your history, general data and location
Macao located in South China, was a Portuguese territory or colony for about 420 years. In a peaceful transition, it was returned to China on December 20, 1999.
The history of Macau - told by the Portuguese
The Portuguese arrived in Macau between 1554 and 1557, during the great time of the Portuguese Discoveries, initiated by Infante D. Henrique. Vasco da Gama discovered the Maritime Way to India in the late 15th century and early 20th century. In the sixteenth century the Portuguese explorers advanced first east and then north. The first Portuguese to arrive in southern China was Jorge Álvares in 1513. This visit opened the door to the establishment of a number of trading posts in the Pearl River Delta area, supported by Macao, which was soon succeeded by the agreement of the Emperor of China, monopolize trade between China and Japan, and China and Japan.
As well as being the only connecting link between the two worlds - a situation that has remained for many years - Macao has become a vital base for Christian merchants and missionaries in China, an activity that has led to some of the most glorious - and most troubled - moments. of the story. This prosperous situation and its privileged location quickly aroused the greed of other nations who began to conspire for their possession. In the century In the 16th century, the Dutch even landed in Macao, but were expelled by the population.
Over the years, other western nations came to settle in China. Macao became the summer residence of Western merchants, whom the Chinese only allowed to stay in their trading posts in Guangzhou during the trading season, ie during the winter.
Although the changes over 400 years have been enormous, Macao has remained a Portuguese bulwark in the confines of Asia. The Portuguese flag had never been lowered, not even during the 60 years of occupation of Portugal by the kings of Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries. After the restoration of the Portuguese monarchy, King John VI gave Macao the official name of - CITY OF THE NAME OF GOD OF MACAU - THERE IS NO OTHER LOYAL.
Macao was returned to China on 20 December 1999 by a 50-year agreement.
Summary of History - According to Macao Tourism Directorate (China) website
Initially the Macao Peninsula was inhabited by fishermen from the provinces of Fukien and Canton.Hence the Chinese designation of Macao - "Ou Mun" - which literally means "Bay Door".
The term in Portuguese - Macau - seems to be linked to the worship of the goddess "Á-Má", worshiped throughout southern China, and the temple dedicated to it in the Inner Harbor. About this time the place became known as "Á-Má-Gao" (Port of Á-Má) from which the word MACAU possibly derived.
The Portuguese arrived in Macau between 1554 and 1557, although they had been traveling in the South China seas since 1513, the date of the voyage of Jorge Álvares whose statue is in the center of the city.
It was with the agreement of the local mandarins that settled in this region, where they installed several trading posts, making the peninsula a lucrative trading post between China, Japan and Europe, a characteristic that has been maintained throughout of centuries. Macao thus played the role of China's open door to the outside, the place of Western contact and crossing with the East.
It was also from an early age that Macau was chosen by the missionaries to launch themselves into the spread of Far Eastern, Christian Faith, Science and the Western conception of World and Life. The famous "St. Paul's College", founded in Macao in the 19th century. It is considered by historians to have been the first Western-based university established in East Asia. Many famous figures passed by, leaving history in gold letters. This was the case of Mateus Ricci, S.Francisco Xavier and many others who, through their action, contributed to the inter-civilizational dialogue that was forever one of the characteristics of this land.
After the creation of Hong Kong in 1841 following the English victory in the First Opium War, Macao lost much of its commercial importance as its bulk was transferred to the other bank of the Pearl River Delta. Hong Kong has developed very rapidly, becoming one of the world's leading financial centers and leaving Macao almost quasi-lethargic until a few decades ago.
But Macau has always maintained a unique atmosphere that totally differentiates it from its neighboring regions. It remains, as it has been for centuries, a harmonious combination of Chinese and Portuguese culture, peacefully built by its naturals. This is the basis of wisdom on which your way of life rests.
Today, Macao is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, but, according to the wishes of its people and their guardians, it maintains and will always maintain its social and economic characteristics in the light of the "one country, two systems" principle .
