It’s true: you can actually get delicious Portuguese food in Macau, China. If you know a little bit about the tiny peninsula’s history, it shouldn’t come as a surprise since Macau was still a Portuguese colony by the time that most of us were born (1999 to be exact).
Today, Macau is developing its own flair as an independent city while keeping its history alive with cultural landmarks like the St. Paul ruins and authentic restaurants like A Lorcha, the go-to spot for a taste of Macau’s history as a Portuguese colony.
A Lorcha’s exterior with the white tiled walls and nautical appearance (Lorcha refers to a European-style ship that sailed in Asian waters) is hard to miss, and its location next to a busy street makes it fairly accessible to tourists and locals alike. We accidentally walked in ten minutes before the restaurant was open, but it turned out for the best considering the crowds that started to show up right after us.
#SpoonTip: Make reservations just to be sure you get a table.
Once we got inside, we were greeted by the friendly staff and seated at a table right away with a refreshing glass of water. Stepping into the restaurant, we suddenly were transported out of China. The interior not only had European flair with white arches and golden trims that brought elegance, but also had dark brown wooden floors and checkered table clothes that reminded us of being on a ship. After asking our waiter for suggestions, we sat eagerly waiting for our first encounter with Portuguese food.
First up, we received some warm, puffy, golden-brown rolls of bread fresh out of the oven. Each one was slightly bigger than the size of my two fists together and could have been enough for us if we hadn’t been so hungry. It didn’t have any fancy seasonings or sauces, but kept its integrity as great bread that was best complimented with a slather of soft butter.
The first of the three dishes came to us in a ceramic pot that just looked like it was meant to hold pure deliciousness, and it did. These tiny clams were piled high and were simmering in broth. The garlic, coriander and olive oil seasoning gave just the right amount of flavor for these juicy clams without being overpowering.
That wasn’t even the best part. Our server insisted that we try dipping the leftover bread in the broth, which actually made me sigh in relief that I hadn’t finished all my bread. The bread just soaked up all that refreshing broth, making it melt right in our mouths.
The second dish came bearing more seafood and we were not complaining. The seafood rice had a porridge-like consistency and featured a whole crab and mussels. The broth looked like it would have a lot of kick to it, but it had a pretty mild flavor for the most part which let the tender seafood shine through. The rice was cooked just right before any of it got mushy. We were scraping the bottom of the bowl by the time we were done with our meal.
Last but not least was the African Chicken. Why African Chicken in a Portuguese-Chinese restaurant? It may have something to do with Portuguese having colonized certain parts of Africa in the past, but that’s nothing more than a guess. No matter the reason, the succulent chicken left us not really caring. The chicken was cooked to “fall off the bone” perfection and was smothered in a dark, creamy sauce that may as well been served as soup. It came with a side of fries that we dipped right into the sauce.
Overall, the experience at A Lorcha was a unique one and something that future tourists should all do their best to experience. A Lorcha offers a cultural experience with delicious food and is a perfect place for a break when touring the city. Although we were sad to leave the air conditioning, we left impressed with more than just our taste buds satisfied.