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Please join us for our next Macanese culinary adventure here at Macau Patua, which will be an informal Talk & Taste evening consisting of a four course Macanese dinner prepared by Lau Suet-Ming and incorporating a talk by, and a chance to chat with and ask questions of, guest speaker, food anthropologist and expert on all things Macanese, Annabel Jackson.

Date:        Every last Thursday of the month.

Time:        6.30-9.30 pm  (6.30-7.00 pm complimentary welcome drink; Introductory talk will start at 7.00 pm prompt).

Venue:     Chinatown Chinese Community Centre,  2 Leicester Court,  London,  WC2H 7DW  (1 min from Leicester Square station. Go through the red doors just on Leicester Court (just off Leicester Square, by the Vue cinema) and follow the stairs to the 2nd floor.)

Tickets:    £40 per person (maximum of 10 guests per event); includes a welcome drink and dinner.

BYO:        Macau Patua evenings are also a chance to gain a better understanding of Portuguese wine, which is one of Annabel’s other interests, although we ask that you bring your own wine.  The most appropriate wines for Macau Patau are reds from the cooler regions such as Douro and Dao, which should be available from any wine merchant or large supermarket, although you should obviously feel free to bring whatever you would like to drink.

Booking enquiries:  Please email Suet-Ming This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., who will be happy to help you with your booking enquiries.  Suet-Ming would also be pleased to discuss private dining and events at another venue if this is something which would interest you.  Annabel offers bespoke wine tasting workshops in Brighton.

 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF MACAU

Macau Public LibraryMacau, a tiny territory on a peninsula about an hour’s boat ride West of Hong Kong harbour, was virtually uninhabited when Portuguese merchants first arrived there more than 450 years ago, except for a few families living on their fishing boats. The Portuguese had already colonised parts of Southeast Asia by the late seventeenth century, so when Portuguese traders arrived at Macau they did so with families and servants who originated from places such as Goa, Malacca and East Timor.  The intermingling of these different heritages produced the Macanese people, and what the Macanese eat perfectly reflects their diverse cultural heritage.

Patua refers to the language (now almost forgotten but seeing some revival) of the Macanese. UNESCO’s Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger classified Patua as a "critically endangered" language Macau News.

WHAT IS MACANESE FOOD?

Pasteis de BacalhauMacanese cooking is based on European/Portuguese recipes which were adapted so that they could be made with the local produce available in Macau and any goods which the Portuguese traders would have had on their ships (e.g. salt cod, olive oil, bay leaves etc).  This base was augmented with the flavours of Southeast Asia (e.g. coconut and chilli, saffron and cinnamon, mango and mace) to create the unique taste which survives to this day.

Outside the Macanese community, Macanese food is not easy to find – even in Macau itself - and because the cuisine was not developed in a restaurant but evolved in countless homes over centuries, with recipes being handed down from one generation to the next, the nature of how exactly each dish should be cooked can be hotly contested. Thus there are myriad versions of the most famous Macanese dish, “African Chicken” (Galinha a Cafreal), with each cook claiming theirs to be the “most authentic” or “the best”.

But it is possible to work towards some definitions of what Macanese food “should” taste like.  Certainly the cooking is highly diverse, and there’s something for everyone.  The canon ranges from a strong and salty bacalhau dish through to delicate rice noodle soups flavoured with dried shrimp, with a dense offal stew and chicken curry in between.  What is carried through this diversity is balanced seasonings and flavours, seamless fusions of European and Asian ingredients, and a deep sense of culture.

PORTUGUESE WINE

Portugese Red WineMacau Patua evenings are also a chance to highlight Portuguese wine.  Somewhat unknown, misunderstood or undiscovered, Portuguese wine claims a still-important place in Macau’s vibrant wine and dine environment.  It is recommended that you bring Portuguese red wine along to Macau Patua, for even the fish and seafood dishes have a density of flavour which white wines can rarely match. The most appropriate wines for Macau Patua are reds from the cooler regions such as Douro and Dao, which should be available from any wine merchant or large supermarket.

