La Famiglia’s vibrance totally reflects the rich heritage behind Macanese cuisine, blending the roots of Chinese with the legacy of Portuguese, expounding an interesting diverse and influence of history in culinary reflected in signature cuisines in Macao. It is a great place to dine in comfort and ambiance filled with positive vibes only. The Macanese Gastronomy was inscribed on the Macao Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2012 and this in my opinion is truly the most accurate identification that constitutes the uniqueness of culinary Macao. Tracing in time from during the 16th and 17th century to the ports of Africa and Southeast Asia, Macanese is the marriage of Portuguese and local Chinese as Portugal inhabit the land that grew not only in size since then. There is influence of international spices traced back from Africa to India and Melaka, with Chinese techniques and ingredients cooked in traditional Portuguese dishes. The birth of this is the delicious Macanese dishes we are having today.
The arrangement and seats were in such of a culture which explicitly highlights the importance of meals being enjoyed in a wholesome manner with family- a rich culture of the Macanese. To start the meal, our host, chef Florita Alves, a Macanese with so much passion in her food and restaurant, welcomed us with an introduction to the most staple Portuguese appetiser with a platter beautifully arranged with a smorgasbord of a combination of Macanese and Portuguese Deep Fried Snacks- the “Sortido.s. de Fritos Macaenses”. At this point, some might have had the same thought that went through my head when these Portuguese names starts popping up. And if you are wondering if Chinese or Macanese in Macao actually still reads Protuguese words? Well I was told only a small percentage does that. Either way the names are still all over the country and that could perhaps spell the root and presence of the heritage. But language aside, the platter is undoubtedly an integration of perfect combination proven not impossible. La Famiglia gave us bites of history and tradition beyond a mere satisfaction on the palate through prominent flavours.
“Sortido.s. de Fritos Macaenses”- Assorted Macanese and Portuguese Deep Fried Snacks (Bacalhau Balls, Chilicote, Chamusas, Rissois, Meat Croquettes, Stuffed Roll Bread
Moving to mains was when the meal becomes even more interesting. Even though I did not personally enjoy the duck rice on its own, I fancy the pairing of it with African Chicken – a Macanese classic dish marinated in a special chilli sauce, grilled and then baked. Others were given in big, bold flavours, whether you’re in the mood for pig or fish. From farm to sea harvest, Macanese cooking sure gives a splash of familiarity to those of us who has tasted the flavours of South East Asia. Take the Suckling Pig for instance. It wasn’t anything too overly different from what’s served at most Chinese weddings, except the pig comes in whole and that it is slightly meatier with the similar Candy crackling-like crispy layer of skin over the meat.
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“Arroz de Pato” Duck Rice
“Galinha Africana” African Chicken – A Macanese classic dish marinated in a special chilli sauce, grilled and baked
“Leitao Assado” Portuguese Suckling Pig – Roasted suckling pig dish marinated in home made spices
My personal favourite has got to be the Portuguese baked cod fish with carrot and cream sauce. It is uncommon to have cod fish in other cooking method aside from the conventional steam or grill. That probably contributes to how I find this particular dish tantalisingly amusing. Florita was kind enough serve the us with simple sautéed vegetable. I can never be anymore grateful. To be honest, I think I might have quietly walloped the entire serving.
Desserts aren’t this famiglia’s strongest suit. But I must emphasize that Portuguese dessert are a lot sweeter than what we Malaysians have accustomed when it comes to sweet profile. And if you follow tightly to my palate then you’d probably know my scale of acceptance when it comes to sweets. However, coconut did earn extra credit for the panna cotta here. Plus the fresh tang from the mango puree, it was good if not great thou I’d still skip this one for anything else on the street perhaps?
If anyone is keen with the history of Macao for most things, in particularly the origin and heritage of Macanese then take a stroll down the lane of exploration at the prominent historical locations. I’ve seen some of the prettiest view and some very photogenic places. Read about my Snacking and Eating down heritage and cultural exploration HERE
This content is made possible by the Macao Govenrment Tourism Office (MGTO) Malaysia when I was invited for a Food Hunt in conjunction with the #2018macaoyearofgastronomy
La Famiglia is located in Taipa at:
Taipa, Ilhas, Macau
76 R. dos Clerigos, Macau
Daily: 12pm- 10:30pm
Tel: +853 2857 6131
Food places I have covered in Macao is also pinned on Gastronomy Macao map , so this hopefully would be a great help for reference for anyone planning on a Macao food trip. Those struggling with Chinese and Portuguese like I do when planning a trip to Macao, you are welcome- navigating in Macau without these two languages was a pain for me! Now this would be so much easier, these places were all blogged HERE