Here we breathe an international atmosphere coupled with a truly unique way of living where, as always, Europe meets Asia and where the two largest communities (the Chinese and the Portuguese) have built their many exchanges: a way of coexist based on respect and mutual tolerance.
Geography and Population
The Macao Special Administrative Region is an integral part of China, located on the southeast coast of the country, west of the Pearl River Delta, adjacent to Guangdong Province, 60 km from Hong Kong and 145 km from Guangzhou city. Local time is up eight hours from the Greenwich meridian.
The surface area of Macao has been increasing thanks to landfills on its waterfront. With an area of the peninsula of 10.28Km2 in sec. XIX, the territory currently occupies a total area of 29.5 Km2, including the peninsula and the islands of Taipa and Coloane. To the north, the Macao peninsula is linked to mainland China, and to the south, to Taipa Island by three bridges - Noble Oak Bridge, Friendship Bridge and Sai Van Bridge. The two islands - Taipa and Coloane - are linked together by a 2.2 km long Isthmus and six lanes.
The population of Macao is 542,400 population. The demographic density of the territory is about 18387Km2. The northern part of the Macao peninsula is considered one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
Over the past 20 years, Macao has experienced rapid annual population growth, about 4 percent, and significant migration. There has also been an impressive movement in and out of the territory, totaling 25 million annually.
According to preliminary 2006 census results, on 19 August 2006 males accounted for 48.8 per cent of the resident population and females 51.2 per cent and, in terms of age distribution, 15.2 per cent of residents are under 15 years old, 77.7 per cent between 15 and 64 and 7 per cent over 65. The average longevity in both sexes is over 79 years.
According to 2001 census data, of Macao's 435,000 inhabitants, 95 percent are of Chinese descent, 2 percent of Portuguese descent and 1 percent of Filipino descent.
Chinese and Portuguese are official languages of Macao. Chinese is used by over 97 percent of Macao's population, Portuguese by about 0.7 percent and the rest speaks English, Filipino and other languages.The Cantonese dialect is predominant in everyday life, followed by Fujien and Mandarin.
More than 80 per cent of the population has been living in Macao for over 10 years, and their native-born population and the rest of China occupy 45 per cent respectively. countries and other regions.
Macao's climate is hot and humid, with quite varied temperatures throughout the year. From June to September, the temperature can go beyond 30ºC, and from November to February below 10ºC. The average temperature is rarely below 14ºC. Macao's weather is also influenced by tropical cyclones from the South Pacific monsoon season between June and September.
For more information: Statistics and Census Bureau (http://www.dsec.gov.mo) / Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (http://www.smg.gov.mo)
Posted by: Macaense Memory Project
Posted by: One Minute SAR Macau & Hong Kong - 特區一分鐘 澳門街 香港地
Published on Apr 6, 2016
The Macanese are people in Macau with mixed Chinese-Portuguese ancestry. They have their own distinct food, culture, and language that are slowly fading. But some in the community are determined to keep their heritage alive.
- Goldthread Media News Company
Down a Macau side alley is an unassuming restaurant that’s far removed from the showy neon and glittering facades of the Las Vegas-style casinos that have come to define this semi-autonomous city on China’s southern coast. Yet it’s here, in what feels a world away from the neighbouring casino strip, that a different kind of richness can be found – one of history and culture; a place where flavours of the past and the spirit of old Macau live on.
“I would dare say Macanese cuisine was the first fusion food in the world,” said Sonia Palmer sitting across from her mother, 103-year-old Aida de Jesus, inside Riquexó, the small restaurant they’ve run together for the past 35 years. Macanese cuisine – a unique mix of Portuguese and Chinese ingredients – has a culinary legacy dating back more than 450 years. Originating in the 16th Century when Macau was first leased to Portugal as a trading post, it’s recognised by Unesco as the world’s first fusion food.
