Macanese Homecooking

Author: Catarina Canavarro Ramos
ISBN: 9789998160033
Language: English
Edition year: 2022
Place of publication: Macau
Sales price MOP120,00

"Macanese gastronomy is listed as a National Intangible Cultural asset of China, and Macau is recognized as a Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO. These distinctions come from the intermingling of Eastern and Western cultures for over four centuries since Portuguese adventurers settled in Macau.

The resulting fusion of their habits and food also reflects the epic of Portuguese maritime voyages and exploration into foreign countries, bringing spices, new vegetables, cooking methods and recipes that were dowries for their Indian and Mallacan, Christian wives into Macau. Along these centuries until today, Macanese households are serving a 'hybrid' food which is distinctive in its taste and smell, as coconut fruit, smelling shrimp paste (balichão), tamarind and some spices that are not indigenous to this region are being used.

The newcomers from Portugal (or were their better halves?!) concocted some old recipes, using imported ingredients or blending them with local ones producing new dishes for themselves that were also quite palatable to foreigners' taste bud.

Many of these dishes are not easily available now in restaurants as traditional Macanese should be prepared, slowly with all the care, in the confines of the household: to please the folks at home and be the envy of friends! At least in the not-so-distant past.

Having been trained in Portuguese and French cuisine in Lisbon, I became interested in Macanese Gastronomy first through my husband and then when Mrs. Alice Pinto Marques gave us priceless indications on how to prepare some dishes, here in Macau and in Calgary. I later got access to some old handwritten notes from Mrs. Pinto Marques and from an auntie, Ms. Maria Placé. Some of the recipes are from their grannies.

My teaching of Macaense cuisine at a special interest center of a government department gave me a good starting experience for over three years, in learning the students' likings.

I have kept the teaching notes for myself for many years and have cooked most of these dishes at home, for my family members and for friends. They are not exclusively Macanese dishes, but some, as I have indicated, originated from Portugal or elsewhere. They are dishes usually prepared in Macaense household: most of them have resulted from experiments and research jointly done with my husband, having gone through old recipes that we could have access to. The recipes presented are dishes we usually cook at home, some perfected after several attempts. We both tried to uncover the secrets behind a genuine taste, and success, of Macanese recipes and the readers should enjoy the taste of every portion they would prepare following the cooking instructions.

I hope you like the recipes I have selected for this first cookbook, as I am planning to work on the series and look forward to your support.

I would like to thank my family members, specially my three kids who assisted me in translating, copyediting, photo taking, testing the food, and funding the project; my daughter-in-law who has revised both Chinese and English editions; my husband who has made the research with me for some good years and produced most of the text; friends who have encouraged me to move on with the publication of recipes and this book; and my students who have shared my experiences and who I hope can take up the task to carry on preparing, researching, and teaching Macanese food."

Macau, May 2021.
Catarina Canavarro Ramos