One of the best ways to get to know a place is through its food. Luckily, our trip to Macau featured lots of it. From their famous pastries to street food to high-end dining, we had an enjoyable variety of food adventures so my biggest challenge here would be to recall them all.
We arrived at Macau in the evening, so the first thing on our agenda was to grab a late dinner. Together with fellow bloggers Nina, Christine, Ferdz, Estan and Ivan, and our Macau Government Tourism Office hosts Charina and Joao, we went off to Travessa da Saudade to meet “The Little Turtle”, a popular noodle master who cooks at that street corner.
Like most street cooks, Uncle Turtle was pretty laid back. Dressed casually with a pair of wire-rimmed glasses perched on his nose, you wouldn’t have guessed how wonderful his food was. Watching him was a delight. After prepping noodles and other ingredients in the pan, he’d carefully raise the heat and saute frantically, shaking his pan this way and that to blend the flavors and to let the food cook evenly. It was a quick affair. It only takes him a minute or two, but the end result still yielded flavorful noodles.
After watching him cook, we stepped inside the restaurant he cooks for. Filled with small tables and diners looking for simple fare, it really wasn’t much to look at. I wasn’t able to catch the name of the place–Joao simply told us that it translated to Little Turtle. Since none of us could read Chinese, we left it at that.
Despite having an all Chinese menu, foreigners will be able to eat there as the walls are lined with photographs of the popular dishes. Just point at what you want to eat, then pray they understand you. We tried three noodle dishes—beef, octopus and pork.
The beef noodle dish had flat rice noodles that were very similar to Chinese Hofan, beef strips, spring onions and bean sprouts. We all agreed that it was quite similar to Singapore’s Char Kway Teow—it felt like a lighter version of it. While I find CKT delicious, I can never eat much of it because of the heavy flavors. This one doesn’t overwhelm your tastebuds as much.
The octopus noodle dish is reminiscent of pancit canton, with its egg noodles and seafood bits. We were told that it had octopus but I wonder if it was the way they cooked it or if something was lost in translation and it was squid.