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Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Macau

Yes this airs later this evening, but it should be interesting.

According to the travel channel website one of the supposed stops is Lord Stow's which lays claim to inventing the Portugese baked egg tart. Lord Stow's ex-wife supposedly went off on her own, and her shop is where Samantha Brown visited on her show's Macau visit.

In the behind the scenes photo (foward to #12 of 13)


we see Tony eating at a street vendor. I recognize blog photos of this beef offal specialist shop, called 楊六記, one of few remaining old school dai pai dong's in Macau. All sorts of parts including eyes, throat, "whip" (ox penis), intestines, pancreas, and the ilk. So it does not surprise me that he pays a visit, but the food does otherwise look good (and cheap too, given the amount of labor going into prepping).

You can find more photos here of this beef offal/beef offal congee stall



Hong Kong food media and bloggers have practically invaded Macau, overexposing once local great low key eats into tourist destinations, which the flood started over a year ago. There are a few other places Tony might have visited, but we'll wait and see.

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  1. IMO it was a pretty decent episode, especially once the opening sequence on gambling got out of the way. Bourdain always seems to do well with episodes set in East Asia. Worth a watch for anyone who missed it the first time around.

    Food looked pretty good. Early in the episode, I liked the crispy chicken skin that was glazed and looked more like pork skin - I'll have to look into that trick.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cowboyardee

      I enjoyed it, especially the food parts. I hadn't realized the Portuguese influences were so prominent. I remember from reading Shogun (one of my all time favorite novels) that there was a very important Portuguese run silk trade between Macau and Japan but that was about the extent of my knowledge.

      1. re: cowboyardee

        He does do really well when he's shooting overseas. His stateside podcast rarely reflect the same passion.

      2. it always amazes me that with all their resources and still they don't even bother doing any research. hey Tony, first of all let's make it crystal clear, pastei de nata was not invented by the 'lord'!

        have tried them at LS and in Portugal and i must say LS's version is meh. too eggy. i don't get why all the praises. mincing my words here. i rather like those from an egg tart bakery in HK (Central) and .they also don't really taste like real pastei de nata.

        1. Liked the episode. Although I'm not a fan of pork chops, I was craving a fried pork chop sandwich after watching.

          1. didnt like it ....very slow paced no real flow seemed to be tossed together and over ten mins was gambling....

            1. It would be interesting to see this back to back with the Samantha Brown episode. I saw it some time ago, and vaguely remember the egg tarts.

              1. Will be shown again at 8 pm on Sunday 24 July and Monday 25 July, and at 3 pm on Tuesday 26 July, for those who, like me, are bitterly disappointed they didn't see it last night. Had some of the best food of my life in Macau, back in the day.

                1. I still haven't seen the whole show yet, but can predict what it would be like based on various comments and also caught a few youtube clips.

                  A few comments:

                  The Macau style Portugese egg tart, I believe did come from Lord Stow's, and perhaps it was modified to suit local tastebuds, although taking the idea from pastei de nata. It has a much shorter history (1960s?) versus the Hong Kong style egg tart, which originated around 1920s to 1930s in Guangzhou, when local department stores tried to attract more customers by offering these delicious morsels, derived from British custard tarts that had little resemblance in taste and texture. Again, modified for local tastes.

                  The pork chop bun shop (and its signature snack) is very famous and has become a tourist destination stop for visitors within Mainland China, and from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, SE Asia (Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand). Half hour waits are common. The eatery has a 40 to 50 year history and there's an interesting story behind this place....the grandma (current owner) is approaching 79 and switched professions after working in a fireworks factory, got sick of multiple explosions from her line of work, and had to feed 10 kids of her own, and thus went the way of the coffee shop. It wasn't until a nearby city government worker (a Macau born Portugese man) who told her she should put a piece of pork chop in a fresh baked bun, who worked in an adjacent building, and the rest is history. So according to Tony, that very man should have been given some Jeffersonian award. They make about 600 buns per day and use supposedly Canadian flour according to a Chinese video clip on youtube. The pork is marinated and oven baked (think I saw some bay leaves in there), and then fried.

