A Chinese Dinner in Style
As the sun was setting in Macau, we head off from the old Cotai district (where we strolled around the pond with elegant lotus flowers) back to the main peninsula. Dazzling lights of the city reminded us of the new metropolitan face of this old Portuguese colony.
We were soon entering the Grand Lisboa Hotel where we had booked a table for dinner. The Grand Lisboa Hotel and its casino has been famous in this part of the country, since before the licensing of casinos to foreign investors, this has been the only place in China where you can legally gamble. The Hotel, over the years, did not lose any of its glamour, instead it even opened a whole new wing – a skyscraper styled like a giant lotus topped with a glass dome, now a symbolic building sitting on the shores of Macau.
We found ourselves seated in the Eight, a Michelin starred Chinese restaurant. Once we have bypassed the busy casino outside the restaurant, we found that the entrance of the restaurant was nothing short of a show. You have to travel through a narrow and dark hallway, with waterfall on both sides, lighted by LED lights of animated swimming fish, before entering the restaurant itself. Once inside, you can find no windows, and the interior design is all dark – posh, mysterious dark – in contrast with the bright hanging crystal chandelier and spotlights. The strong effect of design was controversial, since you either feel claustrophobic or admire the luxury in this extraordinary space.
A few dishes on the menu were impressive in delighting our palate. For the appetizer, we ordered Braised Sliced Yunnan Ham Topped with Mashed Potatoes and Chrysanthemun. It was a mouthwatering mixture of Chinese and Western cuisine – the Chinese-styled cured ham blended well with the soft texture of the mashed potatoes rich in butter and honey, and of course a touch of Chrysanthemun flowers.
Next we had the signature dish of the restaurant: Suckling Pig Stuffed with Fried Rice and Preserved Meat. The aroma of the fat of the suckling pig melted in the rice, and the pleasure in eating this dish was unforgettable for a meat-lover.
And another impressive dish was Barbecued Pork with Foie Gras. The generous portion of goose liver was lightly grilled and placed on top of traditional barbecued pork. The drink was complimentary – we recognized it by the strong scent of Hong Kong styled milk tea.
To end this extraordinary culinary adventure, we had the Puff Pastry with Red Wine Pear. I know it says Pear on the menu, but you can never imagine what it looked like, three minuscule pears sitting on the plate, each filled with pieces of red wine-marinated pear. It was a delicate and delicious dessert, with a touch of luxury like the restaurant itself.
The Eight has much more to offer than what I wrote in this series. During lunch, you can find traditional Chinese dim-sum with a modern twist, some say it has the best dim-sum in Macau. We also declined the attempt to order the really luxurious food items, ranging from abalone to bird’s nest to shark fin soup… otherwise our wallets may become much lighter.
Each hotel in Macau tries hard to differentiate itself from others. The Grand Lisboa does it by food – we find every restaurant in the Grand Lisboa excellent and truly deserving star quality. To end this post, below are two interesting images, one from the Galaxy Hotel which has a spectacular laser display of man-made crystals near its entrance, the other is the decorative ceiling sculpture shaped like a tiger on the amazing dome-roof of the Wynn Hotel.
Thanks for reading and Bon Appetit!