Exactly one year ago, my family and I made a trip to Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan (as you might have read this post, this post and this post about our travel in Taiwan), and I think it is time to write about our experience in my home town Macau (which I have been planning to do for a while). This is the first part of my Macau food journal, and to be honest, I don’t know how many part I will be ending up writing, but for now, I let my sentiment take control of my writing. Sometimes, I like the unknown and just let the end come naturally.
When we arrived at the Macau ferry terminal, it was around eight o’clock in the evening. My sister Karen and my brother in law Eric came to pick us up and drove us to the hotel not so far from the terminal. On the way, orange street lights illuminated the city the way it has always been, although the city’s infrastructure has changed so much since I left 20 years ago, but the mood created by the street lights somehow remains unchanged.
Although we were weary from an over 20 hours’ journey, but our excitement and hunger have overcame our exhaustion. After checking into our hotel, we quickly freshened up ourselves before we embarked on a late night eating spree. After about 5 minutes drive, we arrived at a small local eatery located in a relatively tranquil area of the city, opposites to a row of very old piers on the Inner Harbor where fresh fishes, seafood and other products are transported everyday between Mainland China and Macau. At night, the area is still and peaceful apart from some small restaurants and cafes bustle with the local residents and tourists from Hong Kong and Mainland China. Although it is not a tourist area at all but restaurants here are renown for their delicious food, so people would not mind to travel to this not so glamours part of Macau.
The eatery we went to is famous for it handmade noodles, and crispy fish balls. We ordered of course, my absolute favorite ‘dry-fried’ (it means the noodles are not sitting in a sauce) rice noodle with beef, deep-fried won ton (dumplings) served with sweet and sour sauce, curry chicken wings with aburaage (deep fried thin sliced tofu) and their famous crispy fish balls made with white fish, shiitake mushroom, coriander and then coated with puffed rice and then deep-fried until crispy on the outside and tender and springy on the inside. It was served with Worcestershire sauce and a homemade dipping sauce (I gathered according to the taste) made with anchovies. The unusually tasty food was complimented with ice cold Chinese beers. It was one of those perfect moments when I could taste something truly like home and to be surrounded by familiar faces and voices, I couldn’t be happier.
Walking out of the eatery full and happy, some of us suggested to go for desserts. Since we all wanted to spend a bit more time together, we agreed to have a little something sweet. We headed to a cafe a couple of blocks down where it serves only dessert, local snacks and waffles. We had young coconut milk and mango pudding which were the perfect finish for the previous savory supper. There were mostly young people and students, every table was packed full of colorful desserts, snacks and ice cold drinks. Apparently these customer always spend a good few hours there with their friends chatting and comparing how much ‘likes’ they had on social medias, making fun with each other and having a good time. For a split second I saw my young self sitting among these people, happy and without a care in the world, it made me smiled.
It was just before midnight when we said goodbye to Karen and Eric at our hotel entrance. They have already made plans for us for the next few days, sightseeing and of course, more food adventures. When I was lying in bed later on, all I could think of was what we were going to eat the next morning.
Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Beef and Bean Sprouts
For the beef mariande:
- 280g beef filet (I used rib-eye), thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp. Tarmari
- 1 tbsp. Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tbsp. mirin
- 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 pinch of sugar
For the noodles:
- 200g rice noodles
- 170g bean sprouts
- 1 stick spring onion, finely sliced
- I medium onion, finely sliced
- 3 pieces of ginger
- 2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. tamari (or regular soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- vegetable oil
Combine the beef and the marinade in a bowl and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes, best overnight.
Soak the rice noodles in boiling water for 5 minutes (or according to the package instructions), drain and rinse with cold water.
Combine the dark soy sauce, tamari, oyster sauce, sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in the wok (or a heavy bottom pan) on high heat. Add the beef and fry for a minute or two, when the beef starts to turn brown, transfer the beef and any juice in a bowl and set aside.
Clean the wok and heat another tablespoon of vegetable oil on high heat. When the oil start to smoke, turn the heat down to medium high. Add the ginger, onion and fry for a minute, then add the drained noodles to the hot wok. Use a spatular and a pair of chopsticks (or tongs) to loosen the noodles and make sure they are not sticking together. add a bit more oil if you find it a bit dry. Add the prepare sauce. Fry until the noodles and vegetables are coated evenly with the sauce, add the beef, and bean sprouts, fry for another minute. When all is well combined, take some noodles and have a taste. Add some more tamari or soy sauce if desire. Just before transferring the noodles to a platter, add the spring onions. You can either serve the noodles on a warm platter in the middle of the table, or divide them into warm bowls. Served immediately.