                  The pork chop bun in Macau is kind of like the pastrami sandwich in NY, with the shop being equivalent in status amongst foodies and the ilk, like Katz. Some locals and in the know types steer clear and have found comparable stalls that offer this item. If only Bourdain's local contacts had him try local cheap coffee brewed in a medicinal Chinese claypot....

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: K K

                    pork or beef (marinated in wine and garlic, and yes of course bay leaves.) in a roll is called bifana/prego no pão (respectively). they are common savoury snacks in Portugal. i remember seeing trailers at the beach and on the street sell these meat filled rolls. anyways, if not in Portugal, it's so easy to make your own.

                    1. re: Pata_Negra

                      Hmmm that sounds really good. Meat in a bun or roll. Reminds me of those dinner roll Pillsbury type HK buns with minced spicy curry beef hash inside. Extra points if those rolls were more like puff pastry, messy and flakey delicious.

                      I remember seeing this pork chop bun place on a Hong Kong food show....about 10 to 11 years ago. It was a fad then to take the jetfoil from Sheung Wan Hong Kong to Macau, spend a day to either gamble, sightsee, and/or eat some buns, then go back.

                      The latest craze amongst HK foodies in the past year is to still gamble and splurge, but for those seeking street and authentic eats, go further and deeper into the Chinese/Cantonese side of the spectrum. Interestingly lots of Hong Kongers went to Macau to seek out the old time flavors, many of which are not well preserved in HK, but still somehow barely thrive in Macau. Ever seen that Bourdain Hong Kong episode where he ate dried shrimp roe lo mein egg noodles? Well, they are supposedly way better in Macau. That beef offal parts specialist stall that was in the behind the scenes photo, is another local food icon, too bad not even given anycoverage beyond the snapshots. There is a dim sum tea house in Macau that is almost like a Lin Heung Tea House (Hong Kong) but is even more downscale (and has smaller selection), but has some very interesting ambiance.

                      1. re: K K

                        the roll used in bifana no pao in Portugal is not flakey. i suspect the roll is my favourite kind, which is baked in a steam oven. chewy on the outside.

                        i don''t know which dim sum place i went to (in Macau) but it was really good and cheap. i was wandering round and literally walking right into it. i reimember for sure it was in the centre, in the area of the market which is close to the ruins of St Paul. very low keyed it was kind of 'suspicious'. i thought maybe they were afraid of the Red Men watching every word they were saying. (i was about to delete some old photos and well what did i find... that very dim sum place i just mention: http://tinyurl.com/3f76qbl -minchi photo is also in this thread


                        i did post (on here, but now gone) a photo of chewy yellow noodles with prawn roe i ate in Macau. the restaurant is right across the street from my lodging. both times i hit this place as soon as i checked into the guesthouse! (photos found! http://tinyurl.com/3pl46ff


                        only Lin Heung dimsum for me when in HK.

                        bottom line, these shows should do their research well before shooting considering the vast resources!

                        1. re: Pata_Negra

                          Thanks for linking the pic. Seems like there are not too many famous prawn roe noodle shops in town. The plates are a telling sign that your restaurant is very likely 祥記麵家 Oja Sopa De Fita Cheung Kei



                          Bourdain also missed out an opportunity to try Shunde style Cantonese dumplings (the skins made with fish skins) at a place like this


                          The Lin Heung Tea House equivalent in Macau is called 龍華茶樓 or Casade Cha Long Wa, and is a lot more smaller scale in nature


                          Click on the photo album and there are 5 pages worth, and the inside is super old school like it never changed since it opened. The poached chicken dish looks delicious.

                      2. re: Pata_Negra

                        First ever prego (beef) at the Lisboa in 1981, fresh off the ferry from HK and starving. What a great sandwich!!! And quite a change from what we were eating in HK and Taipei at the time.

