Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fat Siu Liu, Macau by Big Fil

It's often forgotten today just how widespread Portuguese colonies once were. At different times they could be found in areas now part of South America, North, East and Western Africa, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China, Malaysia and Japan. This influenced cooking styles around the world in ways not often appreciated, from Vindaloo to Tempura.

Macanese cuisine consists of a mix of southern Chinese and Portuguese cuisines and can be found in many restaurants in Macau, China. Searching for places known for this type of food we settled on Fat Siu Lau. It took us a little while to find this restaurant, tucked away in what apparently was once a red-light district but which is now full of restaurants and street cafes.

Not knowing much (anything?) about this style of food we relied on what we'd read were the specialities of the house. And not being very hungry we settled on two mains to share and individual desserts. First dish to arrive was the Pombo Assado, which is roasted, marinated pigeon. Neither of us had eaten pigeon before so this was a doubly new experience. When it arrived the dish was dark, almost black. It also looked (and was) quite bony, like a larger quail. The flavour of the pigeon was very dense and meaty for a poultry dish, more hearty than sophisticated. It also felt a little unusual receiving a finger bowl for something other than ribs or crustacean, but after fiddling around with knife and fork hands were definitely the easier way to go.

The second dish was the Spicy African Chicken, Galinha Africana. While this came in a peri-peri style sauce I thought it more slightly warm rather than hot. Again I would describe this more as a rich and hearty dish than a sophisticated one, although it did appear to use a number of unfamiliar spices.

But the dish we both liked most was the dessert. Serradura apparently translates as 'sawdust', referring to the crumbed biscuits used in the recipe. I have since seen a description of this dish as like an ice cream sandwich and it's not a bad description. I assume it's made of frozen condensed milk or a thick whipped cream, layered and then topped with crushed biscuits.

Not really knowing what to expect but hopeful of trying something new, the style of food seemed much closer to a heavier European style of food made using non-European spices rather than the much lighter Cantonese cuisine. Of course it's a bit unfair to judge a restaurant on two main dishes, and they were interesting to try, but it's not somewhere I would want to come on a day to day basis.

Cnr Rua da Felicidado & Travessa Do Mastro

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The flavouring of pigeon must have had a stronger Portuguese heritage... since Southern China braised pigeons are generally marinated with a complex sauce, semi-deep fried +/- baked. Its crispy, savoury, sweet and hints of spice, and the meat is really juicy. There's a particular place which offers quite a decent pigeon in melb in fact =).

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