I hadn’t really heard of Macau until about a year ago when my hubbie recounted a tale of his gambling winnings (albeit losing the same amount on the same evening!).
Macau is a former Portuguese colony located in the South China Sea, known for it’s opulent hotels, restaurants but, moreover for it’s gambling . It resembles Las Vegas but without “The Strip”. With a journey of approximately one hour by ferry from Hong Kong, it is a popular destination for the “Hong Kongese” and Chinese to while away the hours spending their hard earned dollars. And boy, oh boy do these people know how to spend! The main differences I observed between Las Vegas and Macau on the gaming floor, are the amounts with which the players gamble and their preference of tea over alcohol.
About 4 years ago, we had stayed at The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas and were curious to see if The Venetian in Macau had the same offering. Conclusion? It does, but with a larger presence and a rooftop golf course.
Macau is blessed with an array of fine dining restaurants and we were perplexed as to which one we would choose. I had read about Canton in the Venetian hotel. Asia Tatler Dining had hailed the restaurant one of “The Best Chinese Restaurants in Coati” so we were keen to see if it lived up to it’s reputation.
Right away, we were impressed by the beautiful decor which welcomes you as you enter the restaurant. Red is considered a very lucky colour in the Chinese culture. It signifies integrity and wards off misfortune and evil spirits. Consequently, red is used generously throughout the restaurant.
As you may imagine, Canton, specialises in Cantonese cuisine and the chef Mak Wai Ming has received many accolades from far and wide.
With our appetites being saitiated, we asked for the bill and while waiting we were served a complimentary dessert, which I thought was a really nice gesture. It was little square cakes layered with mango and and served with a passion fruit and mango coulis. I thought the coulis was really refreshing but the cake for my western palate tasted a bit too floury.
We were so impressed with the quality of food, we decided to treat ourselves 16 hours later for lunch! How greedy is that?
This time, we thought it would be appropriate to try their Signature Dumplings (Dim Sum) so we settled on Prawn Dumplings and Mushroom with Cabbage Dumplings.
We were really impressed with the presentation of the Dumplings. They are beautifully presented and generous in portion sizes. The prawns contained within the dumplings were of superior quality. Cooked to perfection. I would, however have liked another element in the dumpling to compliment the prawn. I thought the mushroom and cabbage dumplings were better for exactly this reason.
I love spicy food and my other half likes dishes containing nuts (cashew, almond, pine nuts, hazelnuts etc). We had been recommended the Poached Chicken dish in Sichuan Chill Oil and Peanut Sauce as this was a favourite for a lot of Chinese visitors there. The dish is served at a lukewarm temperature. I had to get my head round two things; eating poached chicken (as opposed to roast) which is very popular in Asia and eating food at a mild temperature. While I was fine eating poached chicken, my mind was working overtime with the lack of heat coming from the chicken and I had to ask for it to be sent back to be re-heated. Sad but very true! On eating it for the second time, I found the taste more pleasing. Despite several warnings that it was going to be very spicy, I found the piquancy just right and the peanuts added a crunchy dimension to the dish. I thought the dish was worth trying but should note that like a lot of Chinese dishes, it was a very oily dish as shown in the photo above.
We tried the fabulous Wasabi Prawns again and opted for another dish in the form of Stir- fried Diced Pork Loin with Chilli and Baby Leek.
The pork was deliciously tender and delivered a sweet taste to the palate accompanied by the caramelised leeks.
The lunch was served with a very floral Jasmine Tea which refreshed the palate after every dish. The service was very attentive and engaging. After tasting the food here, I expect the next Cantonese restaurant we visit will have a lot to to live up to and if we go back to Macau again, we will almost certainly visit this restaurant.
It was a short visit and we would have loved to have taken in a show, unfortunately, they were sold out for the day we arrived. We did however enjoy the main sights of Macau including the Dragon appearing at The Wynn Hotel. As you may or may not know 2012 is The Year of The Dragon which represents prosperity, strength and power.
If you happen to visit Macau, do make a reservation at Canton, it is certainly worth a detour. I would love to discover more Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau so feel free to share your good foodie experiences with me. I’m looking forward to discovering more about this fabulous cuisine!