Saturday, January 23, 2016

Morning in Old Town Macau

When our friend J (of Chicken Scrawlings) offered to organize a mini Macau food crawl for the group including lunch at her husband's restaurant which has just been awarded with a second Michelin star, it's something hard to pass up. And I figure we may as well turn that into an overnight stay in Macau to make it a "stay-cation" so we can try out more new places at a more leisurely pace.

The weather may not be the best for a weekend getaway with rainy weather looming, but luckily for a short while during Saturday morning just as we stepped out of ferry in Macau, the rain briefly stopped. We took a cab and headed towards our first stop of Nam Peng Cafe (南屏雅敘), a classic cha chaan teng located in the old part of Macau known as the Inner Harbor on the west side of the Macau peninsula.

Even looking at the facade of this 50-year-old restaurant on a side street would bring you the nostalgic memory with the jade-color tiles and the shop sign mode out of stone written in classic calligraphy and sculpted by hand hanging just above the entrance. The interior of the restaurant is reminiscent of any old-style local diner that one can only see in movies these days, with glass cabinet displaying the fresh pastries right behind the cashier, the dining area with round and booth tables, and the kitchen at the back.

By the time we arrived in the late morning, the place was fairly packed, mostly with locals. The all-day menu features classic cha chaan teng items - sandwiches, noodles in soup, pastries, hot and cold drinks etc - and listed underneath the glass tabletop. We were told the sandwiches were the must-order items here so we picked a couple of those to share among the four of us, along with a couple of pastry items from the glass cabinet display at the front.

First to arrive was a sweet egg puff pastry known locally as "Sa Yung" (沙翁) in Cantonese. It almost looked like a Beignet and may have come from overseas once upon a time, but we now affectionately called this our own, though these days it's hard to find a place that carries them anymore. It's best when it's deep-fried and slightly cooled down til you can hold with your hands comfortably, with a generous coating of granulated sugar around and soft and fluffy inside. The sweet "dinner roll" was another local breakfast staple, and we had ours with a couple thick slices of pan-fried spam as filling. It certainly brought back good childhood memories.

And the hot sandwiches were just as gorgeous. In between slices of white bread were a generous portion of fluffy scrambled eggs (almost twice as thick as the bread) and a choice of fillings. The Nam Peng Sandwich, their signature item, is the one with ham and char siu (or barbecue pork), and we also ordered another one with just the char siu. Having chunks of barbecued pork as sandwich filling is not as common as say, ham or spam, but we loved this combination for better taste and a good bite.

Where? Nam Peng Cafe, 85 Rua de Cinco de Outubro, Macau
南屏雅敘 澳門新馬路十月初五街85-85A號地下
Menu Highlights? Nam Ping Sandwich with eggs, char siu and ham

We were glad the weather was still holding up well just as we finished our pasties and sandwiches and milk tea, so we made a slow stroll to our second stop through the narrow streets in Old Town Macau just before our lunch reservation.

Communal Table is a relatively new neighborhood cafe on Rua Formosa, a stone's throw away from Senado Square, another major tourist attraction. Macau has caught up with the trend of artisan cafes and coffee houses and Communal table was one of them. The setup was similar to what we would find in Hong Kong - the shop is in industrial-chic style, and at the front was a mini pantry serving a limited food menu and the coffee counter. Coffees were available by hand-pour or cold drip, or you could always go for the classic espresso drinks, with either single origin beans or the house-blend one.

At the back was a big wooden communal table, or a few smaller ones if you need more privacy. I can totally imagine the enclave is perfect for hanging out in a lazy afternoon, but for us, it's for a quick affogato which was delicious and with just the right dose of caffeine poured on a simple scoop of vanilla icecream (or one with Uji matcha instead of coffee if you want something different). A sweet one for the road.

Where? Communal Table, 29C Rua Formosa, Macau 澳門美麗街29號
Menu Highlights? Coffee and Affogato

(Macau Food Crawl - Part 1)

1 comment :

julianaloh @bilbaobab said...

yay! glad you enjoyed! see you all soon in Macau!