Sunday, May 28, 2023

Second Act

I extended the stay in Macau in late April with a second night at the Wynn Palace just a short hop away. Not much have changed since our last stay here (too many years ago) with the iconic floral ferris wheel art installation sat in front of the hotel lobby, and I felt we were completely spoiled by the Wynn PR team’s hospitality when I realized they put us up in the mega spacious Parlor Suite, completed with walk-in closet, powder room, two bathrooms and a jacuzzi tub. It was just perfect as I ended up spending quite a bit of time staying in to finish up some work (yes, someone still go a full time job to do) 

Our first meal was at Wing Lei Palace right downstairs. I had fond memories of Chef Tam’s excellent cooking at this Michelin-starred restaurant with the jaw-dropping fountain view so it’s great to be back after 3 long years. “Just a few simple homestyle dish I have prepared for you,” he quipped as he walked in before our meal began. Of course, ended up it’s nothing but “simple”, or “few”…

With the fancy tea ceremony and welcome drink served, we started with a few dim-sum dishes. The Clam Spring Rolls was the most interesting one, with local venus clams (Fa Gaap) served as filling inside the crispy spring rolls rather than pork. Then it was the hearty bowl of double-boiled soup with pork shank and conch with a nice hint of aged mandarin peel aroma, followed by the sauteed garoupa fillet with vegetables, prepared using whatever fresh catch Chef Tam managed to find in the market earlier in the morning. 

This was the time when we realized the menu printed and displayed on our table was just a reference only as more off-menu dishes were brought in. I love the charsiu done using the pork belly cut with nice layer of fat and well-charred crust, then it’s the Shuntak style sauteed milk with local prawns. The scrambled egg white and milk was perfectly done with nice fluffy texture accented by the crunchy Chinese olive nuts on top, and underneath was the small prawns with a good bite and umami flavor and slices of fried fritters (油條)

The whole duck was presented at our table before being carved into pieces to serve. It’s roasted in traditional “Pipa” style, the old-school Cantonese way of marinating the whole duck with spaces then flatten and roast vertically on a metal stick on Lychee wood fire. This way the fire can reach the bird more evenly hence it’s more evenly cooked and with crispier skin. This is definitely one of the best versions I have tried. 

Casserole of beef offals was brought in as another surprise dish, with various internal parts of Japanese wagyu beef done in traditional marinate (soy sauce, rock sugar, star anise, peppers). “I am saving you a trip and one hour of waiting time at Cunha Street,” joked Chef Tam, referring to the now most popular street food stalls at the most popular shopping street in Macau, with people (mostly tourists) often waiting for hours to buy and enjoy a small bowl of beef offals on the street.  

More traditional Cantonese dishes came our way, including the pan-seared stuffed tofu with the aromatic salted fish and dumpling skin “noodles” with crab meat served in supreme broth. Just when we thought we were done with savory courses (the noodles were often served as the last course), more dishes arrived at our table, including the baked Spanish Mackerel fillet with Portuguese curry sauce, Pork Knuckles and Duck feet and web marinated Chiu-chow style. 

Afterwards it’s five courses of desserts – yes you heard it right – including my favorite baked sago pudding served on a large deep dish. I also love the steamed sugar cane juice rolls, an old dish that no one made these days because of the time and effort needed.  

We were served with a nice flight of wines and tea during the course of our meal. Oh scratch that – “nice” was an understatement and in fact, they were exquisite. The 2007 Lucien le Moine Mazis-Chambertin was the perfect match for the duck with the hint of smoke and rich red fruit characters, and approached its peak too with over a decade aging. A cup of well-aged Pu Erh tea was always the great digestif to end a Chinese meal with, and this one was aged and fermented in bamboo stick. This controlled environment for fermentation gave the tea a more rounded, balanced taste with a hint of refreshing aroma too. 

Not a bad way to kick off the "second act" of my Macau trip. Not shabby at all.

More photos of our visit:

When? April 27 2023
Where? Wing Lei Palace at Wynn Palace Macau, Avenida da Nave, Desportiva, Cotai, Macau
Menu Highlights? Lychee Wood Grilled Pipa duck
2007 Champagne Tattinger Comtes de Champagne Grad Crus Blanc de Blancs
2007 Lucien le Moine Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru
2017 Jean-Marc Roulot Meursault Premier Cru “Genevrieres”

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