and town) has its own distinct cooking style, and the cooking styles of the nation’s capital and its largest city are considered to be only two cooking styles among many.
Which does NOT mean they aren’t yummy! But they would be considered to be more like “street food” or “comfort food” than great cuisines.
So where does that leave Peking duck? Sometimes thought of as China’s “national dish”, Peking duck actually originated in nearby Shandong province.
At least that is what a government official of Shandong province told me during a press trip to the provincial capital a few years back.
He said that the province had formerly been impoverished so many of its chefs moved to Beijing to open restaurants serving Shandong style roast duck.
The mouth-watering dish proved highly popular and came to be known as “Peking Duck”, Peking being the traditional way of translating Beijing into English.
I have been challenged on this point, however. At least one Chinese foodie told me in no uncertain terms that Peking duck had its origins in Beijing, being served in the Imperial Palace to Chinese emperors.
I have tried googling this, and Wikipedia backs up the Chinese foodie’s claim, but I prefer the story told to me by the government official in Shandong.
Most of the dishes associated with Shanghai, meanwhile, originated in nearby Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces.
They are sometimes collectively referred to as Huaiyang Cuisine, which is usually translated into English as “Shanghainese food”.
The reason is fairly obvious: Shanghai is a world-famous city, and neither Suzhou nor Hangzhou – China’s legendary “heavenly twins” – are well known outside the country. So why not call it something that people not familiar with Chinese geography can relate to?
That leaves three more restaurants with Michelin stars: one was Italian, one was Indian, and one was a steakhouse. I’ve included links to the websites in case you want more information.
Three Michelin Stars
Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey. Restaurants are listed in alphabetical order.
- The Eight – Cantonese Cuisine – Grand Lisboa Hotel, 2nd Floor, Avenida de Lisboa, Macau. Tel: +853 8803-7788.
- Robuchon au Dôme – French Cuisine- Grand Lisboa Hotel, 43rd Floor, Avenida de Lisboa, Macau.Tel: +853 8803-7878.
Two Michelin Stars
Excellent cuisine, worth a detour. Restaurants are listed in alphabetical order.
- Feng Wei Ju – Sichuanese and Hunanase Cuisine – Starwood Hotel, Avenida da Amizade, Macau. Tel: +853 8290-8668.
- Golden Flower – Northern Chinese Cuisine – Wynn Macau, Ground Floor, Rua Cidade de Sintra, NAPE, Porto Exterior, Alameda Doutor Carlos d’Assumpção, Macau. Tel: +853 8986-3663.
- Jade Dragon – Cantonese Cuisine – The Shops at The Boulevard, Cotai Strip, Macau. Tel: +853 8868-2822.
- Mizumi – Japanese Cuisine – Wynn Macau, Ground Floor, Rua Cidade de Sintra, NAPE, Porto Exterior, Alameda Doutor Carlos d’Assumpção, Macau. Tel: +853 8986-3663.
- The Tasting Room – French Cuisine – City of Dreams, Level 3, Crown Towers Estrada do Istmo, Cotai, Macau. Tel: +853 8868-6681.
One Michelin Star
High-quality cooking, worth a stop. Restaurants are listed in alphabetical order.
- 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana – Italian Cuisine – Galaxy Macau, First Floor, Cotai, Macau. Tel: +853 8886-2169.
- King – Cantonese Cuisine – AIA Tower, Ground Floor, 251A Avenida Comercial de Macau, Macau. Tel: +853 2875-7218.
- Lai Heen – Cantonese Cuisine – Ritz-Carlton, Macau, 51st Floor, Cotai, Macau. Tel: +853 8886-6712.
- Pearl Dragon – Cantonese Cuisine – Studio City Macau, Estrada Flora de Lotus, Cotai, Macau. Tel: 853 8865-6560.
- Shinji by Kanesaka – Japanese Cuisine – Crown Towers, Level One, Macau. Tel: +852 8868-7300.
- The Golden Peacock – Indian Cuisine – The Venetian Macao, Shop 1037,, Cotai, Macau. Tel: +853 8118-9696.
- The Kitchen – Steakhouse – Grand Lisboa Hotel, 3rd Floor, Avendia de Lisboa, Macau. Tel: +853 8803-7777.
- Tim’s Kitchen – Cantonese Cuisine – Grand Lisboa Hotel, Lobby Level, East Wing, Avenida de Lisboa, Macau. Tel: +853 8803-3682.
- Wing Lei – Cantonese Cuisine – Wynn Macau, Ground Floor, Rua Cidade de Sintra, NAPE, Porto Exterior, Alameda Doutor Carlos d’Assumpção, Macau. Tel: +853 8986-3663.
- Ying – Cantonese Cuisine – Altira Hotel, Level 11, Avenida de Kwong Tung, Taipa, Macau. Tel: +853 2886-8866.
- Zi Yat Heen – Cantonese Cuisine – Four Seasons Hotel Macao, Cotai Strip, Estrada d Baia de Nossa Senhora de Esperanca, Taipa, Macau. Tel: +853 2881-8888.
Click here to buy the book: Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau
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