Macau: Portuguese Café Serves Authentic Dishes at Reasonable Prices

Hidden Treasure

As Michael Taylor revists Macau, the city he once called home, he discovers yet another Hidden Treasure. This time it is an unpretentious little eatery serving simple dishes reminiscent of the types of places he frequented during his summer in Portugal a few years earlier.

As I was wandering about Macau looking for an inexpensive spot for a light dinner one evening last week, I was surprised at how many of the old haunts I used to frequent either were no longer there – or had become obscenely expensive.

Has that once sleepy little backwater really gone that far upmarket?

In the end, I found a charming little Portuguese café that used to be popular with expatriates from Portugal. Apparently it still is.

Pictured: Bifana no pao, a Portuguese style pork steak sandwich with homemade bread. I became addicted to these sandwiches during my three month stay in Portugal a few years back. This shot was not taken at the restaurant I’m reviewing, but it gives you an idea of what to expect. The bread at Caravela was flatter – and very, very tasty. Photo Credit: Saiba via Wikimedia Commons.

Caravela – Throwback to Another Era

Caravela has set lunches, which include soup, a main course, and dessert, but by the time I got there, the sets were sold out. The menu is limited. I settled on a Bifana No Pao, or pork steak on bread.

It has been years since I savoured one of these yummy sandwiches, and it never fails to amaze just how much flavour they pack.

After bringing me my aromatic sandwich, the waitress asked me in Portuguese if I wanted some “salsa” – at least that is what I think she said. When I said, ”Sim!” she walked back to the counter, returning with Hunts Ketchup and French’s Mustard.

This was not what I was expecting, but I thought, “What the heck,” and put some mustard – but not any ketchup – in my sandwich.

To my surprise, it tasted better than I was expecting. The small dab of mustard added just the right amount of kick.

How Much: a Bifana no Pao was 38 patacas, and a Copo de Vinho, or glass of wine, was 25 patacas for a grand total of 63 patacas. Where: Patio Commandante Mata e Oliveira no. 7, Macau, (this is a small alley one block northeast of the intersection Avenida do Infante D. Henrique and Avenida de D. João IV). Telephone: (853) 2871 3080.

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