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Macau - Part 1 - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

A tiny speck in the South China Sea, just an hour by ferry west of Hong Kong, Macau never fails to charm visitors with its unexpected mix of Portuguese and Chinese cultures.

A Portuguese colony from the mid-16th century until 1999, when sovereignty was transferred to mainland China, Macau has seen an astonishing amount of development over the past 20 years. The city of about 625, 000 people has all but transformed, ushering in a nonstop stream of high profile hotels, world-class entertainment and Michelin starred restaurants.

Getting around is relatively easy with lots of taxis zipping past major hotels, as well as an incoming light rail that will connect the main peninsula with two islands, Taipa and Coloane, across the water to the south.

The main peninsula is where you’ll find the majority of the territory’s historic sites, from gorgeous Senado Square and the Ruins of St Paul’s to the hilltop Guia Fortress and Lighthouse, and the waterfront A-Ma Temple. However there’s plenty to do on Taipa as well. Culture buffs will adore the charming cobbled lanes of Taipa Village, while gamblers may want to test their luck in a VIP room at The Venetian.

Easily one of the best dim sum restaurants in Asia, if not the world, three Michelin starred, The Eight, is hidden away inside the Grand Lisboa hotel. A discreet sliding door takes diners into a glamorous black, red and metallic main dining room, where subtle nods to the number eight symbolise prosperity. I would recommend visiting at lunch time for an unforgettable Cantonese dim sum experience. On the extensive menu, signature dishes include lobster dumplings, crystal blue shrimp stuffed har gao dumplings and the crispy char siu bao buns.

Awash in wraithlike shades of white and champagne, Alain Ducasse at Morpheus is a sight you must see. Intimate tables are set apart by icicle-like pendulums, while a glass pantry full of antique tableware, straight from chef Ducasse’s own collection, anchors the room. Awarded two Michelin stars, the elegant restaurant centres around French fine dining, promising hand-carved butter, seasonal menus and a few of Ducasse’s signatures, such as the Mediterranean gamberoni in a delicate gelée topped with caviar. This is also an excellent place to sample fine French wines, ask about the private wine room, hidden behind the pantry, for an exclusive tasting experience.

For a laid-back Portuguese vibes, head to Petisqueira in Taipa Village; its bright-blue facade hints at the friendly service to come. Inside, this warm and cozy tavern feels like a time capsule, filled with red-checkered tablecloths, wooden furniture and big jugs of sangria. The menu is equally homestyle and rustic, highlighting seafood signatures like garlicky sautéed clams, savoury paella and bacalhau cakes made with dried cod, a local specialty. This place is loved by residents and travellers alike, so prepare for a buzzing atmosphere once the evening kicks off.

Another Portuguese favourite is Antonio. Set on a cobbled lane in charming Taipa Village, this three-story restaurant is upscale yet casual, promising refined presentations, premium ingredients and beautiful mosaic interiors. The house-made chorizo will be set aflame table side, while the lengthy Portuguese wine list showcases the best bottles from boutique vineyards. Expect beautifully prepared African chicken with a delicious peanut, chili and ginger coconut sauce atop a butterflied whole chicken, Portuguese duck rice and fresh tiger prawns in garlic. If you’re visiting on a clear night, ask for the private table on the rooftop for an extra dose of romance.

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