Sunday, October 3, 2010

O Porto Interior, Macau by Big Fil

The second Macanese restaurant we visited was O Porto Interior. It wasn't our first choice, but the restaurant Litoral was closed on Tuesday night, and it had the advantages of also being highly recommended and just down the road.

Only two or three other tables were in use when we arrived, either because Tuesday night is quiet or we were eating at an unfashionably early time (around 6.30pm). This time we were very hungry and in addition to two mains we each selected an entrée to share.

The restaurant had more of the feel of an upmarket café than a formal restaurant, which probably suited the style of food.

The first dish we ordered was the lightly crumbed codfish cakes. These were flavoursome, tender and moist. The style of food was also more familiar than the food we ate the previous night, similar to good fish cakes at home. A nice start to the meal.

The second entrée we ordered was a little less familiar, a pig's ear salad. Apparently this is quite a well known Macanese dish although I didn't know that when I ordered. It provided a changing mix of flavours and textures. My first impression of the dish was that it was slightly chewy and sweet. However, as we ate more the increasing amount of dressing changed both the flavour and the texture, becoming more oily and with a slightly bitter aftertaste. This was one of those dishes which is as much about the texture as the taste and I approve of the idea of not being wasteful by eating the whole animal. I mean, if an animal is going to give its life for you the least you can do is consume the whole thing.

Hungry Pete wanted to order the African chicken so we could compare it with Fat Siu Lau. As before the dish was served with a slightly sweet, meaty sauce with a small amount of chilli. While I remember we both agreed that this version was better than the one we had the previous night one of the perils of writing this blog two weeks later is that I didn't note down what I thought was better about it and can no longer remember.

The second main we ordered was the codfish fried rice Macau style. This came with nice, tender rice and flaky fish. I suspect the fish in the rice had been reconstituted from salted cod, because of the texture, the distance from cod fishing grounds and because I believe salted cod is a common ingredient in Portuguese food, even when fresh is available.

We quite enjoyed our meal but I think it confirmed that this isn't a style of food I'd have on an everyday basis. Usually in a hot climate I like quite light, citrusy flavours with more than a hint of chilli but I found the Macanese food we tried quite heavy and filling, particularly the mains. It was also comparatively expensive, with O Porto Interior and Fat Siu Lau being comparable in price to upmarket Melbourne cafes.

259B Rua Do Almirante Sergio

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