Palmer explains that Macanese cuisine, like the Macanese community, originated because of the intermarriage between the Chinese and Portuguese. “The Chinese wives tried to cook as close as possible to the dishes that their Portuguese husbands grew up eating back in Portugal. But of course they didn’t have all the ingredients in Macau in those days, so the wives used some Chinese and South-East Asian ingredients as substitutes. That’s how this fusion food came to be.”
Speaking of firsts, Palmer says her mother, often dubbed ‘the godmother of Macanese cuisine’ was a pioneer herself. “When my mother opened Riquexó it was the first Macanese restaurant in town; before then it was mostly a family food cooked at home.”
Palmer says her mother, despite her age, still visits the restaurant daily. “She doesn’t want to just sit at home and stare at four walls. By coming here, she can sit and talk to the customers; she comes and eats here. She also gives the chefs feedback on all the dishes and tells them what needs to be improved.”
With its walls adorned with photographs of old Macau, the small and cosy family-run restaurant harks back to a bygone era and attracts a mix of customers who praise the authentic Macanese dishes and reasonable prices. Regulars include locals from the Portuguese, Macanese and Chinese communities, some of whom eat here every day without fail. Tourists from out of town visit as well, although not as often, Palmer explains, because it’s not in a touristy area. “Some tourists do make the effort to come here and are always pleased that they did because they get to experience something that is truly Macanese. I think they go to the internet and find our restaurant.”
Besides its legacy as a pioneer of fusion food, today the cuisine has taken on the role of helping to preserve a fading Macanese culture. A large number of Macanese emigrated during the 1999 handover of Macau back to China from Portuguese colonial rule, and Macau’s current population of around 663,400 is now around 90% Chinese. Amid dwindling numbers, there is concern that the Macanese community risks extinction.
“Unfortunately, the Macanese community here in Macau is not very big these days. I would say only around 1,000 people,” Palmer said. “Since the handover, there isn’t a big population of Portuguese to intermarry here in Macau anymore and so the Macanese community is not growing.”
The Macanese community have their own language, Patuá. This Portuguese creole language originated in the 16th Century when the city came under Portuguese control. However, Unesco estimated in 2000 that Patuá was spoken by no more than 50 speakers and listed the language as critically endangered. With Patuá all but extinct, the remaining Macanese community in Macau are hoping that their beloved cuisine will not suffer the same fate. Passionate about preserving their native food, Palmer and her mother have been sharing their family recipes in the hope that up-and-coming chefs will continue its legacy.
“There is an educational restaurant in Macau where they train the next generation of chefs,” Palmer said. “We have shared many recipes with them as we want Macanese food to continue. We don’t feel the need to keep our recipes a secret. Whoever asks us for them, we share it.”
One of their favourite recipes is porco bafassa, a hearty Macanese dish of tender braised pork and stewed potatoes with a turmeric gravy. Another is tacho, a Macanese spin on a traditional Portuguese slow-cooked stew that combines cabbage with cuts of ham, pork and uses Chinese sausages instead of the Portuguese chouriço.
Buoyed by the enthusiasm of the student chefs, Palmer remains optimistic that the cuisine will prevail. “It is very challenging to keep the Macanese culture alive in Macau these days. But fortunately, I have a few friends that have opened restaurants and they will keep the cuisine alive, even if we give up.”
One of those friends is local Macanese cook Florita Alves. Keen to continue building upon the pioneering work that Palmer and her mother have done to make Macanese food more accessible, Alves introduced a Macanese menu at her family’s restaurant, La Famiglia, earlier this year. Located in the heart of Macau’s Taipa Village, a tourist hotspot, and offering classic Macanese dishes like Macau chicken (a braised coconut chicken stew with coconut milk, shredded coconut and turmeric), Alves is on a mission to preserve her culture through food, which she believes is the most direct and easiest way.
