Historic Macanese Cuisine

April 1st, 2014 5 Comments

Dra. Beatriz da Silva’s study of Macanese cuisine motivated me to share a few family dishes of my own. But first, let me provide a little background.

I was able to create this list because of a recent visit by two experienced cooks (actually my mother and aunt), who were generous enough to reveal their favorite Macanese cusine. Together these ladies have roots in Portugal, Spain, Goa, Macau, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Canton, which explains the wide variety of dishes and desserts you see below. In fact, I was able to find hereditary links to twenty different Macanese families, which also explains why many of these dishes are common throughout the community, some dating from the 16th century.

Most of these dishes are prepared as main meals and for special occasions. And many, except for the desserts, are served with rice. The specific recipes vary due to personal embellishments and cultural influences, depending on where and when  each family cooked them. But in every case, the dishes represent a cultural link to the past that continues to evolve as these recipes are passed down to each new generation.




Minchi – Minced beef with onions and potato, cooked with soy, molasses, turmeric





Tacho –cabbage stew and meat (pork or sausage), cooked with balichaong (fermented shrimp sauce) and soy



Vaca Estofada


Vaca Estofada – beef stew (cooked many hours), cooked with soy and bay leaf




Feijoada – Portuguese style stew with beans and pork



Caldo Verde


Caldo Verde – Creamy spinach soup



Bacalhau (1)


Bacalhau – Salted Cod






Pasteis de Bacalhau – Breaded cod fish balls



Curried Fish


Curried Fish – (or beef, lamb, chicken), cooked with Indian curry and coconut milk





Chilicote – Curried meat hors d’euvre in light pastry shell



Rolete Meat Balls


Rolete – Fried Portuguese style meatballs




Cheuk (congree)


Congee’ (cheuk) – Rice gruel






Impada – fish or meat pie (usually served cold) with Turmeric



Chili crab


Chili Crab – Chinese style whole crab cooked in plum sauce and garlic







Diabo – Cut-up roasted beef, lamb, poultry, pork, cooked in creamy sauce and sweet pickels




Capella (meat loaf)



Capella – Portuguese style meatloaf (baked), cooked with onions, cheese, almonds



Beefy Macau



Beefy Macau – Sirloin steak sliced marinated with oyster sauce and hoishsin



Ginger Garlic Chicken


Ginger and Garlic cooked Chicken – cooked in peanut oil and oyster sauce




Garlic Prawns


Prawns in Garlic – Stir fired



Star Anis Pork Shoulder


Star Anis Pork Shoulder – Slow cooked in soy sauce





Bafasau (saffron pork)


Bafasau – Saffron Pork






Lo Pak Kou – Macanese style rice and soy squares









Nata – Portuguese custard




Batatada (potato - coconut cake)



Batatada – Potato and Coconut cake





Pao de Leite


Pao de Leite – Coconut pudding gelatin






Bebinca de Leite – Baked custard with coconut




Genete (cookies)


Genete – Butter cookies





Cuscarao (fried sugared pastries)


Cuscarao – Fried sugar cookies


  1. Beatriz Nolasco says:

    Being a grand daughter of Luis Nolasco da Silva and although never been in Macau, some of the recipes shown here were cooked in our house. Minchi, Diabo, among others. Just to let you know that one of my father’s cousin husband – Joao Antonio Ferreira Lamas – published a book with many recipes from Macau. The book is named A culinaria dos Macaenses.
    Thank you for all your information. Very, very interesting

  2. Faustino Diestel says:

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  3. Teresa Cruz Carns says:

    Hi there – How can I access the recipes, or are they not up? Please advise. Thanks much.

    • Director says:


      Unfortunately, there are no recipes attached to the post. Please contact Dra. Beatriz da Silva (see previous post) for more information.

      Thanks for following us.

  4. Delano Pereira says:

    All of them have one time or another been savoured by me, my family and friends.

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