If you’re in Macau and you’re feeling hungry head to Rua do Cunha – sounds like a dictum – it well might be, especially if like me, you’re a confirmed foodie.
Part of old Taipa, this food street is a Macau cuisine sampler at its best. And believe me when I tell you that your nose will guide you there - your nostrils will be tickled by the aroma of pastry, smoothies, desserts and beef jerky well before you reach the place. At first look, Rua do Cunha is quite unimpressive. A cobblestoned street about twenty feet wide stretching for about 400 feet, give or take a few.
However enter Rua do Cunha and you know that this is foodie paradise. Quite commercial, some hardsell, touristy – its all of that – however, it is populated by eateries whose produce is renowned across food blogs worldwide. Some of the food sold here such as almond cookies, phoenix egg rolls and beef jerky are the stuff of legend. I decided to take the food blogs’ Rua do Cunha eatery recommendations at their word – and I must say I wasn’t disappointed at all.
The Portuguese word “pastelaria” roughly translates to pastry shop or patisserie. The two leading pastelarias in Rua do Cunha are Koi Kei (which has two branches here), and Fong Kei. While Koi Kei seems to have the benefit of more aggressive marketing and branding, Fong Kei has its own cult following which is all too understandable given its century old heritage!
Koi Kei is most well known for its almond cookies and then for its candies and beef / pork jerky including honey premium pork, pork fillet, chili sauce on beef.
Fong Kei is famous for its almond cookies with pork fillings. While I grant that doesn’t sound very appetizing, try it like I did – and perhaps like me, you too will understand why it is the signature dish of this pastelaria.
The most celebrated restaurant on Rua do Cunha is undoubtedly "O Santos" Comida Portuguesa, especially if what you’re looking for is authentic Portuguese food – you know that’s true because it comes recommended by the Portuguese residents of Macau no less. If you go there, you might be able to meet the owner chef Mr. O Santos as well, who we understand was a one time naval chef. His restaurant walls show off pictures of Portugal and Portuguese football souvenirs and the mood is clearly déjà vu Portugal. The menu is home cooked Portuguese style roast meats and grilled seafood (more authentic Portuguese food than is served at Fernando’s Restaurant on Hac Sa Beach)
If you can take the smell, try Gelatina Mok Yee Kei’s durian based offerings – I did go there, but not being enough of a durian lover, I passed. But I did not pass the ginger candy store that sits opposite O Santos and am I glad I didn’t. They offer handmade ginger candy, a lethal taste combination of spicy and sweet – try it if you’re used to the taste of ginger in your home cuisine, as most of us from India are.
Some other Rua do Cunha recommendations from Macau’s discerning locals, that regrettably, I was unable to try out:
O' Manuel cozinha Portuguesa – reportedly serves the best grilled Bacalhau and grilled sardines in Macau
Galo - well known for Portuguese cuisine classics
Dom Galo - Macanese-Portuguese restaurant reputed for its Bacalhau, seafood dishes, and Portuguese style steaks
Seng Cheong - famous for its Crab Porridge
Antonio Restaurante – renowned for authentic, flavourful Portuguese food
Amagao – a private-kitchen-style restaurant serving much sought after Portuguese-Macanese food