                        1. re: buttertart

                          another great sandwich is with roasted pork (supposed to be suckling but can be up to 6 weeks old pig) called 'Leitão assado à Bairrada'. a very well known speciality from Bairrada. i had mine with a beer not realising til much later that it's best to wash down with Portuguese sparkling wine. i did see people at nearby tables eating these sandwiches with whole bottles of sparkling wine but it didn't occur to me then. not much info in Engrish but i found this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2010...

                          @KK, it was proably Cheung Kei. i did take a photo of the shop sign but don't have my CD with me here to check. and thanks for all the other links, the food looks so good as usual!

                    2. I thought the episode was lacking. IMO they had about a 30 minute episode filmed, then realized it and had to add in the filler. Go-carts and bunjee jumping are not exactly unique things to Macau but did take up about 11 minutes of on air time.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Befuness

                        The episode could've done away with the go-cart scene as that can be enjoyed in almost any country. Other then that it was a pretty well produced episode. Especially like how Tony asks the difficult questions about nationality and ethnic originality.

                      2. Any favorite versions of Minichee (the ground pork comfort food)?

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: paulj

                          Thanks for asking this. I was wondering about it as well, but didn't catch the name clearly. Here's a recipe I googled:

                          Does this sound like the real thing?

                          1. re: The Librarian

                            Elsewhere that recipe is identified as coming from Martin Yan's Chinatowns TV series and book.

                            1. re: paulj

                              Better search results if you type minchee or minchi


                              Looks a lot like corned beef hash :-)

                              1. re: K K

                                Your second video, using cellophane noodles, makes a dish I've usually seen translated as 'ants climb a tree'.

                        2. This was actually one of my favorite episodes in a while. I understand this is a food board and I enjoy watching Tony experience the local cuisine, but it is also about culture. A lot of CH'ers also complained about the Cuba episode because of the baseball scenes, but baseball is to Cubans as gambling is to the city of Macau. A lot of NR episodes involve Tony trying to think deep thoughts, this one was fun and like he says in the end, was more about him having a good time. Nothing wrong with that.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: nextguy

                            Finally had a chance to watch it (through youtube).

                            Have to say that Tony only scratched the surface. The part about gambling was fun to watch, but he really missed out on the high end dining scene at other casinos. Of course there's no need for him to showcase L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, but there are some really high end Chinese places at for example Wynn's, where one restaurant specializes in Imperial cuisine with Cantonese roots (Tam's style).

                            The steamed rice rollades with multiple sauces...it's a Guangzhou and Hong Kong street food snack and quite common. Sam Brown had the same thing (ju cheong fun) in her visit to Malaysia. The "fatty" comment made by Bourdain is actually in reference to the slippery smoothness of the rolled rice noodle, paired with the various sauces. I think going to the prawn roe noodle shop specialist places would have been better, and having local crab congee (another specialty dish).

                            Steamed milk custard/pudding...or Cantonese "dun lai". It is interesting that the place where they went, actually has a location in Hong Kong. Although I'm not sure if the shop originated in Macau first then opened in HK or the other way around. I think Andrew Zimmern might have went to one of those custard shops? in his Hong Kong episode of Bizzare Foods.

                            1. re: nextguy

                              Spot on. I think you hit the nail on the head. Ch'ers overlook the beauty of AB's style and finesse. He always asks the questions that matter most about the cuisine.

                            2. Was able to watch this recently and thought the episode was one of the weaker NRs which is either b/c there's nothing much to talk about in Macau outside of thrill seeking and Michelin star dining, or Macau is the kind of place you have to immerse yourself into.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Leadmine

                                I think you miss the point. Weak no. I could sense the tension between Tony and his host in this one. The lady was visibly tense from the type of questions Tony was asking. Many of the hosts appeared to be very sensitive about questions of identity and ethnic origin.