Macao food for thought for healthy future

Macao’s standing as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy goes far beyond the dinner table

Home to one of the world’s earliest forms of fusion cuisine, Macao has its sights firmly set on sustainability and avoiding food wastage, not only promoting its stance on a worldwide problem but also boosting its tourism appeal.

“Macao is on a ‘great green food journey’ which the locals, restaurants and other forms of eateries see significant in the future of the city,” said Helen Wong, General Manager of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Australia and New Zealand.

“Food is very much the spice of life in the former Portuguese enclave, a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China for 20 years, but still well-aware of the importance of sustainability in addition to maintaining its culinary legacy,” she said.

“It’s estimated that 1.3 billion tonnes of food produced for human consumption around the world every year is wasted, but the chefs, kitchen hands and the growing number of hotel and resort managers in Macao are wasting no time in trying to quell the flow through education and sustainable efforts.

“All is food for thought for a bright, healthy future.”

Macao Tower
Macao Tower

When it comes to cooking up interest among food lovers, the tiny Pearl Delta enclave knows how to excite the senses, something it has been doing over four centuries of European and Asian co-existence.

It all began in the homes, where locals of Chinese and Portuguese background would experiment in the kitchen to create a cuisine which would become uniquely Macanese – recipes using spices and ingredients collected by Portuguese seafarers along the coasts of Africa, India and South-East Asia with locally grown produce.

While the cuisine was primarily Portuguese based and inspired, the point of difference was in the addition of curry, coconut milk, chillies, cloves and cinnamon, to mention a few ingredients. Such spicy creations as African chicken would become a signature dish in the restaurants along with chilli shrimps, the minced-meat dish Minchi, and, derivations of the traditional Portuguese dishes Caldo Verde (soup of green cabbage), giant grilled sardines, casserole of rice, pork and seafood and the always-popular Balcalhau patties (fried cod fish cakes).

Ruins of St. Paul, Macao
Ruins of St. Paul, Macao

Today, those passed down family recipes have been deservedly recognised by UNESCO with Macao designated among an elite group of 26 cities around the world as a Creative City for Gastronomy, one of only three in China.

This title reflects the global recognition of Macao’s culinary legacy and the increasing interest among the younger generations in gastronomy culture and especially Macanese cuisine, thus providing favourable conditions for food traditions to continuously thrive.

Contact Macao Government Tourism Office on (02) 9264 1488, or see

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