QY and I spent an evening and a day in Macau (okay, so effectively a day lah.) QY’s sister, Felicia, and her husband Nestor were nice enough to house us and suggest things to do. Just a heads up, because I was rather confused: Macau is kinda made up of 3 parts – Macau city, Coloane Island and Taipa Island. Which won’t really appear as islands when you’re there cos they’re all really close to each other and linked by expressways.
So here’s our top 5 things to do –
The great thing is, the top casinos are all free to enter (unlike Singapore…) and most of them offer free shuttle services to other casinos. We visited The Grand Lisboa, Wynn, Galaxy (the newest casino in Macau), the Venetian and MGM. And because we had no idea how to gamble, we just kept playing slots. So yeah. We played slots in all those casinos. Our biggest win was from MGM, where we managed to win HKD300 with HKD10! They are all unique, and you can tell (especially at Galaxy, Venetian and MGM) that their designers really had an eye for detail, and the investors really paid for extravagance. Each casino has a really different feel, and to take it all in in a day was far from boring.
Grand Lisboa – kinda old! Old crowd too.
Wynn // we were greeted by a fountain show! Really lush decor.
MGM: grand exterior // our loot // butterfly exhibition!
Venetian (my fave! so pretty!): exterior
2. Eat ALL the food
According to Fe and Ne:
The best egg tarts come from Lord Stow’s Bakery. Avoid the touristy branch at the Venetian and visit the café at Coloane instead. It’s kinda laid back, very quaint, located near a… water body? Seemed like a nice place to chill, but we didn’t have the time for that. Here’s the address:
They took also us to Hang Heung Un (杏香园) which is like their fave dessert place and it opens till 1am. Their entire menu is in mandarin though, so please go with someone who can speak. The quality of the desserts was really good – I’d say they beat the ones we had in Hong Kong hands down. They specialized in warm, creamy soupy stuff like walnut cream / almond cream / egg white… thing. Appreciated that they used good fruits as well. Unlike HK!! You can mix and match any ingredients too… really enjoyed their coconut+egg white+water chestnut. (Fe’s recommendation!)
3. The Ruins of St Paul – probably Macau’s most famous tourist attraction
The cathedral used to be one of Asia’s largest in the 1600s. It slowly lost money and funding after Macau came second to Hong Kong, and eventually got destroyed by a fire and typhoon. For a famous landmark, I expected it to be … larger? And to have better exhibits? It was pretty, nonetheless. We walked from the Senado Square. A very pleasant walk down cobblestone lanes, albeit flanked by international labels and touristy stuff.
Walking around Senado Square
Try the curry in Macau – it’s sort of like loklok / yong tau foo, just that the items are drenched in curry. There’s a spicy and non-spicy version, they have many stalls between the square and the ruins.
You can also try the Pork Chop Buns, we thought they were just okay.
We also picked up some biscuits freshly made by an uncle with a makeshift stall. I know, we eat a lot. But…yums.
4. Rua do Cunha: Have a portuguese meal, with some portuguese dessert after
We had dinner at O Santos. Food was awesome! The best dish of the night was this: Bifinhos C/Natas à Santos C/Arroz Branco (白汁磨菇牛扒飯) – ok I blatantly copied it off their site menu because I only remember it as beef in creamy sauce. You mix it all up with the fries and the rice (I know, but yeah, tastes great that way) and eat. nomnomnom so yummy!!!
What we had: clams, beef… in creamy sauce, sausages, some rosti of some sort with fish, grilled chicken, rice, fries, sangriaaaa!!!
Then we had serradura pudding for dessert from a shop nearby, on the opposite side of Santos… I didn’t manage to get the name of it. Serradura, also known as saw-dust pudding is made of a really light cream that’s layered with biscuits that have been smashed into a really fine dust. It’s really light and pleasant! After googling I also realize it’s pretty easy to make. Will try one day!
Watch as they make walnut biscuits / phoenix rolls.
5. Take photos at Old Taipa
Very pretty! With old cobblestone streets and colonial looking houses painted in soft pastels. We got to a point that faced a skyline of casinos and took in the view for a while. Only bad thing is that the body of water that separated us from the other side was like… a swamp. Complete with an abandoned fountain. hmph. #spoilmood. Didn’t really camwhore there because it was really dark. and we were really tired.
There’s something I missed out that I would’ve really loved to do: Panda-watch
Macau has a pair of pandas called Kai Kai and Xin Xin, gifted to them in celebration of their 10th year returning to the. It costs MOP10 to enter the Giant Panda Pavillion, and there are only certain timings when you can visit. Plus, it’s not guaranteed that the pandas won’t be sleeping when you visit. Otherwise, pandas are so cute lah. How can you not want to visit a pair called Kai Kai and Xin Xin??? Can’t wait for SG to get our own pandas!!
Image from panda-n-mee
PS i made a new friend in Macau, his name is PeaPEA!!!! (actually, it’s peanut.)