Exploring Macau’s Hidden Gems

From local hangouts and must-eat delicacies to cool bars, quirky shops, and ​​swanky hotels, RADII introduces you to the highlights of ‘young Macau’

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3:20 PM HKT, Fri November 24, 2023 10 mins read

Goldthread has recently been in Macau, getting the lowdown on the city's amazingly diverse food culture. On the occasion of City Bites, Macau Edition, RADII is excited to share this guide to the city.

Located across the Pearl River estuary from Hong Kong, Macau is a former Portuguese trading post that attracts a broad spectrum of tourists, both young and old. In 1999, it became a special administrative region of China, maintaining separate governing and economic systems from the Chinese mainland.

Macau’s storied history is what lends it its unique identity. A melting pot of colorful cultures with different religions and heritages, the region is made up of a peninsula and the islands of Taipa and Coloane (today connected by reclaimed land). Though highly urbanized, the territory has succeeded in retaining many traditional features.

Macau has the highest population density in the world, and also boasts one of the world’s highest per capita incomes, largely thanks to its gaming and gambling industry.

In the past few decades, Macau has become a major resort city and a top destination for tourism, especially among avid gamblers. But the city possesses so much more than just luxury casinos and impressive shopping malls.

As is typical of southern China, Macau has a humid subtropical climate, making it a delightful year-round destination. In this special travel guide by RADII, we introduce you to the highlights of ‘young Macau,’ from local hangouts and must-eat delicacies to drinking tips at cool bars, quirky shops, and ​​swanky hotels.

Food: Must Eat in Macau

Sei Kee Cafe 世记咖啡

macau city guide

Founded in 1965, Sei Kee Cafe used to be an outdoor tea stall. Many are drawn to its traditional method of brewing clay-pot beverages and colonial retro decorations. This family-owned coffee shop has opened multiple outlets in the city over the years, including a take-out shop near the Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral, a major tourist destination in Macau.

“If I don’t preserve this coal-baked coffee [and serve it] to more people very soon, this local coffee culture will be eliminated by global coffee chains,” says Alvin Au, the current owner of Sei Kee Cafe.

Largo dos Bombeiro, No 1, G/F, 新马路岗顶吉祥里地下, +853 6377 9664

Lord Stow’s Bakery 安德鲁饼店

macau city guide

This is where KFC’s Portuguese-style egg tarts originate from. Yes, a bakery in Macau.

While many recognize egg tarts as Macau’s most famous pastry, few realize that it was British pharmacist Andrew Stow who introduced the sweet treat to the region. Stow himself invented the recipe and founded Lord Stow’s Bakery on Coloane Island in southern Macau with his then-wife Margaret Wong in 1989.

After their separation, Wong opened her own bakery called Margaret’s Cafe e Nata, which has provided fierce competition to her ex-husband’s business ever since. Circa 2000, she sold their family recipe to fried chicken conglomerate KFC.

Some suspect that Wong kept a few secrets from the fast-food chain. Sure enough, the egg tarts we get at Lord Stow’s taste immeasurably better than KFC’s. They have a perfectly flaky exterior and an incredibly creamy center.

macau city guide

Though there are a few outlets in Macau, we recommend checking out the original Lord Stow’s in Coloane Village. Your freshly-made egg tarts are best enjoyed while sitting on a bench next to the ocean, just as ‘our model’ in the picture above is doing.

1 Rua do Tassara, Coloane Town Square, 路环市区戴绅礼街1号, +853 2888 2534

Cafe de Novo Tomato/Tomato House 番茄屋葡式美食

macau city guide

Image via Facebook

When in doubt, ask a local. Macau-based food blogger Mao Tao recommended Tomato House, and let us tell you, it did not disappoint. Like Sei Kee Cafe, it is nestled near the landmark known as the Ruins of St. Paul’s, where the restaurant has been for more than two decades.

“This is a family-style Macanese restaurant where many locals eat,” Tao tells RADII. “The food is delicious and affordably priced.”

It’s not a traditional Portuguese restaurant, says the shop owner. Instead, they serve a Macanese cuisine, which is informed by local tastes in combination with Chinese, Portuguese, Indian, Malaysian, and African ingredients and cooking methods.

macau city guide

Tomato’s signature dishes from left to right: fried bacalhau, serradura, and Alibaba baked rice

Tomato’s signature dishes include the Alibaba baked rice (containing the restaurant’s namesake fruit, cheese, and chicken), fried bacalhau (Portuguese for codfish), beef brisket curry, and serradura (also known as sawdust pudding).

