Each November, Macau hosts an annual food festival that is joined by hundreds of local food merchants. Sometimes overseas participants are invited to join too to increase the variety of cuisine featured.
The Macau Food Festival is a popular event gives the local residents and tourists an opportunity to feast in a lively, carnival like environment. Since the event starts from 3pm onwards (5pm on weekends) it would a good idea to explore other attractions in the vicinity in the day.
One of the nearest premier attraction is the Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Centre. This is where you could enjoy magnificent panoramic views all over Macau from its observation deck at more than 200 metres above the ground. For the daring souls, you could consider taking part in walking around the outside of the tower via “Skywalk X” or leap off with Skyjump, which is basically a bungee jump.
I have a friend who bungee jumped from the Macau tower and the captured video was awesome. I think the experience must be something he’d remember for the rest of his life.
The tower is served by three high-speed-glass-fronted lifts which goes at a top speed of 540m/min. So it’d take you less than 30 seconds to reach the top at 61st floor. The indoor observation deck lets you see as far as 55km on a clear, sunny day.
Certain sections of the indoor observation deck have transparent glass floor that allows for a view beneath you.
You could also see the Macau Food Festival’s site from here, situated next to Sai Van Lake.
An outdoor observation deck is located two floors above and this is where you could feel the breeze or participate in some daring sports.
If you stand at the right spot, you could see the bungee jump participants falling right before you eyes. One guy was supposed to be leaping but we waited way too long for it to happen and decided not to wait anymore.
The Macau Grand Prix is another event that occurs every November in Macau. This motor-racing event is well-known for being the only street circuit racing event where both car and motorcycle races are held. Hundreds of racing drivers and riders compete here every year, making it a world-class sports event and draws many attention due to its technically demanding circuit.
The Grand Prix Museum at the basement of Tourism Activities Centre features a collection of unique F3 cars and motorbikes of legendary drivers and riders. A Wine Museum is also here, located just opposite the Grand Prix Museum.
Currently, admission to the Grand Prix Museum is free until end of the year. The first car that caught our attention was the TR 2 Long Door that was driven by Eduardo de Carvalho and won the 1954 MGP.
The Reynad 903, a car fitted with Volkswagen engine that could go up to a top speed of 255km/h. World-renowned Michael Schumacher clinched the 1990 F3 championship with this car.
Some other cars featured include the BMW M Power and even antiques such as the Ford T which was used back in 1963. Besides showcasing cars, motorbikes and other related memorabilia of the drivers, the museum also pays tribute to individuals who had been contributed to the Grand Prix’s continuous success.
All these information really helps you to understand the passion behind the sports, and makes you more appreciative when watching the Grand Prix event live.
Just a few steps away is the Wine Museum. The museum’s 1400 square metre area is basically divided into three different areas: Historical Information, Cellar and Exhibition area.
Anything related to the history of wine could be found here and presented through the use of maps, texts, photos, tiles and videos. Each area not only aims to educate visitors about wine and grapevines, but also to let them feel the atmosphere of actual wine production.
Wine plays an important role in Portuguese culture, traditions, daily life and celebratory rituals. Visitors to the museum will have a more in depth insight into the social, economical and cultural aspects of wine of the Portuguese people. More than 1000 different wine brands sourced from different regions in Portugal could be found here – all organized in an orderly fashion. Among the collection of wines here, the oldest bottle of wine here is a Port of 1815 which is pretty much priceless for its age.
And of course, what is a wine museum tour without getting to taste the real thing? You could have wine tasting here for a small token (about MOP$5 to MOP$10) for each cup. And if you like what you tasted, you could purchase the entire bottle at a wine shop just next to the exit. Like the Grand Prix Museum, admission to the Wine Museum is free until 31st of Dec 2014.
Across from the museums is the Lotus Square, or also known as the Golden Lotus Square. This open square features a large bronze sculpture of “Lotus Flower in Full Bloom” and is popular with tourists and residents especially skateboarders.
The 6 metres high golden lotus is made entirely of gilded bronze, while the base consists of 23 pieces of red granite in three layers – each representing a district of Macau namely the Macau Peninsula, Coloane and Taipa. The full bloom of the lotus is a symbol of Macau’s everlasting prosperity. It was presented in 1999 to mark the transfer of sovereignty from Portugal to the PRC. A similar square could be found in Hong Kong too. The best time to visit should be in the evening just before the sun sets, where the soothing light gives a golden glow to the sculpture.
By now you should be on your way to the Macau Food Festival at Sai Van Lake Square. You could get here by taxi if you want but a good way to save cost is to board the free shuttle busses that operate on three different routes. They depart from the Luso Bank Main Branch, OCBC Wing Hang Bank (Hak Sa Van Branch) and opposite to Taipa Altira Macau.
This year’s Macau Food Festival is in its 14th year and the event will be convened at Sai Van Lake Square from 7th to 23rd November 2014. A large variety of participants from Kansai of Japan have been invited to take part in the festival. So, a Japanese Village was built at the lower level of Sai Van Lake Square, where authentic Kansai delicacies served by 25 food stalls are set to tantalize the visitors’ palate. As you can see, the Macau Tower is just across the square of the event.
The coupons could be purchased on the spot at the many booths. They come in $10 and $5 and denominations.
The festival is segregated into sections of “streets” with each dedicated to one particular cuisine. Expect to find Chinese Restaurant Street, European Cuisine Street, Asian Food Street, Local Delicacies Street and Dessert Street. Even a few famous bakeries in Macau have set up booths here to promote their products.
If you’re planning to buy traditional cookies in Macau as souvenirs, hold your horses and get yourself to the food festival instead. The cookies are sold under an irresistable promotion here and could save you a lot of money. For example, three boxes of almond cookies would cost only MOP$120, that’s a huge saving compared to the actual retail price.
One of the more unique beverage here is the Japanese frozen beer, which is basically a beer slushie. The frozen “cap” on top is supposed to keep the beer cool longer, as well as make the drink more refreshing to taste. Seriously, give this a try.
The lower seating area at the center of the Japanese Village. When the night came it was cool and breezy and what better ways to enjoy dinner than dining under the stars? Tables are always clean thanks to the efficient cleaners present at the event. So kudos to them.
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Seafood lovers will feel like in heaven at the Japanese Village, as many stalls offer sushi, sashimi, various grilled seafood and even pan fried crab legs. Wagyu is also a popular item here, served in the form of burger and teppanyaki.
Some of the food we sampled include salt and pepper mantis shrimp, salted fish bun, stir-fried beef lung, Xinjiang satay, grilled scallops, pan-fried crab leg and grilled squid. The grilled squid and crab leg were my favorites and worth the price too. For any update of the Macau Food Festival, check out their Facebook page or Sina Blog. Anyway, here’s the gist of the event:
Date: 7th to 23rd Nov 2014
Opening hours: Mon to Thur (3pm to 11pm), Fri to Sun (3pm to 12am)
Venue: Sai Van Lake Square
Free shuttle bus:
Route 1: Luso Bank Main Branch < --> Sai Van Lake Square
Route 2: OCBC Wing Hang Bank (Hak Sa Van Branch) < --> Sai Van Lake Square
Route 3: Opposite Taipa Altira Macau < --> Sai Van Lake Square
Shuttle bus service hours: Mon to Thur (5pm to 11.30pm), Fri to Sun (3pm to 12.30am)