A Trip to Macau and Canton Restaurant

by Jacqueline on March 16, 2012

Poached Chicken topped with Sichuan Chilli and Peanut Sauce

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.

The Venetian, Macau at Night

The Venetian, Macau at Night

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.

Canton Restaurant in The Venetian

Canton Restaurant in The Venetian

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.

Inside Canton Restaurant

As you may imagine, Canton, specialises in Cantonese cuisine and the chef Mak Wai Ming has received many accolades from far and wide.

While we dribbled over the menu, we were given an “amuse-bouche” of sweet pumpkin and celery served with a spicy chilli oil dip. Light and flavoursome, preparing our stomachs for the feast to follow.
Amuse Bouche Canton

Amuse Bouche Canton

The menu reveals so many mouth watering dishes, to settle on the right one was a challenge in itself . We decided to order the King Prawns coated in a light Wasabi dressing, the Signature Crispy Chicken, Beef marinated in a Sherry dressing wrapped around Asparagus Spears with steamed rice. The dishes did not disappoint.
Golden fried King Prawns coated in Wasabi Dressing

Golden fried King Prawns coated in Wasabi Dressing

The prawns were beautifully wrapped in a light tempura batter and dressed with a light coating of Wasabi; strong enough to taste the horseradish flavour but not strong enough to overpower the delicate flavour of the prawns. The prawns were served on a bed of iron-rich al dente broccoli florets.
The beef tasted as if it had been smoked in some way, very thin and oozing with a sherry dressing. A marriage made in heaven!
Beef marinated in Sherry with Asparagus Spears

Beef marinated in Sherry with Asparagus Spears

Next on the menu, was the Signature Crispy Chicken. A light covering of crispy skin, soon gave way to a tender and intensely flavoured bird.
Canton Signature Crispy Chicken

Canton Signature Crispy Chicken

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.

Complimentary Dessert - Mango layered cake

Complimentary Dessert - Mango layered cake

Mango and Passion Fruit Coulis

Mango and Passion Fruit Coulis

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.

Signature Dish - Prawn Dumplings

Signature Dish - Prawn Dumplings

Yunnan Mushroom and Cabbage Dumplings

Yunnan Mushroom and 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.

Stir-fried Diced Pork Loin with Chilli and Baby Leek

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.

The Year of The Dragon 2012, Wynn Hotel, Macau

The Year of The Dragon 2012, Wynn Hotel, Macau

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!

 

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sneige March 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm

The first time I ever heard about Macau and actually saw some pictures from it was through a Korean drama lol! The famous boys before Flowers (BBF) :D
Macau has a very unique look architecturally speaking I guess because of the portuguese heritage. Wondering if that influence is reflected in the cuisine.

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2 Jacqueline March 17, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Hi Sneige,
Thanks for your comment. I’ve never heard of that drama – is it famous? You are right there are a lot of restaurants in Macau with a Portuguese influence.
Sadly, as it was a flying visit we didn’t get a chance to try any but it doesn’t mean we won’t get a chance in the future. It’s so close to HK, it would be silly not to go back ;-)

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3 sneige April 27, 2012 at 8:30 pm

It was quite famous in 2009 but it’s more like teen story based on a Japanese graphic novel.

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4 Jacqueline April 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Good to know – thanks Sneige. I think we will need to try Portuguese cuisine the next time we visit Macau :-)

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5 Corina March 18, 2012 at 8:12 pm

The food looks amazing – especially that first dish of chicken with sichuan chilli and peanut sauce.

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6 Jacqueline March 18, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Thanks for your comment Corina. We loved this place. So glad we were lucky enough to include it in our trip!

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7 Nic March 21, 2012 at 11:36 pm

It all looks wonderful Jac, I feel like booking my ticket right now!

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8 Jacqueline March 22, 2012 at 2:18 am

Thanks Nic! Feel free to come and pay a visit ;-)

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9 Jess Jann April 27, 2012 at 2:33 am

YUMMY!!! looks great! :) never been to canton. now i want to try it!!

<3 Always, Jess

eatwithjess.blogspot.com

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10 Jacqueline April 27, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Hi Jess,
Thanks for comment. Yes, if you go to Macau, make sure you stop by Canton. You won’t regret it ;-)

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11 HK Epicurus April 29, 2012 at 7:58 am

Canton is totally under-rated!

The food is affordable and the quality was totally right up there with Michelin 2-3 star restaurants! Even their nearby Four Seasons 2 Stars Zi Yat Heen restaurant was not as impressive as here, despite that side also serving decent enough food.

I will go back to Canton everytime I am in Macau, it is seriously that good! Stuff the Michelin guy.
Actually the Dim Sum place across from here is also very good, forgot the name but I have been there at least 7-8 times. I love their food too!

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12 Jacqueline April 29, 2012 at 8:23 am

Hey! Thanks for your comment HK Epicurus. Thanks for the tip regarding the Dim Sum place – I wonder where it is though? Inside the Venetion or across the road at Hard Rock Hotel/Grand Hyatt. I’ll keep a look out for it the next time I’m there.

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