Travessa de D. Quixote Nos. 4 e 6 Edf. Fu On Cave A e B Macau, 连安后巷富安大厦4及6号, +853 2836 2171

Miramar 美丽华餐厅

macau travel guide

Image via Miramar

If you’re looking for something posh, Miramar is your to-go for a more upscale Portuguese meal and splendid sunset views alongside Hac Sá Beach on Coloane Island. Opt for indoor or outdoor seats that directly face the beach.

macau travel guide

macau travel guide

The overwhelming menu here lists a rich variety of cheeses, seafood, wine, and beer. The food portions are also quite big. If we had to nominate one dish, it would be their outstanding chef-style clams or mussels.

Zona Norte Praia de Hác Sá, Coloane, 路环黑沙海滩黑沙马路, +853 2888 2601

Tai Long Fong Casa de Cha 大龙凤茶楼

macau travel guide

Cantonese cuisine is a central part of local tastes in Macau. You’ll find authentic dim sum at Tai Long Fong Casa de Cha, but more importantly, the restaurant also presents traditional Cantonese opera. It’s reportedly the only surviving traditional Cantonese Opera teahouse in Macau, with a history of more than 70 years.

macau travel guide

macau travel guide

macau travel guide

macau travel guide

The restaurant is located on ​​Rua de Cinco de Outubro, one of Macau’s famous old streets. History buffs might recognize that its name commemorates the Portuguese revolution on October 5, 1910, which overthrew the imperial system and established the Republic.

Many nostalgic and old-timey shops and restaurants line this street, including a unique music store (more on that later). It is also home to the Hong Kung night market, which hosts street food hawkers on weekend nights only.

127 Rua de Cinco de Outubro, 十月初五日街127号, +853 2892 2459

Estabelecimento De Comidas (Sopa De Fitas) A Chi 阿志面家

macau travel guide

Thanks to local photographer Jack Hoi, we found this hidden gem in an alley behind some shabby huts. The first sight that greets us is that of elderly folks leisurely playing a late-afternoon card game to beat ennui.

Noodle shop A Chi has been operating for decades and is well-known among most Macau residents, especially those born in the 1980s and 90s.

macau travel guide

A Chi’s signature dishes are the braised beef brisket noodles and ‘Champion’ pork ribs ramen. Not only is their soup base luscious and savory but each bowl also comes with generous toppings.

Since you’re already in the area, cross over to the main street, dubbed Rua dos Ervanários. It’s one of Macau’s oldest streets and now among its hippest hang-out spots for young people.

macau travel guide

The neighborhood has done a fine job of maintaining its traditional local industries. Think incense sticks, second-hand goods, and antiques, among others. There are also modern shops, such as third wave coffee shops and arts and culture specialty stores.

Rua Dos Ervanários, Travessa De Dorna, No. 41 A 新马路关前正街41号酒潭巷地下A铺, +853 2836 5900

Drink: Best Bars in Macau


A relative newcomer that opened its doors in 2021, Ashtag operates as a cafe in the day and a bar at night. According to another Macau food blogger, Memofoodie, it was Macau’s hottest spot last year.

“All the bloggers in Macau have been there,” Memofoodie tells RADII. “It’s got a great location. You can see the sea and the tourist tower, and it’s right in the center of the city. The drinks are good too, so it’s not just a popular shop with beautiful pictures online.”

Nam Van Peninsula, 89 Avenida Comercial de Macau, Praia Grande, 商业大马路89号南湾半岛地下

Sky 21

Located on the top of AIA Tower, this two-story, 20,000 square-foot bar and restaurant offers Pan-Asian cuisine, a wide range of drinks, and water pipes — more commonly known as hookahs.

macau travel guide

Image via Facebook

Electronic dance music, hip hop, and afrobeat fill the air here, and the venue occasionally hosts events and live performances.

AIA Tower 251A - 301 Avenida Comercial de Macau, 商业大马路251A – 301号友邦广场21楼21/F, +853 2822 2122

Old Taipa Tavern 好客乡庄

macau travel guide

Old Taipa Tavern (OTT) is a gastropub patronized by Macau’s expat community. It’s a decent place to meet for refreshing pints of IPA, comfort food, and live sports events while rubbing shoulders with local residents.

macau travel guide

Another plus to visiting OTT is getting to explore Taipa Village and the nearby Rua do Cunha, a well-known food street and magnet for culture vultures.

21 Rua dos Negociantes, Taipa Village, 氹仔城客商街21号A铺地下及1号B铺及C铺地下, ​​+853 2882 5221

Funny Eye Tasting Room 趣眼空间

This is the only brick-and-mortar location belonging to Funny Eye Brewing, a local craft brewery founded by three friends, all born in the 90s.

