Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Travel: Macau Day #6 - Hotel Sintra, Boa Mesa Portuguese Food, Gelatina Mok Yi Kei 莫義記 & (a failed attempt at) Lord Stow's Bakery


This post was written together by Adam & Wendy, so you'll be seeing a bit of back-and-forth narrative :)

Adam:

It's been 7 months since our trip to Hong Kong and Macau. Truth be told, we didn't expect to take so long with blogging about the trip! But we're finally at the end (and also very happy we managed to recap our entire trip for our memories and hopefully to help anyone who's reading), so we can make way for other more exciting travel posts!

The lobby at Hotel Sintra, Macau Peninsula

Our previous post stopped at our last morning in Hong Kong, with our bags packed and ready to come return back to Macau. Our return leg wasn't as planned out as the rest of our trip, because we still hadn't decided where to stay the night! Wendy had done some research on cheap hotels and had finally booked a night in a cheap backpacker hotel for all of us for about RM 80 per person, but I think we were all quietly hoping for something better to end the trip with... =P

Enter Hotel Sintra!



To be honest, hotels in Macau are not cheap at all. Even the price of a 3-star hotel will set back a traveler by RM 200-300 per night. Of course, there's no arguing with the rack rates when walking in for a room, which is what we did. We chose Hotel Sintra because it seemed the best balance between price and location in such short notice. It's possible there might have been cheaper places, but we were lugging all our big suitcases with us, so we weren't in the mood for hotel hunting just then.. heh.




Although the 2 rooms cost us a small fortune, at least it was comfortable and relaxing. Large and spacious, with comfy beds and fully carpeted with all the necessities of a hotel room, there wasn't anything we could complain about. If you ever find a good deal for this hotel, our advice would be to take it. =)

Wendy:

Location is also ideal; as it is just a stone's throw away from the Praca de Ferreira do Amaral Bus Terminus stop which is the first stop after crossing over to the Peninsula. Most bus routes seem to pass this "terminal" although throughout our time in Macau, we only relied on the Bus 33 route as we weren't so adventurous. Heh.

This link can help you with bus routes if you intend to get around Macau with the public buses. It will definitely help to do some research before your trip as we found it quite hard to get directions from passerbys while we were there.



Coming back for a second time meant we were more familiar with Senado Square this time! We were determined to find some authentic Macanese food for dinner, and we had a restaurant named Amagao on our list for some Macanese food. Thinking we would find it eventually, we set off into the winding roads of Senado Square once again.



Unfortunately, after about half an hour of running up and down streets and backtracking on ourselves, and a whole lot of confused direction-givers who could not recognize Amagao's address, we gave up hope of finding Amagao. We ended up settling for Boa Mesa Portuguese Food, a quiet restaurant all the way up the small lane right next to McDonalds in Senado Square



A quiet and empty restaurant is never a good sign especially when compared to the hustle and bustle of Senado Square just a few steps away, but we were famished and weren't in the mood for anymore exploring. So we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best! 



We didn't order much because we weren't sure about what quality to expect, and prices didn't look all that friendly either.

The waitress recommended the above dish first, a Duck Rice (MOP 83 / RM 32). The serving was smaller than expected, but was fragrant and full of shredded duck. It was largely similar to the lap mei fan with lap cheong in it, which is the popular Chinese Waxed Meat with Rice we have back in Malaysia.



We also gave their Chicken Curry Portuguese Style (MOP 83 / RM 32) a try.

For the whole time we were in Macau, Bryan kept telling us we must try authentic Devil's Curry because mother of his friend had made some before and it was awesome. So when the waitress at Boa Mesa gave us that what-are-you-talking-about look when we asked for some Devil's Curry, the place dropped even more points for us.

It wasn't until we got back from holiday and were eating at Simply Mel's that we found out Devil's Curry is actually not authentic Portuguese but Cristang (Portuguese-Malaccan) instead! Hence we do owe poor Boa Mesa an apology here. =P


Misunderstanding aside, the Chicken Curry here was actually pretty tasty, albeit being expensive in our books. More creamy than spicy, the thick broth and juicy chicken pieces went well with the rice.



The highlight of the night came in the form of the Codfish in Cream (MOP 102 / RM 40) or bacalhau com natas with bacalhau referring to codfish in Portuguese.



This was incredibly sinful, a thick, creamy conconction of codfish bits, cream and mashed potatoes for texture and proclaimed as our favourite dish of the night.

To us, food at Boa Mesa was expensive in general, with small service sizes. I suppose had we been more prepared to sample authentic Portuguese cuisine, we may have been more daring with our food choices and wallets. A quick search on Google after we had returned from our trip shows that many do laud Boa Mesa as one of the great Portuguese food finds in Macau, though.




After dinner, we once again hopped on Bus No. 33 towards Taipa and this time stopped at the Taipa Old City Region stop, to get to Rua do Cunha (Cunha Street, 官也街), a street also dubbed as "Souvenir Street". You can't miss it! A brightly lit street selling lots of trinkets and souvenirs and Macau biscuits. Try not to be too late though, as we reached around 9pm and some shops were already closed.



You can get some cool stuff here, from all sorts of Macau-imprinted souvenirs to shiny gold playing cards like the ones Zhen Han bought above.

There's also a host of other shops there like Pastelaria Koi Kei.

