Waking up at early hours was not tough, as it signified the start of a long, long journey ahead. The sun rises at earlier hours compared to Malaysia. Probably the more "eastern" coordinate? Breakfast was easy, as we walked to Largo do Senado and looked for Wong Chi Kei Congee & Noodles, a trusted name since 1946 (or so they claim). They have a total of four outlets in Macau and Hong Kong.
The noodles is of decent quality, though the previous night's dinner at Cheong Kei fared slightly better. The Pork Chop Bun, a Macau specialty (there's another at Taipa Village, which triggers hysteria & fanaticism, with queues from 45mins-1 hour or more at a cafe named Tai Lee Loi Kee) was not too impressive, slightly dry but still flavoursome. A notch better than Malaysia's HK-style cafe's offerings. The toast was disappointingly mediocre. All for MOP$63 (RM28.35).
Address : 17, Largo do Senado, Macau.
Branches at : (No. 51 r/c, Ruo Cinco de Outubro, Macau), (G/F 15B, Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong), and (Shop 6P051, Skyplaza Hong Kong International Airport Chek Lap Kok)
After breakfast, we walked around Largo do Senado a bit, savouring the sights and sounds while clicking away. One interesting note is that, Sundays in Macau = Holidays for maids. Therefore, you'll notice the number of maids (not sure if they're Filipino though, but looks like it) running around town, mingling with each other, and hanging around the square, fully maximizing their day off.
We reached the Ruins of St. Paul's, the landmark of Macau, and a must-visit for tourists to Macau. It's merely a few minutes walk from Largo do Senado, therefore reaching there was not a hassle.Now a shadow of its former glorious self, the Cathedral of St.Paul's, built in the 17th century Random shots at Museum of Macau, and Fortress Armourial Gate around the Ruins of St.Paul's
If you're having the impression that visiting the dilapitated & rundown Ruins promises nothing but mere photography moments, you're half right, and half wrong. Right in the sense that, yes, it's indeed a great spot for trigger-happy (camera-wise, I meant) aficionados, but around the Ruins, you'll also be able to learn about the historical background of Macau at Museu de Macau, witness the war-torn Fortress Armourial Gate in all its glory, and relish the greeneries (albeit scarcely scattered) at the garden next to the Ruins. There's also a Crypt and a Museum of Sacred Art located underground, which was slightly creepy.Goodbye seas of people .... Inside of the Lou Kau Mansion, built in 1889, owned by the Lou family, a heritage building with its authenticity preserved quite astoundingly. SNACKS time! Cafe E.S.Kimo - Green Tea with Milk and Tapioca Pearls, and Lemon Cello Gelato's trademark lemon cello flavour
People were queuing up for some thirst-quenchers at Cafe E.S.Kimo at Largo do Senado. And we did not lose out. The large plastic cups of their famous Milk Tea with Milk & Tapioca Pearls were selling like hot cakes (or cold drinks) on a sunny, scorching day. For MOP$10 (RM4.50) per cup, it was well worth the queue, as my Green Tea with Milk and chewy pearls was perfect to counter the loss in water and electrolytes from all the walking. =)
Lemon Cello Gelato, also situated at the square is famous for their brand of healthy Italian style ice-cream, or famously known as gelato. Opened since 2005, it is at a small lane near to Lou Kau Mansion, which is near to a small fountain. Sorry, my bad for lack of directional skills. At MOP$20 (RM9) per scoop, the gelato certainly doesn't come cheap, but the variety of funky flavours (from Durian to Mango, and Chilli Chocolate to Strawberry) and the healthier choice made up for the price paid.
We then walked to Margaret's Cafe e Nata, famous for Portuguese egg tarts, a Macau's specialty. But wait for it at the end of the post .... =PRuo do Cunha (Koon Yeh Kai in Chinese) - Durian Ice Cream & Serradura from Gelatina Mok Yi Kei, & Tau Fu Fah from a stall at a backlane named Ruo des Clerigos
We then proceeded to Grand Lisboa Casino, at the southern end of Macau peninsula. Macau's separated into different sections, FYI. There's Macau peninsula, Taipa Islands and Coloane Islands separated from the peninsula by a few bridges. Getting from the peninsula to the islands is easy, taking bus No. 33 (that we know of) for MOP$3.30 (RM1.50) to cross over.