“We want to proudly say that we’re a brand from Macau, and it’s also 100% made in Macau,” says Crystal Kwok, marketing director for Funny Eye Brewing.

The bar only operates from 8 PM until the wee hours of the morning, as Triangle Coffee Roaster takes over during the day.

macau traval guide

Image via Funny Eye

Funny Eye produces craft beers with diverse and unique flavors, including Lychee Black Tea Ale, Osmanthus Pilsener, Passionfruit Cider, Rose Ale, Funny Dog Pale Ale, Lucky Cat IPA, and the newly-invented coffee IPA and draught beer.

R. de Tomas Vieira, 68-DD, 新胜街68dd, +853 6632 6026

Cinebrew 映酿酒吧

Carrying more than 20 types of craft beer, Cinebrew is a themed bar that resembles a 1960s movie theaters. Neon lights, iconic quotes, and movie posters add to the atmosphere.

If your timing is lucky, you might even catch a performance: The parlor on the second floor hosts live local musicians from time to time.

Block A, Edificio Golden Bay, No.150 Av. Marginal do Lam Mau, 林茂海边大马路金湾豪庭地下A铺 (油站对面), +853 688-23456

Art & Music: Museums, Music Shops, and More

Hush!! Full Music

Rain or shine, Covid or not, this annual outdoor music festival has been happening for nearly 10 years. Its dates and locations are constantly switched up, keeping things interesting. The most recent edition was held in October and November 2022.

Featuring more than 40 local bands and musicians, it covered a wide variety of music genres, including rock, jazz, folk, electronic, punk, heavy metal, and pop.

Taipa Houses Museum 龙环葡韵住宅式博物馆

macau travel guide

Image via Wikimedia

Despite its compact city size, Macao is surprisingly home to more than 30 galleries and museums. If you only have time to visit one, make the Taipa Houses Museum.

Consisting of five greenhouses built in 1921, the museum complex is a living experience of the Portuguese architecture and the traditional Macanese lifestyles of yesteryear.

You can take a VR tour here, and the museum hosts a Portuguese-language festival called Lusofonia Festival in its open space every autumn.

Avenida da Praia, Carmo Zone, Taipa, 氹仔海边马路, +853 8988 4000

Pin-to Livros & Musica 边度有书・有音乐

macau travel guide

Image via Facebook

A unique independent bookstore and music shop, Pin-to, meaning ‘where’ in Cantonese, has a curated selection of reading materials in traditional Chinese, English, and even Portuguese. The collection reflects the tastes of shop owner Anson, who can sometimes be spotted quietly reading by the staircase.

macau travel guide

macau travel guide

As far as music goes, you’ll find dozens of esoteric CDs, tapes, and the odd vinyl record, which the staff can play before you decide to buy one. The music store has a CD player that the two resident cats treat as a couch.

R. de Coelho do Amaral, 连胜街47号, +853 2833 0909

Ox Warehouse 牛房仓库

macau travel guide

Initially a real warehouse for the medical inspection of oxen (no joke), Ox Warehouse is a private, non-profit art association and gallery. The venue is an experimental platform for Macau’s arts scene.

macau travel guide

They are known for organizing music and art workshops for adults and collaborative projects with local artists and art associations. Collectors might also take interest in the small collection of books and magazines for sale on the first floor.

No. 15 Rua do Volong, 和隆街十五号, +853 2853 0026

Loja De Brinquedos Ip Pai Kei 叶培记电器模型玩具

macau travel guide

While strolling on Rua de Cinco de Outubro, this shop immediately catches our eye. It seems oddly mysterious, as we haven’t been able to find much detailed information online.

macau travel guide

Originally a pastry stall, it was turned into a CD and toy shop in the 1970s due to the owner’s passion for music. Even in today’s digital era, the shop still sells vinyl, CDs, DVDs, tapes, and even sheet music for Cantonese opera, as well as Taiwanese and Cantonese pop music from the 1980s and 90s.

Like many other old shops in Macau, the owner and his family live on the second floor while running their business downstairs.

111 R. de Cinco de Outubro, 十月初五日街111号

Shop & Fashion: Meet Designers in Macau

Vintage Market 古着市集

macau travel guide

We come across many vintage shops while wandering around Macau, but this cute store hidden behind a cluster of traditional colonial buildings was one of our favorites.

The bright-yellow sliding iron door easily catches the attention of passers-by. Inside the retro shop are products mostly from Japan, but also North America, Thailand, Australia, and Europe. Prefer to shop local? Check out the handmade jewelry by local designers.

macau travel guide

macau travel guide

macau travel guide

The owners, a young local couple, have traveled widely and personally handpicked everything in the store, which explains why most of their products are only available as a single item. Naturally, there’s a high chance of finding unique souvenirs here.