A picture of the Koi Kee crowd on our first day at Senado Square

The biscuits and candy from Koi Kei, found all over Macau.
I finally took the opportunity to visit Pastelaria Koi Kei after seeing it all over Macau, to buy some lou poh "wife" biscuits my family asked for. Koi Kei also has a famous peanut sweet that we decided to try - sticky sweet candy with peanuts and sesame seeds, quite a nice treat if you're one for sweets. 



Also not to be missed is the famous Gelatina Mok Yi Kei, located right at one end of Rua do Cunha, for their Macanese sawdust puddings or known as the serradura



The Sawdust Pudding (MOP 12) was more cream than gelatinous pudding as its name suggests, but still an interesting taste nonetheless. The base is thick and creamy, with a top of finely blended moist biscuit crumbs.



The guys preferred Gelatina Mok Yi Kei's version of the Durian Ice-Cream (MOP 15), far denser and more potent than any durian ice-cream we've tried of late. The ice cream was icy cold and delicious, with a rich natural-tasting durian flavour.

As we chatted to the lady manning the stall, I mentioned our search earlier for Amagao, the Macanese restaurant. To our surprise, her face practically lit up, and she told us that she loved to point tourists there for the food was good. Quickly, she led us on a route amidst the small pedestrian backlanes and in under a minute, we  were there!



We were all set for a dinner #2, but unfortunately the place is tiny, and completely packed even at 9:30pm. Last order had passed, so that dashed our hopes of giving it a try. If you're ever looking for Amagao (pronounced ah-muh-kao), try finding Gelatina Mok Yi Kei first. The shop is located nearby, and odds are, the friendly owner of Mok Yi Kei will bring you there herself.

It was very disappointing to be so near yet so far to trying Amagao food, but that's life for you! We still had one more idea to save the night though, and that was to try Lord Stow's egg tarts at The Venetian. We promptly took a cab there after finishing at Rua do Cunha / Souvenir Street, since we didn't want to miss out on another must-try.



One store that caught our eye before our egg tart hunt was The Manchester United Experience store though! Being both Red Devils through and through, Adam and I were quite in awe in here. The store is rather massive with all sorts of memorabilia you can dream of - from bed sheets to shirts, even a gear shift cover!

Adam at the front of the store and Wendy taking the chance to snap a picture with Gary Neville.

Unfortunately things weren't all that affordable. One shirt for Adam and a deck of Man Utd playing cards later, we continued on to Lord Stow's for some egg tarts!


Do any Google search about good egg tarts in Macau and you'll soon find that there are two favourites - the first being Margaret's Café e Nata 瑪嘉烈蛋撻店 which we tried on Day 2 and Lord Stow's. The original Lord Stow's branch is tucked away in Coloane, but they've also opened up a more accessible branch in The Grand Canal Shoppes.

Having been on our feet most of the day, we got a cozy corner and sat down, resting for awhile before ordering. This turned out to be a bad move, because as soon as we decided to get some egg tarts from the counter, a lady beat us to it, and bought up... Every. Single. Available. Egg. Tart! There were close to 30 of them!

It was already close to closing, and the Lord Stow staff told us they wouldn't make another batch unless we wanted to buy 50 pieces or something. It was an extremely disappointing end to our food journey, and an important lesson was learnt - never assume that good food will always be available, even if it looks like there's tons of stock! :(





Adam:

I have this belief that if I'm having a bad day, most probably I'm going to have bad luck with games too. Unfortunately it was our last night in Macau, so it was the only chance we had for a spot of gambling. Sadly my theory proved to be right again, as I finally cracked and lost patience after an excruciatingly slow night at the poker table. At least Zhen Han had better luck, so one of us went back happy. Lol. (Pictures are taken from the Grand Lisboa hotel, where we went after The Grand Canal Shoppes. =))



The next morning came all too soon, and with a late morning flight to catch, there wasn't any time to sleep in. There was still time to have a last round of egg tarts though! Wendy had a plan to tapau egg tarts back home for family, and because I'm a kiasu f'ler, I also bought a few boxes home! (even though my family isn't even close to half the size of Wendy's. Hahaha!)


Finally, all good things must come to an end. It was an uneventful trip to the airport and on the flight home. Though we faced so many issues in planning the trip, I have to say this was one of my most memorable. Macau and Hong Kong are twin destinations that are perfect for foodies like us, or even if you're just looking to explore a new place. We're glad to finally put an end to this travelogue, 8 months after the trip! We hope all our sharing has helped you plan your own a trip to HK and Macau. =)

*

Hotel Sintra | Site
Avenida de D. João IV,
Macau Peninsula, Macau
Tel: +853 2871 0111
Fax: +853 2856 7769
E-mail:
rsvn@hotelsintra.com (For reservation)
eo@hotelsintra.com (For general enquiries)

Boa Mesa Portugese Food 葡國美食
Shop 16A, Travessa de S. Domingos,
Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, Macau Peninsula
(Turn right into the lane after McDonalds and it's at the top of the lane)

Gelatina Mok Yi Kei 莫義記
No. 9A, Rua do Cunha,
Taipa, Macau

Pastelaria Koi Kei 钜记饼家| Site
No. 5, Rua do Cunha,
No. 46-50, R/C,
Taipa, Macau
Tel: +853 2882 7839 / 7577

Grand Lisboa 新葡京 | Site
No. 2-4, Avenida Da Lisboa,
Macau Peninsula, Macau,
Tel: +853 2828 3838


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