“I’m starting by introducing signature Macanese dishes like minchi (sautéed minced beef and/or pork),” Alves said. “This comfort dish is great for introducing someone to Macanese food as it’s easy eating and most people love it. Later on, I will add more seasonal dishes and, step by step, generate more interest in the food.”
In a globalised world where most cuisines are now widely available, Macanese cuisine remains rare in that it’s virtually exclusive to Macau. It’s only in recent years that it’s moved from being a home-cooked family cuisine to becoming available in local restaurants. “It hasn’t travelled too far outside of Macau yet,” Alves said. “It’s still a cuisine that’s waiting to be discovered; for food lovers that are looking for something new, I highly recommend it.”
Alves speaks of the cuisine’s distinct flavours as well. She says a lot of people still confuse Macanese food for Portuguese food, but it’s different. “I am in a position now where I can show and educate people that our Macanese food is a little bit different to Portuguese food. While we do use some staple Portuguese ingredients like garlic, onion, salt and pepper, we also use a lot of Chinese and South-East Asian ingredients such as soy sauce and spices like turmeric and tamarind.”
Alves says that it’s not uncommon for Macanese food to contain several flavours, like one of her favourite dishes, O Diablo, a festive Macanese casserole. “O Diablo is a dish cooked after the festive season with different meats and some pickles inside,” she said. “The dish is sweet, sour, hot and salty – all the flavours are in one pot, it’s really interesting.”
A retired civil servant, Alves grew up helping her grandmother in the kitchen. Rather than slow down and opt for a quiet retirement, she saw a growing need to preserve and sustain the legacy of Macanese cuisine. “Since I still have my health and I can work, I will continue to do something to help preserve our culture,” Alves said. “When you are in a minority, you will find that you need to find a way to stand out to let the people know that you still exist. We need to have something to identify us and I hope it’s our food. Otherwise we will just disappear.”
Alves believes that food is central to the Macanese community and eating is their strongest custom. “Whenever we come together in our families or as a community there is always this sharing of food.” That’s why, Alves explains, the community is pinning its hopes on Macanese cuisine to preserve the culture. “Eating is a primary need. Everybody needs to eat every day. Therefore, I believe through our cuisine we can reach more people and keep our culture alive.”
Critical to that goal of keeping the culture alive through food, believes Alves, is visibility and sharing her knowledge and recipes. “Let’s spread it out – it’s a win-win situation. Otherwise, if nobody knows about Macanese food then nobody will come looking for it.”
By Matthew Keegan
14 January 2019
Remains of the past: Macao's Portuguese heritage. Look beyond the glitzy face of Macao to find a place steeped in Portuguese heritage
Think Macao, think glitz and big bucks. Brightly-lit stunning hotels, colourful neon signs dotting the streets, frenzied casinos and a nightlife that spills into the small hours. But there’s more to Macao, a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China that has been a tourist draw over the last few decades.
A former colony of the Portuguese empire, there’s history and heritage at almost every corner, along with a host of entertainment options and a flurry of eating places, from Michelin-star restaurants to hole-in-the-wall stops. All of which t2oS discovered on a recent trip.
The Ruins of St. Paul’s
It’s no more than the facade of a burned-down church, but The Ruins of St. Pauls is a marvel. The remains of the Church of Mater Dei, which burned down in 1835, is the stone facade, which is standing strong to this day. For heritage enthusiasts, it’s an example of the seamless blend of eastern and western styles of architecture; for everyone else, it makes for a great selfie backdrop!
Down History Lane
The picturesque St. Lazarus District is distinguished by its Calcutta-style buildings with those unmistakable green shutter windows, and cobbled streets, a nod to its Portuguese heritage.
I landed up in Macao on the day of its Mid-Autumn Festival, an extravaganza that is often dubbed as “reunion holiday”, and which sees families getting together over food, drink and merrymaking.