The epicentre of Macanese cuisine is, of course, Macau and it is here that another Portuguese legacy remains strong. Portuguese wine. As its quality soars, many labels have now assumed cult status, and in Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2014, two of the top four were Portuguese reds from the Douro region, and the Number One slot was a port from the stunning 2011 vintage. 

Key things to know about Portuguese wine
It is tremendous value for money. Wines are traditionally blended from a number of different grapes. Portugal is very proud of its indigenous grapes and does not work much with international varieties. The whites should not be overlooked. The wines are terrifically food friendly. The cooler northerly regions such as Douro, Dao and Vinho Verde tend to make the more elegant, even austere, wines, whereas warmer regions such as Alentejo produce deliciously fruity wines. Two top red grapes: Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca. Three top white grapes: Alvarinho, Arinto and Encruzado

 

 Annabel JacksonANNABEL JACKSON

Annabel Jackson has an MA in the Anthropology of Food and is a world expert on Macanese cuisine and the Macau gourmet scene in general. Annabel is proud to have presented a number of papers on the subject of Macanese cuisine at academic conferences in Hong Kong and Macau and remains fascinated by the culture and food of Macau, and in sharing this exciting and often overlooked cuisine with others. Annabel has written two books dedicated to Macanese cuisine: "Macau on a Plate" (Roundhouse (Hong Kong), 1994); and "Taste of Macau: Portuguese cooking on the south China coast" (Hong Kong University Press, 2003). "This lavishly illustrated cookbook is the first to introduce to the English-speaking world one of the oldest "fusion" cuisines in Asia."

She is currently working on a new recipe-based Macanese cookbook, which is to be published as an iBook in the near future. Annabel is also an expert on wine; she has been teaching wine at university level for 10 years and is an Advanced Ambassador of the Wines of Portugal, which meshes well with her love of Macanese cuisine. Annabel Jackson's blog on wine

Suet-Ming LauLAU SUET-MING 

Suet-Ming is a former professional chef who has worked in a number of Michelin-starred fine dining establishments in London - China Tang at the Dorchester, Tokyo - Nobu and her native Hong Kong - Mandarin Oriental. These have included the Oriental at the Dorchester, Mandarin Oriental London , Nobu London , and the Hong Kong Grand Hyatt.

Suet-Ming believes that the "Hong Kong Chinese live to eat" and she considers herself no exception, although when she’s not cooking or eating she has many other strings to her bow and is also an arts curator (one of her particular specialities is the filmmaker David Lynch). Suet-Ming is passionate about Macanese food and is very excited about sharing the experience and flavours of this often-overlooked cuisine with people in the UK.

 

Lap Cheong ChouricoMACAU PATUA is a new and unique culinary experience in London which focuses on the history, culture, identity and, most importantly, the food of the Macanese, who are the indigenous people of Macau.

The Macanese have their own, centuries-old cooking styles, which at the Macau Patua evenings, held once a month, are explored by chef Lau Suet-Ming who presents a four course Macanese dinner. The Macau Patua evenings also feature a pre-dinner talk by Macanese food expert and food anthropologist Annabel Jackson, the author of “Taste of Macau” and “Macau on a Plate”, who will explain how and why this richly varied canon of dishes evolved, based on Portuguese dishes but incorporating the tastes of Southeast Asia. Annabel will be able to explain the history and significance of each dish as it is presented with interaction by Suet-Ming.  

Please see our “Booking” page for details about our next event and for details about booking enquiries.

Macau is a tiny territory on the southern coast of China, an hour by boat from Hong Kong. Macau is one of the two Special Administrative Regions of China (the other is Hong Kong) and it has a rich and multi-cultural history.  Any direct Chinese influence on Macanese culture has only occurred in the last few decades.  Some of the more distinct influences include those of Southeast Asia and Portuguese colonialists. The many and varied range of cultural influences on Macau, its people and its food has led some to call Macanese food the first real fusion food.

For more on the history of Macau and Macanese food, see our “History” page.