Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Restaurante Platao – Macau

Macau has a very rich history. Even before the British set foot in mainland China, the Portuguese had already established trade routes into the region and had even managed to secure the port of Macau for their own uses. The front of their business operations were of course the Church. Okay, so I don’t know shit about Macau, but like Hong Kong it was a separate colony and until now you still have to cross through Chinese immigration and leave China when you cross the border. The street signage is still in Portuguese which I think is just mainly to impress the tourists, but the colonialists left a clear print on the architecture and cuisine in the region. Probably the most convenient place for a visitor to sample the old school Portuguese vibe would be in Centro, or the city center. The large promenades and churches make for a great area in which to spend a leisurely evening.


Following the advice of a friendly receptionist at the Wynn, we went into Centro to dine at a restaurant that he assured us would serve up a splendid Macanese lunch at 3.30pm. We find our way to the Restaurante Platao that was tucked away in a narrow alley behind an obnoxious McDonald’s outlet. The restaurant even had a distinct outdoor dining area for patrons to enjoy the cool spring weather while dining.


Of course I made sure before setting foot out of the hotel that the restaurant had a liquor license. There is nothing worse than nursing a hangover with a solid meal that you cannot compliment with some refreshing beer or wine. I was almost blown over by their extensive wine collection. But in terms of spirits, they did not have much to offer.


The waiter did not waste any time offering us a few chilled pitchers of sangria and we all agreed that would hit the spot. The atmosphere suited the beverage ideally.


Being in a group of 5 guys we did not waste the opportunity to sample as many of the dishes as possible. I have been to Macau before and tried some of the culinary specialties and I had been pimping this shit to my friends for quite a while now. This was our first meal together since getting in so we were ready to do some serious damage. First up we ordered the Portuguese sausages. Dripping in the restaurants own signature sauce, they were splendid, each slice with its supple texture, the skin slightly tougher than the filling allowing for a slight snap when you bite in. The spicy after taste is completely unique to this sausage.


We sampled a whole assortment of side dishes the waiter recommended to us. I think he was even slightly aroused by our enthusiasm and brought in some stuff that was not on the menu. The beef rolls and prawns wrapped in bacon were really something worth writing home about.


The bruchetta on the other hand was not really up my alley. I am used to fresh red cherry tomatoes drizzled in garlic and olive oil. The tomatoes here were slightly pureed. But then again the soft shell crab that was served alongside it made up for all its shortcomings. Absolutely delicious.


For the main we all picked odd the local specialty, Bachalau, a local fish grilled in the restaurants own secret sauce. The meat was splendid and the sauce surreal, but what really took the cake here was the pieces of Portuguese sausage in the secret sauce. Who would have thought that fish and sausage would blend so well? It could be because I was just really hungry and in a good mood at the time, but I remember thinking that this was quite possible one of the best fishes I have eaten in my entire life! And I have eaten a whole lot of fish kids.


But what really blew us all over, like right off our chairs, was the house special whole grilled chicken. Now I come from Ghana and we take our grilled chicken quite seriously back home. And a my boys back home might feel like I am turn coat when they read this, but this is the best fucking grilled chicken I have ever eaten in my entire life. Now again, if you are one of those foggers that only eats breast meat with no skin and the meat pulled off the bone then you have no place reading this post. If an animal has sacrificed its life to fill your belly then you should appreciate every part of it that you can. And brother, this was some sweet white meat.


As strange as it may sound, this trip was full of a quite a few of the best culinary experiences I have ever had. It could just be that the food was really that magnificent or that I was just in the right place (mentally), at the right time (physically), with the right people. But whatever it was, one fact cannot be disputed, that Macanese food is extremely under appreciated. Another fantastic meal for the books, one step closer to the edge.


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