Wanderlust: Macau

Describing Macau is one of the more challenging things to put into words. As a former Portuguese colony, it looks a little bit like Europe, but as a Special Administrative Region of China, with about 50,000 Macanese per square mile, it definitely functions more like the Asian metropolis that it is.

It’s often called the Las Vegas or Monte Carlo of Asia, but gaming revenue in Macau almost quadruples that of the state of Nevada or France. The territory taxes this immense income to provide things like: 15 years of free education to all of it's residents and investments in public establishments, like the Macau Science Center. The impact of Portugal’s four and a half century colonization of Macau has produced one of the most unique cultures in the world, especially in relation to food.

Euro-Asian fusion dishes like Portuguese Pork-Chop Buns, a snack served in a crisp Cantonese bun and Galinha à Portuguesa, chicken, potatoes and rice in a coconut curry broth, both demonstrate the power of cross-cultural cuisine to push the boundaries of flavor.

Taking center stage, however, is the Portuguese-Style Egg Tart. The egg yolk-based, two bite-sized pastry is the perfect mash-up of the classic Cantonese egg tart, without milk added, bruléed and baked in a puff pastry, rather than a short-crust pastry. As a sweet and savory snack, it is at the very least delightful and at best, perfection.

Macau doesn't stop at food, gaming and population density, though. You get about 8 Patacas to every U.S. Dollar and Hong Kong is just an inexpensive, hour-long ferry ride away. Additionally, one of the more unrivaled experiences in town is the Michael Jackson Gallery at The Ponte 16 Resort on the west side of the peninsula. Here you'll find a pretty decent collection of one-of-a-kind memorabilia from Michael's life and career, including autographed photos, costumes from Thirller and the famed studded glove from Michael's moonwalk debut. 



Macau may remain a bit sleepier than big brother Hong Kong or Tokyo for that matter but as a cultural intersection for food enthusiasts, history buffs, crapshooters and Michael Jackson die hards, Macau is sure to make it to the top-five of your 'must-visit' list, if it isn't already number one.

For more travel stories by Mac Malikowski: