Friday, December 23, 2016

Fifty Shades of Spices - Feng Wei Ju

We went for an early dinner in Macau before taking the evening ferry home to conclude our whirlwind weekend getaway. I have heard good words on Feng Wei Ju, the Sichuan restaurant at Starworld Hotel from our friends, plus they were one of those places that opened early for dinner service, so we decided to check it out.

A short hop from the sister property Galaxy Macau from Taipa by the shuttle bus, we arrived at Starworld Hotel located in "downtown Macau" and went straight up to the fifth floor to the restaurant. We weren't the most tolerant person in terms of eating spicy food, but we decided not to ask them to tame the dishes down so we got the original flavors. And while most of the dishes were spicy, they were not to the point of being unbearable.

The cold appetizer of marinated mung bean noodles with raw vegetables was the one listed on the first page on the menu and we were attracted by the fancy and colorful plating. It arrived just like what's displayed in the menu, with finely julienned vegetables (some raw, some pickled) piled on both sides, then the thick transparent "glass noodles" made of mung bean was in the middle. After the obligatory photo op, the waitstaff came to mix and toss everything together with the spicy sesame dressing. While the ingredients were decent, the star of the dish was definitely the sauce, with a good balance of chilies, vinegar and sesame paste and a bit of hot, tangy and nutty tastes.

Another cold appetizer came next, with shredded chicken on top of cucumber strips, mixed with "spicy sesame sauce". But this time, the sesame flavor was more dominant with accent of the Sichuan pepper taste. We opted for a light dinner so we ordered only one hot main dish to share, along with some home-style dumplings. Osmanthus clams, or more precisely viscera of sea cucumber, was sautéed with a few different types of chilies and peppers, along with celery and mushrooms. The clams had a chewy bite and good flavors; the dish wasn’t too spicy, at least until you accidentally bit into one of those super hot sichuan peppers on the vine. The pork and vegetables dumpling, aka “Hong you chao shou” (紅油抄手), were boiled and served with red chili oil at the bottom like the classic Sichuan version. The wrapper was thicker than Cantonese wontons, but held up to the hot sauce much better with tasty filling.

And finally one non-spicy dish, which was the dessert. They got an interesting choice of desserts mainly made up of sweet snacks common in Northern China. The one we ordered was one of the most traditional, known as Lu Da Gun 驢打滾, or literally Rolling Donkey. It’s a roll made of rice flour and red bean and date paste and bits of peanuts, dusted with ground peanuts and sweet soybean flour outside. It’s chewy and sweet and great to balance all the heat from our savory dishes.

Not in the position to argue whether the restaurant justified two Michelin stars, but I reckon the dishes were spot-on, and for that caliber and location, this is perhaps the place which offered best value for money, and an ideal venue for an early or late dinner which doesn’t need a reservation.

More photos on:

When? December 4 2016
Where? Feng Wei Ju, 5th Floor, StarWorld Hotel, Avenida da Amizade, Macau
Menu Highlights? Sauteed Osmanthus Clams with Red Peppers

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