Try the world’s first fusion food – in the backstreets of Macau

Powered by article titled “Try the world’s first fusion food – in the backstreets of Macau” was written by John Brunton, for The Guardian on Sunday 10th September 2017 11.30 UTC

Macau attracts some 30 million visitors a year, drawn by its pastel baroque churches, ancient Chinese temples and (mostly) vast casinos that dwarf even Las Vegas’s. But Macau can also claim to be home to one of the world’s first fusion cuisines, with Macanese cooking dating back 450 years. It’s a blend of Cantonese flavours mixed with ingredients like olives and chorizo from Portugal, which ruled here from the 1550s until 1997, and exotic tastes and spices such as coconut milk, cloves, turmeric, cinnamon and fiery piri piri from around Portugal’s empire – Mozambique, Brazil, Goa, Malaysia.

The result is striking dishes like the Macanese take on Brazilian feijoada, using wind-dried Chinese sausage and black pudding, with kidney beans replacing black beans. Macanese tamarind pork is succulent ribs braised with aromatic balichao shrimp paste. Even the local version of fried rice is transformed by adding diced raw green peppers and black olives.

Aida de Jesus, owner of the Riquexo Cafe and the unofficial godmother of Macanese cuisine.
Aida de Jesus, owner of the Riquexo Cafe and the unofficial godmother of Macanese cuisine. Photograph: Laurent Fievet/AFP/Getty Images

And then there is the unofficial national dish, minchi. This is ground pork or beef, onions and diced potatoes stir-fried with molasses and soy sauce, and topped with a fried egg and a generous dash of Worcester sauce. The name may come from British “mince”, served in nearby Hong Kong.

To try authentic minchi for about £6, track down Riquexo Cafe (the word means rickshaw) in the backstreets of the old town. This cheap and cheerful canteen was created by the wonderful, 101-year-old Aida de Jesus, unofficial godmother of Macanese cuisine. She still oversees the place with her daughter Sonia, and together they speak Patuá, the fast-disappearing local language that, like the cuisine, is a Macanese fusion.
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Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).