Rua de S. Roque, GF-A Pak Tak Building, 圣禄杞街22-A百德大厦地下AI座, +853 6233 3900

Mr. Galaxy

macau travel guide

The following two shops are recommended by Au Chon Hin, a graphic designer and the founder of the studio Untitled Macao, whose team recently won multiple accolades at the Macau Design Awards 2021.

Here’s why he fancies Mr. Galaxy:

Hidden behind Hotel S, Mr. Galaxy is a multi-brand boutique. It serves as a showroom for brands from the U.S., Japan, and South Korea, such as Fuct, Pawn, Fucking Awesome, and Dog Town. Mr. Stockman, the only local brand found here, is a passion project by the shop owner.

macau travel guide

macau travel guide

macau travel guide

Like many lifestyle businesses favored by today’s youth, Mr. Galaxy also houses a coffee corner called Folkoffee, so you can simultaneously hunt for clothes, sip coffee, and nibble handcrafted desserts.

Travessa dos Tréns 6, 司打口马车巷六号(艺舍酒店后街), +​​853 6661 7710

Ground Floor/Hangereering

macau travel guide

Au leads us to another fashion boutique he’s fond of. In fact, he buys a jacket there as we finish the interview.

macau travel guide

macau travel guide

macau travel guide

macau travel guide

macau travel guide

Shop owner Luis Vu is also a designer who owns the brand Hangereering. He started as a daigou (代购), who purchased products overseas and resold them in Macau. Then he became an agent for several Japanese clothing brands and later created his own brand.

The retail outlet is also an agent for several Japanese brands like N.Hoolywood, Mine_U.S.A., Deluxe_jp, Kuon, Healthknit, Daniel Patrick, and Pleasures.

Edificio Kiu Pou, 11 Patio da Cabaia, 草地围桥宝楼11号地下A, +853 2832 3727

Stay: Book a Hotel in Macau

Hotel S 艺舍酒店

macau travel guide

Image via Facebook

Previously known as Hotel Sun Sun, Hotel S was revamped in 2019 and has become one of the hippest places in the neighborhood. This is probably the best place in Macau if you’re looking for a stay that is modern and affordable at the same time.

Parked on Praça Ponte e Horta, an important historic hub surrounded by street art, Hotel S is all about contemporary art. Not only is it covered by colorful murals, including creations from local graffiti artist Rainbo Aw, but it also houses many posters, prints, and art objects crafted by renowned contemporary artists such as Takashi Murakami, Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, Yue Minjun, and others.

macau travel guide

The 15-story building offers 178 rooms and each floor has a different feel and theme conceived by local artists.

No. 14 e 16, Praça Ponte e Horta, 司打口14号至16号, +853 2893 9393

SanVa Hostel 新华酒店

macau travel guide

If you want a peek at what life was like in ‘old Macau,’ SanVa Hostel is the best way to satisfy your curiosity. The rooms are small and there aren’t any private baths or air conditioning (only fans), but the retro charm of the space and its convenient location is hard to refuse.

macau travel guide

macau travel guide

This four-story, hundred-year-old heritage building was originally a private clubhouse but was later transformed into a public guesthouse. The hostel itself has been in business for more than 80 years and is the oldest existing guesthouse in Macau.

The interior also maintains the old design and ‘tycoon lifestyle’ of the 1930s. Many television shows and movies, such as Brothers Keeper and 2046, not to mention international photo shoots, have been shot here.

macau travel guide

SanVa is found on Rua da Felicidade or the ‘Street of Happiness,’ which used to be a red-light district in the 19th century. Up until a few years ago, the traditional Chinese-style buildings were all in red. Today, most of the facades have been painted green.

Nearby attractions include Rua de Cinco de Outubro and Senado Square, the heart of Macau and part of the city’s historic center that was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005.

Rua da Felicidade 65-67, 福隆新街65-67号, +853 2857 3701

Caravel Hotel 卡尔酒店

Just a few minutes away from SanVa, Caravel is another affordable hotel with a convenient location and unique personality. Its namesake is a traditional Portuguese ship.

macau travel guide

Image via Caravel Hotel

Each of the 46 rooms transports travelers to a different must-visit street in Macau via unique wallpapers. The hotel also houses a gym for ​​bodybuilders.

Next to the hotel building, there’s a Singaporean café for some ​​Southeast Asian flavors.

96-126 Rua Do Guimaraes, 海边新街96-126号, +853 2825 0108

Interested in booking a trip to Macau? Head to on for travel packages and discounted deals!

All images courtesy of Keita.C and Jack Hoi unless otherwise noted. Cover photo designed by Rubie Chen

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