We stopped at Ruo do Cunha, a tourist street with various restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, and bakeries. Gelatina Mok Yi Kei at a corner was swarmed with patrons, gleefully digging into small cups of desserts, from puddings to ice-cream. But their signature Durian Ice-Cream is in a class of its own, VERY creamy and rich, extremely fragrant (or smelly, depending if you're for/against durians) and you can even see the fibres of durian flesh in the confectionery. Another must-try dessert in Macau is the signature Serradura (or the aptly named Sawdust Pudding), a creamy concoction of cream and condensed milk topped with smooth shavings of cookie crumbs. Total for both cups? MOP$19 (RM8.55) only. But the serving's pretty stingy.Ruo do Cunha's Famous Souvenir Shop ... at a corner of Largo Sanches Miranda, with a red flag written MACAU STAMPS
If you're bogged by friends, relatives, family members, or even colleagues on some souvenirs, you can get them here at this shop (forgot the name, but it's along Ruo do Cunha). The proprietor proudly claimed that most of Macau's souvenirs, from key chains to fridge magnets, and funkier stuff like the Portuguese chicken ornaments and postcards are HIS creation, and he sells them wholesale to other outlets. Wow, bragging rights? ^_^
Then we walked all the way, from Taipa Village to The Venetian, a newly-opened extraordinaire of a casino/resort/hotel situated at the Cotai Strip in Macau, giving Las Vegas a run for its money. But owned by the famous Las Vegas Sands Corporation, the puzzle's falling into place, no?You're literally transformed into another world inside of the third largest building in the world
One of the biggest casino in the world, if not THE biggest, The Venetian prides itself as the pioneer of GRAND casino in Macau, plus an astounding 3000 suites for accomodation purposes. There's also an arena for international concerts, and you can bet your bottom dollar artistes from all over the world are flocking to the Venetian to perform. And since July 2008, Cirque du Soleil is performing ZAIA on a permanent basis, a 90 minute mega production at a dedicated theatre.The Crab Porridge, Mace & Squid Balls, and Lotus Leaf Chicken at Seng Cheong
To get to the Venetian, take a shortcut at the bus stop where you first alighted at the beginning of Ruo do Cunha. The stairs leading up at Escada Do Coxo will take you to Venetian within 15-20 minutes walk. For an early dinner, we took a queue number for a taste of Crab Porridge at Seng Cheong at Ruo do Cunha.
The place is densely packed during peak hours, therefore either go for an early dinner, or a very late dinner. The crab porridge is served in BIG or SMALL portion. We were stumped, as our BIG portion arrived with one solitary crab. Hmm, if we chose the SMALL serving, will the crab be cut in half? We wondered. The porridge was very sweet from the crab's roes and essence, but too diluted for our palates. The Fried Mace and Squid Balls dipped inthe black vinegar were yummy, very densely-packed balls of goodness, with springy texture. The chicken cooked in lotus leaf was nothing to shout about though. Total damage? MOP$237 (RM106.70).
After dinner we strolled along the banks of the Macanese houses, a popular spot for movies and dramas. I'm sure you would have noticed this stretch in Return of the Cuckoo, a TVB drama some time ago starring Julian Cheung and Charmaine Sheh.
We took a bus back to Avenida al Almeida Ribeiro/Sun Ma Lou and refreshed our sticky/sweaty selves in San Va Hotel. Then we went for a walk later in the night, right until the border of the peninsula, basking in the spectacularly vibrant and lively stretch of casinoes along the main road.Casino Lisboa - A Classic in its own Rights
We witnessed some dazzling display of fireworks near the Macau Tower, as the International Fireworks Competition was being held during the weekends. A brilliant and grande way to end the day ....Margaret's Cafe e Nata - A hidden gem, but not a secret anymore?
As I've promised, a shot of Margaret's cafe somewhere at a backlane, off Avenida de D. Joao IV. From a main crossroads with traffic lights before you reach Grand Lisboa casino, coming from Largo do Senado's direction, you'll notice the small signboard pointing to this cafe on your left. If lost, ask the locals. IF, they're friendly enough to care ....Delightful, smooth and creamy Portuguese Egg Tart (MOP$7/RM3.20)
Margaret's popular for a reason. Their Portuguese egg tarts are quality material. Flaky pastry, enveloping a smooth, creamy, and milky filling of slightly burnt egg custard, you've gotta try them at least once. But actually, Baker's Cottage's Portuguese egg tart remains my preference, maybe I've an aversion to anything richer in milk.
So ends the second day of my Macau adventure ... The next post? My Macau to Hong Kong transition. Finally. =)