Our Day in Macau
Our day in Macau started with two mad dashes to the ferry terminal. Not one, but two mad dashes. We slept in that morning. As soon as I woke up I had a craving for Chinese sugar donuts. We had found a bakery near our hotel that makes them at 11 am daily. So we had to wait until 11 am until I could get my sugar donut fix. Before dashing off to catch the ferry, we briefly met up with my cousin’s wife. She works near the ferry terminal. As we were chatting, she offhandedly asked us what kind of I.D. we brought for Macau to which we blankly looked at each other and I stupidly answered: “Our drivers’ licenses…?” and trailed off. To which she pointed out that we needed our passports. The last I checked Hong Kong and Macau are in the same country. In North America, we would never need to bring passports as I.D. within the same country. So we rushed back onto the MTR to grab our passports before dashing for the ferry once again.
After a short one hour ferry ride, we finally arrived in Macau and decided to have lunch at the Venetian hotel and casino. There are couch buses parked right outside the ferry terminal waiting to take visitors to the Venetian, the ride is complimentary or maybe it was part of our ferry fare, I never figured that part out.
I have never been to the Venetian in Las Vegas but I always pictured it as big, grand and verging on tacky as with everything else lit up on the Vegas strip. The lobby and entrance of the Venetian in Macau was definitely large, sweeping and grand but a quick stroll through the shopping area along the faux canal and fake sky ceiling, I discovered that except for the kitschy decor, the Venetian was just like any other shopping mall in Hong Kong and Macau. I was very unimpressed. At least the clouds in the fake sky ceiling at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas move and the ceiling changes from sunrise to sunset. The sky ceiling at the Venetian in Macau is static, it’s pretty much like clouds painted onto a blue ceiling and there’s fire sprinklers dotting the ceiling throughout, ruining the facade.
After some shopping, we had a simple lunch of Portuguese baked chicken with curry and a pork chop bun. I wanted to try something Portuguese and since we were so far from Senado Square, the Portuguese pork chop bun was the best we could get. It doesn’t look like much but the pork chop bun turned out to be delicious, juicy and flavourful and the crusty toasted bun was the perfect compliment to the breaded fried chop.
The baked chicken with curry was also tasty, it wasn’t spicy at all, it was more on the creamy and buttery side which I loved.
After the Venetian, we decided to catch a cab to Lord Stow’s Bakery. We saw the Lord Stow’s bakery inside the Venetian but I owed it to the food blogger inside me to visit the first ever Lord Stow’s in Macau. My husband rolled his eyes at this but he came along away. Read more about our Lord Stow’s visit here. Our cab driver was really nice and took it upon himself to be our unofficial tour guide of Macau, pointing out landmarks and significant buildings as we sped along highways and rural roads. After our Lord Stow’s bakery visit, we were dropped off right at the fountain in front of Senado Square where we quickly scarfed down our egg tarts and were off to explore the Square.
What I remember most vividly from Senado Square were the countless almond cookie samples practically shoved in our faces as we walked up the winding road past cookie shops, bakeries and cafes up to St. Paul’s ruins. I don’t even normally like almond cookies back home, I’ve always found them as dry as chalk but somehow, the almond cookie samples in Macau tasted different. Each cookie was warm and soft and buttery and melted into a creamy paste in my mouth as I hungrily sought the next sample. My husband quickly got sick of me stuffing almond cookie samples into his mouth, “this one is even drier than the last one!” he’d grumble with his mouth half-full, sugary crumbs spraying from his lips. At one point, we heard an ambulance down the street and my hubby quipped that it was probably because someone choked on an almond cookie.
We finally made it up to St. Paul’s ruins. There were even almond cookie store clerks handing out samples right at the front steps of the ruins. The name of their store printed on their aprons. If only they gave out this many samples in Hong Kong. After a stroll around the ruins, we walked back down the steps to buy some cookies to take home. Of course, I had to buy a box of almond cookies for my family. Turns out it was hard to decide which ones to buy, there are so many different types, some had nuts in them, some with seaweed, some with pork floss. I settled on the classic plain almond cookie and picked a box of mini ones since they’d be easy to stuff into my purse for the ferry ride.
They bake a lot of the cookies in-store which explains why each store smelled delicious each time we walked in. There were endless tins of all different types of cookies in each store, everything from butter cookies, egg rolls to traditional Portuguese biscuits. We picked out a mini box of egg rolls with seaweed and pork floss topping for my in-laws. They baked them in-store so we knew they were fresh. The cookies were a perfect mix of salty and sweet.
Wandering around Senado Square for a little bit longer, my hubby spotted a familiar sign that we haven’t seen in a while: Daiso! Daiso is a Japanese dollar store, there’s one in Richmond BC and we used to go as often as once a week to stock up on things like Japanese candies or cheap dishes, cleaning sponges and these super cheap knock-off Swiffer wipes that we used all the time. We’ve missed Daiso ever since we’ve moved from Vancouver, there isn’t such a store in Toronto at all, and we feel totally ripped off now every time we pay full price for Swiffer wipes. We were so excited to find a Daiso in such an unlikely place that we rushed in, armed ourselves with shopping baskets and got right to shopping. We spent more than an hour wandering around the 4 floors of this massive Daiso, picking up little things like insoles, tiny slippers for my baby nephew, and lint rollers. Japanese products are so weird and unique, we could have spent the day in this store.
After Daiso, we searched on for dinner and remembered what our cab driver told us about New Yaohan, a shopping center in downtown Macau just a short 15 minute walk from Senado Square. The logo and colours matched that of Yaohan Center in Richmond, BC, it was almost as if we were home again.
The unique thing about New Yaohan was that there was an entire floor dedicated to the food court. There were all types of cuisine here, mostly Japanese but you could get Chinese food, Taiwanese and Indian too. The way it worked was that you placed your order at the food court stall, then you pay for all your orders at the cashier’s counter before picking up your food. I don’t know how much more efficient this is but since it wasn’t that crowded that night, it seemed to work.
I had the biggest craving for ramen so I ordered a spicy beef ramen. My hubby ordered this unique grilled squid that was stuffed with seasoned rice, mostly because we saw them grilling up the squid as we walked by the stall and he couldn’t resist. And it was as tasty as it looked on the grill, smoky and flavourful, the rice stuffing inside was fluffy and moist.
My ramen turned out to be pretty spicy upon a few bites and my hubby had to finish it for me but it definitely hit the spot for my ramen craving.
After we finished dinner, we still had an hour or so to browse New Yaohan. The shopping center didn’t differ much from Hong Kong shopping centers. The great thing about New Yaohan mall was that there is a cab station right across the street from the entrance. Apparently, it’s near impossible to hail a cab from Senado Square, cabs can only be hailed from cab stations which are basically a section of the street devoted for cabs to queue up and pick up passengers. There’s signs on the sidewalk indicating where these stations are. We quickly grabbed a cab and were on our ferry back to Hong Kong in less than half an hour. What a whirlwind fun day in Macau!