Previously administered Portuguese Empire and currently an autonomous territory on western side of East Asia, Macau offers a great diversity of culture. It is influenced by cultures from Western Europe and East Asia. The hybrid and diverse culture allows them to offer such beautiful scenery and delicious cuisine! They are mainly popular for their Cantonese food and Chinese martial arts in Portugal. In addition, they have established a festival in 1998 for the Portuguese-speaking communities that offer traditional Portuguese games, food, and more!
As previously mentioned, their cuisine is heavily influenced by Western Europe and East Asia culture. It combines Southern China (focusing on Cantonese cuisine) and Portuguese cuisines. In addition, there are other influential factors from different parts of the country such as Southeast Asia and Lusophone world, which is people who are, in a way, linked to Portugal. Many dishes include blends of spices while using Chinese ingredients. Macau is a great place to indulge in this fusion cuisine.
- Galinha à Portuguesa – This dish originated from Macau despite the name, Portuguese-style Chicken. Invented between the 16th and 18th century, it consists of chicken pieces served with a mild yellow curry sauce (coconut-based) and rice.
- Galinha à Africana – Also known as African dish. It is a barbequed chicken that is coated in piri piri sauce, which is a chili pepper. Sometimes this dish can include additional ingredients such as coconut milk or peanuts.
- Bacalhau – One of the iconic ingredient of Portuguese cuisine. It is the name for dried and salted cod. There are a variety of recipes with this dish depending on the region and traditions.
- Pato De Cabidela – Macau’s style of a Portuguese dish. Instead of cooking it with either chicken or rabbit, it is cooked with duck.
- Minchee – minced or ground meat that is made with either beef or pork paired with rice and egg on top. It is usually seasoned with molasses, a refinement of sugarcane, and soy sauce.
With their hybrid and diverse mix of culture in their cuisine and beautiful scenery, it is one of the most designated place that people travel to! Since it was previously owned by the Portuguese Empire and currently an autonomous territory, Macau offers popular venue and urban centre for celebrations. It offers Portuguese-style mosaic style, neo-classical buildings, and temple(s) that was dedicated to the sea goddess during the Ming Dynasty!
- Macau Tower – A tower that is 338m (1109ft) tall! From the tower, there is a panoramic view of the city itself, restaurants, activities such as Skywalk X, and many more! It is one of the highest commercial skyjump in the world! While it offers observation and entertainment for people, it also serves as a telecommunications and broadcasting tower.
- Senado Square – part of the UNESCO Historic Centre of Macau World Heritage. Covering an area of 3,700 square meters, it is a popular venue for celebrations with neo-classical buildings and mosaic stones. It was originally a meeting place for the Chinese and Portuguese from the 16th to 18th
- Ruins of St. Paul’s – It was originally St. Paul’s College and Church of St. Paul that was built in the 17th century, but destroyed by a fire, during a typhoon, in 1835. It showcases southern stone façade by Japanese Christians in exile, Carlo Spinola’s craftsmen, and crypts of the Jesuits. This landmark symbols as an altar to Macau.
- Guia Fortress – originally built in the 17th It is another part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Macau. It was supposed to be used as a fort to protect Macau from attacks (near the sea), but changed to an observation post. In addition, it also serves as a chapel and lighthouse. The lighthouse has Western style, while the chapel represents both Western and Chinese style.
- Travessa Da Paixao – located between Rua de S. Paulo and Rua da Ressurreicao (80+ years!). It was originally named by the Portuguese administration. For Portugese, the Paixao means “love, infatuation, and suffering” (referring to the suffering of Jesus Christ); in Chinese, it means “being in love.” This gives the street a romantic feel, bringing tourists in to take pictures here for the beautiful view and history behind it.
Although it used to be limited to only bars and clubs, Macau is slowly becoming a nightlife destination for people around the world! Though, most places are still limited to having a nightlife option in major casinos. However, it is now adding in venues and events! One of the classic venue is Macau Club Cubic with popular DJs that include artist such as Hardwell, one of the most popular EDM style DJ. It has many features such as dance floor, bars, private rooms, upper-level accessible only to VIPs, and many more.
The currency of Macau is Pataca (MOP$). It is backed by foreign exchange reserves, which is currently the HKD (Hong Kong dollar). The name derived from Portuguese referring Mexican Peso as the Pataca Mexicana. It previously didn’t have any currency but used different ones such as Mexican dollars, British dollars of Hong Kong, and others. Through Banco Nacional Ultramarino, they were able to issue banknotes in denominations of patacas. It currently is at a fixed exchange rate of HKD$1 = MOP$1.03, with no limit. Currently at $0.12USD = 1 MOP$, with fluctuating prices.
Customs & Language
There are two official languages spoken in Macau: Portuguese and Chinese. However, English is widely spoken in this country. Patuá is spoken by Macanese people, which is a mixture of both Asian and Portuguese ancestry. Only a small percentage can speak this language. One of the most-heard foreign language is Tagalog due to workers coming from the Philippines.
Here are some helpful phrases/words:
- Hello – Olá (Portuguese) & Nǐ hǎo (Chinese)
- How much? – Quantos (P) & Duōshǎo (CH)
- Thank you – Obrigado (P) & Xièxiè (CH)
- Please – Por favor (P) & Qǐng (CH)