Mumbai Food: Celebrate Chinese food-culture festival at weekend fest
If the stories intrigue you more than the food itself, a gustatory journey through Macao (also spelt as Macau) should be on your things-to-do list
Speak to a new-age chef and they will promise you something more than food — an experience. But speak to a discerning foodie and they will tell you food has always been an experience because it does not exist in vacuum but travels through time, intertwining with history and culture before arriving on a plate. If the stories intrigue you more than the food itself, a gustatory journey through Macao (also spelt as Macau) should be on your things-to-do list. And this weekend you can dive into its rich culinary heritage here in Mumbai at the Experience Macao Festival organised by Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).
“As a destination, it is largely popular among Indians because of the gaming scene, but there’s so much more to experience in Macao. We wanted to offer a peek into that,” says Arzan Khambatta, head at MGTO. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Portuguese empire spread far and wide, and its traders were enterprising. Merchants who travelled to different colonies spread across the Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking regions) world, brought back to Macao ingredients not only from their home country, but also from other colonies, including turmeric, coconut milk, cinnamon and cloves. And these condiments eventually found a way into the cuisine, resulting in an eclectic amalgamation of flavours. So, while baking is an obscure method in other parts of the People’s Republic of China, in Macao, baked goods are a common sight.
In fact, a Macanese version of the pastéis de nata — classic Portuguese egg tarts — is found resplendently across the city’s streets. Or take for example the galinha à Africana, a baked chicken curry dish made with tomatoes, peanuts, coconut, red pepper and paprika. Served across Macanese eateries and now dubbed a classic, African chicken is believed to have been invented by a Macanese chef in the 1940s who re-imagined the exotic delicacy with a regional touch using spices he procured from his trips to Africa. Or minchi, another signature, made with minced beef and diced potatoes, flavoured with Worcestershire sauce and topped with a fried egg. In effect, the cuisine could (with reservation) be called one of the world’s oldest fusion cuisines and all of the three dishes will be available at the festival.
When it comes to culinary influences, Macanese food doesn’t stop at imbibing Portuguese mastery alone. As a result of colonialism, it has absorbed the culinary aesthete of Goa, Africa, Brazil, and Latin American as well, all of which were Portuguese colonies. So, can you find serradura in a local Macanese establishment? You bet.
Eat in Macao
- Rua de S Paulo, Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro (popularly-known as San Ma Lo), Rua da Felicidade, Travessa do Auto Novo near Senado Square and Rua do Cunha in Taipa Village are the best places to enjoy local snacks, including almond cake, egg roll, peanut candy and roasted sliced meat.
- Opened by Englishman Lord Stow in 1989, Lord Stow’s Bakery specialises in Portuguese egg tarts and uses a recipe he picked up in Lisbon which he modified. These egg tarts are now a symbol of Macao and the original Lord Stow’s Bakery is a tourist attraction in its own right.
- Since it opened in 2013, The Golden Peacock has been a popular choice among visitors and food critics. It was listed in the Hong Kong Tatler Best Restaurants Guide, 2016. Golden Peacock is the first Indian restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star in Asia.
Other activities at the festival
- A VR zone where you can experience Macao via a virtual simulation
- Lion dance
- Panda pavilion
- CYR wheel
ON October 27 to 28, 11 am to 10 pm
AT High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel
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