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When it was all getting too much in Shanghai or China, we needed an escape to somewhere ‘quieter’ . The quickest and shortest way back to civilisation and social network is Hong Kong. It is a fusion of the east meet west. Quick and quirky but efficient and organised.

This time we decided to also go to Macau. The last time I went there was around 1990 so it has been only 23 years. I guess a lot of things has changed. The best way to get there is via a ferry from Sheung Wan ferry terminal or a helicopter if you have some cash lying around to spend. The ferry runs every 15 minutes almost 24 hr for under 200$.

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What, queuing. That is amazing. Thanks god for manner and civilisation.

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The trip to Macau is about an hour and it was a very smooth ride.

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After arriving the Taipa terminal, we just hop on a bus to downtown. Hotel Grand Lisboa Casino tower can be seen from almost anywhere on the Island. It is quite an oppressive scale and architecture. I’m not sure how the city allow for it to be built.

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The island is a former Portuguese colony but is now has been return to China and governed as Special Administrative Regions. The street names and remnant of some colonial architecture can still be seen.

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The street is quite similar to Hong Kong in terms of density and livelihood. What is unique about Asia in general is there are shops and carts selling food everywhere, doesn’t matter how deep in from the main street it is. The level of food is very complex from breakfast to snack, bbq and proper meal at all price range. It is like the glue of the society.

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Space well used.

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The narrow pavement is paved with mosaic and tiles. It is these level of detail and attention that our modern society is missing but subconsciously it does lift the spirit of the user and the place so much when everything around us is mass produced. Imagine a guy laying each tile one by one and framing them around the shutters and doorways.

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The famous Ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral. The preserved is similar how it was 20 years ago but now there is a new museum built in the old crypt displaying artefacts they discovered around the ruin.

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A short walk from the ruin eastward will take you to the Museum of Macau which is on the hill of Fortaleza do Monte,

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On the top of the fort you can have an unobstructed view of the whole historical old town and beyond.

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We weren’t sure whether we were on the right bus to Taipa village. so it is time to test some english of the locals.  We asked one of the teenagers sitting next to us. He seems to be in high school so should be able to speak some english. Turn out he spoke quite good english and was very helpful in giving us the direction. Had this been in Shanghai, our question would have been ignored or they just afraid to speak english. Most of the young generation chinese do understand a bit of english but they are so shy to speak.

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Taipa was a more low rise residential area than the Macau side but after the construction of Casino on the north of island, there are now some high-rise residential towers coming off the ground making it denser than before.

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Incense coils in one of the temple.

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Rua do Cunha

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Portuguese egg tart is a must try once you are in Macau. It was creamy warm and rich as you would expect from a good egg tart but the puff was very crispy which makes it extremely delicious. They do migrate to some shops on HK street food but here where you could find a better one.
There is also a shop in Shanghai called Lilian that sell it. It has been moved a few time but the latest I know is in Huijin department store.

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After a brief walk, we decided to give portuguese restaurant a try. Normally in SE Asia a good restaurant has been visited by artist or celebrities. What is a better way to advertise your shop than post the pictures of these celebrities eating at your shop so everyone knows your food can even bring the a-list in. This is another clue to look for a good restaurant in this region. At A Tasca Do Luis , a Portuguese restaurant, we saw wall full of these photos. So it shouldn’t let us down.

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The atmosphere was nice with the owner being so welcome friendly. We forgot we were actually in Asia at all. As expected, the food was extremely good. Family cooking but very warm and tasty. I love to write more about it but it has been over a year from the trip to this blog so all the detail was last. The taste do stay in my mind is one of the best meals though.

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Most of the people come here for the casino but once you have been to Las Vegas, you have seen everything. They follow the same operating model around the world – Glitz, Fountain and light show, luxury hotel for almost nothing for the rollers. One good thing is the casino do run dedicated shuttle services to the ferry terminals to bring all the tourist directly to and from the hotel. It is probably the only thing beneficial about them being here.

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It has been a long day but we caught the night ferry and made it back to HK just pass midnight.

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If Bangkok is the best place for variety of cheap homemade rustic street foods, Hong kong and Taipei are the leaders on the opposite end of this establishment which is franchise street snacks – whether it is bubble tea, frozen yogurt, ice cream toast, crepe, shaved ice, fried chicken you name it. New brands and newly invented snacks keep coming up every year to take on the market.

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Hong kong skyline during the day

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….and night

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One guy cooking ten claypots.

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Layers of city’s fabric that makes HK a very interesting place.

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There used to be a lot of outdoor food shops everywhere around backstreets of HK. They are probably the best place to eat if you want something a bit more casual. These days they are fast diminishing due to city clean up and you have to look for it to find one. Lan Kwai Fong area still has a lot of them but around causeway bay there are not so many.

This shop is on Fuk Hing lane. So we tried fried squid with broccoli

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and a real HK sweet and sour pork – juicy and crispy. The deep fried pork come in big chunks not just small dough balls.

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The food is clean and tasty as you would have in any normal restaurant but the feeling of eating out on the street makes it far greater.

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HK is probably one of the cities that is more active at night than during the day. The street is full of people and every shop is busy until very late at night with variety of people – teenagers, office workers stopping by for dinner, tourists, local uncles and grandpas. There are also secluded places like Tai’O village and beaches if you don’t like the intensity of the city and want some break. We came from a place where street life was non-existent so this is a good change.

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More to come