Macau: Cultural Snapshot
Population: 544, 000
Cuisine: Blend of southern coastal Chinese and Portuguese cuisines with influences of Africa, India and Malaysia
Signature dishes: Bacalhau (AP article), Portuguese egg tart (AP article), African chicken, Caldo Verde (green vegetable soup), Galinha Portuguesa (Portuguese style chicken), Linguado Macau (fried Macau sole)
Wine Culture: Growing interest in wine since the elimination of wine duty and the surge in fine dining venues from the casino business
Wine Duty: No wine duty or sales tax as of August 2008
Macau’s casinos are the heart of a multi-billion dollar industry that attract millions from China and internationally, even having overtaken the Las Vegas Strip since 2006 as the top gambling destination in the world in gaming revenue. Used as a trading post by Portuguese merchant-explorers since the early 1550s , the ethnic groups on this island consist of Chinese, Macanese and Portuguese, making the main languages spoken Chinese and Portuguese. This multicultural background creates a fusion of cultures reflected in the legal system, academics, art and architecture — e.g. the iconic Lilau Square and St. Augustine church recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site .
USA casino giants Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International have established casino hotel in Macau with stellar success driving the gambling revenue in Macau to rise to several times that of Las Vegas. The internationally renowned Michelin guide have recognised the increasing richness, quality and diversity of delicacies to be found in the city, awarding 3 Michelin stars to the Robuchon au Dôme in the Grand Lisboa hotel. With the glittering lights of the casino giants illuminating Macau’s skyline, the city’s unique heritage and quickly growing casino culture illustrate the effects of an historical encounter between the East and West in the 21st century.
Photo Credit: Shif T