Sherman's Food Adventures

Lei Ka Choi

The benefits of having a local take us around Macao yielded Miramar, Lord Stow's, Chiu Heong and Koi Kei so far, but we still had dinner lined up.  We ended up at Lei Ka Choi which wouldn't even be on my radar if it was up to me.  However, this place sports a Michelin star and a loyal customer base.  As we walked up and into the place, it really didn't scream out "please eat here", but hey, that's why it was a good thing we were taken to this place by people in the know.

We started off with a whole Big Hen Fish with fermented yellow beans on the side.  The fish itself was rather plain-looking and in fact, it was only lightly sweet on its own.  However, the real star of the show was the yellow bean condiment.  It was richly salty with depth.  On a personal level, I found the fish rather firm and dense, but that is the way it is.  Next up was one of their signature dishes in the Garlic & Chili Salt Fried Corn.  This was my favourite thing we ate all meal due to the intense flavours from the spicy and umaminess of the seasoning.  The corn itself was sweet and aromatic providing balance to the saltiness.

My second favourite dish of the meal also happened to be another signature dish in the Water Crab and Chicken Soup with 2 types of rice (puffed rice and steamed crab protein rice in lotus leaf).  The method was to combine all 3 items in bowl.  As a result, the chewy and sweet steamed rice combined with the crunchy and nutty toasted rice provided a textural contrast.  Furthermore, the sweet briny soup by itself was so full of depth and body, it was great by itself.  A fairly simple dish was the Pan-Fried Ox-Tongue served with a sweet and tangy dip.  Tender and fatty with a pleasant bite, the ox-tongue was lightly seasoned with caramelized flavours.

Another seemingly simple, but tasty offering was the Squid Meatballs stuffed with cheese and deep fried with a vermicelli coating.  This was another study in textures with the chewy bounciness of the squid giving way to a stringy cheesy centre.  Outside, the crispy noodles added a lighter crunch to the dense meatball.  The whole thing was naturally sweet and was served with a side of Miracle Whip.  The Roasted Squab (actually deep-fried) was one average dish we had.  Nothing wrong with the meat as it was tender and moist while mildly seasoned.  However, the skin was not nearly rendered enough and wasn't crispy despite the beautiful rice hue.

Back to the good, the Curry Brisket served in a toasted bread bowl was delicious.   The thick rich curry was creamy and only exhibited a touch of spice.  There was enough peppers and onions to add variation to the flavour profile.  Although hardly chewy, the brisket couldn't be considered soft.  My favourite part was the big chunks of tender potatoes that soaked up all the flavour.  Related to that, the hollowed out cubes of bread were perfect vessels to soak up the rich curry.  For our veggies, we had the Stir-Fried Pea Shoots with garlic and wolfberries.  These were just a bit overdone, but still crunchy and fairly vibrant.  Flavours were mild though.  Again, this was far too much food for us, but hey, I couldn't complain about the variety.  There were some familiar items mixed in with some unique ones - an enjoyable meal with family.

The Good:
- That fried corn!
- That curry!
- Reasonably-priced for what you get

The Bad:
- Seating is not the most comfortable
- Wow, no where to park 

Lord Stow's Bakery, Chui Heong and Koi Kei Bakery

Enough with the hotel buffet business with the night before...  It was time to venture out into Macau and have some real eats.  That would involve driving from place-to-place, but fortunately for us, we had a friend take us around.  Seeing how the traffic and crazy driving along the narrow streets, it was a good thing as I would've been super-stressed otherwise.  After a delicious lunch at Miramar, we headed out to the beach and then onto Lord Stow's Bakery.

So how good can a Portuguese Tart be anyways?  I've already had one at the ferry terminal in Hong Kong and those were pretty solid.  Well, one bite into these warm suckers and it was love at first bite.  The firmly crispy tart shell shattered and was super flaky and buttery.  Inside, the custard was firm yet silky while being super aromatic.  It was only lightly sweet with the natural flavour of the coconut milk coming through.  Yah, these were worth the drive.  However, one could technically get these at a closer location to the casinos as well.

From Lord Stow's, we made our way back into town and meandered our way through the narrow streets to a small little shop famous for their freshly-made almond cookies. Okay, so why were we lining up for some Almond Cookies at a little shop in the middle of bustling Macau? Apparently, these are the best in town and not like the usual ones one would find in a grocery store.  Good enough for us, so we queued up at Chiu Heong like the rest of the lemmings.  Turns out that these were good!  With a firm powdery snap and crunch from the little nuggets of toasted almond, these cookies were addictive without being sweet.  They were more aromatic and nutty than just plains sweet.

We finally deviated from our plan and did the touristy thing and visited the ruins of St. Paul's.  We took our pictures and then proceeded down the steps over to Koi Kei for some jerky.  We decided on Pork Jowl and Spicy Pork.  Similar to Singaporean style jerky, the one here was moist, sweet and only lightly chewy.  The one difference is that they were not charred and less sweet.  We enjoyed the thickness of the jerky as it added an extra meatiness to it.  The pork jowl was a bit spongy, but in a good way.  Lastly, we had the obligatory Pork Chop Bun, but at the Studio City Casino.  It was okay, but please do your self a favour and eat one at a legit place instead.  So there you have it, some random eats in Macau.

The Good:
- Those tarts are pretty legit
- Almond cookies are good, not sure if I'd line up for them
- The jerky is also available in HK

The Bad:
- Go get a real pork chop bun, not from the casino food court (LOL)