The picturesque St. Lazarus District is distinguished by its Calcutta-style buildings with those unmistakable green shutter windows, and cobbled streets, a nod to its Portuguese heritage. The action was at the Albergue da Santa Casa da Misericordia or SCM — colourful paper lamps, tables groaning under the weight of freshly-baked bread and bottles of red wine, kids revelling in the carnivalesque atmosphere, and an Elvis Presley singing contest for which many had turned up in the trademark white jacket and bell bottoms sported by the rockstar. A walk at night at the Lou Lim leoc Garden, a stone’s throw away, where adults and kids gather to light paper lanterns, are part of tradition.
Taipa Village is an oasis of calm, with houses that fuse Portuguese and Chinese architecture and are painted in pop colours.
The Portuguese influence is visible in almost every corner of Macao, but mostly in Taipa Village. Overlooking the opulent Cotai Strip that houses most of the casinos, Taipa Village is an oasis of calm, with houses that fuse Portuguese and Chinese architecture and are painted in pop colours. Hop over to the Taipa Houses Museum, a collection of five distinctive row houses that recreate the houses of highly-placed Portuguese officials who lived in Macao in the early 20th century. Not too much of a history fan, I wasn’t keen on abandoning my ice-cold lemonade in a comfortable corner of Taipa Village, but once I did, I spent the better part of an hour soaking in the life and luxury of a time gone by.
A walk through the quaint Coloane Village, located in the southwestern tip of Macao, throws up Portuguese-style buildings and narrow lanes. The village has a lived-in feel and is a trip worth your while for the stunning view it affords of mainland China, as well as for its vast array of temples, antique shops and restaurants. Do stop by St. Francis Xavier Church; its bright yellow exterior is the defining image of Coloane Village, which is a must-stopover for its heavenly Portuguese egg tarts.
More on that later!
Not a museum person? Join the gang! But if you have time to kill, the Handover Museum, right in the middle of Macao, is not a bad stopover, especially when you know that most of the relics are housed on the same level. The museum comprises gifts — ranging from the opulent (think giant-sized statues made of pure gold!) to ones with intricate artwork — that the various provinces of China have gifted to Macao. Prepare for some jaw-dropping moments.
Three Lamps District
The best way to explore Macao is on foot, especially if you want to get a feel of the country’s old-world charm. Three Lamps District, the bustling heart of the city, is not exactly a sightseeing spot but affords a taste of local life like no other. The fish market here is the busiest — be ready for some very strong smells, even if you are a fish eater — and residents queue up from dawn for fresh local produce, fruits to flowers to vegetables. Local artefacts at reasonable prices are available as are some quaint tea places that you must pop in to.
Dedicating a day to walking down the lanes and bylanes of Macao that hark back to its Portuguese antecedents isn’t a bad idea. Colourful graffiti on the walls, shops selling Portuguese-influenced bric-a-brac — the rooster is an icon you will find almost everywhere in Macao — and century-old shops that store everything from Portuguese wine to antiques, carpets to cashewnuts are a tourist’s delight.
Macao’s primary shopping district has some of the world’s biggest brands jostling for space but it is also worth a visit for the blend of the old and the new, with some retail chains housed in old Portuguese-style buildings. Senado Square is a place where friends and families get together for a sip and a bite or just a selfie, with its carnival-like atmosphere enticing one to spend a few hours here even if shopping isn’t on the agenda.
Macao Giant Panda Pavilion
If you are in Macao, some panda therapy has to be on the cards. You can spend an entire afternoon, and then some more, at The Macao Giant Panda Pavilion watching baby pandas Kai Kai and Xin Xin leading the good life — feasting on bamboo branches, rolling around in the grass in their air-conditioned simulated forest enclosure and taking power naps as and when they feel like it. #TooMuchCuteness, but also #LifeGoals!
Standing tall at 338m, the Macao Tower dominates the skyline and is an attraction for the adventure sport enthusiast. The adrenaline rush sets in as soon as you take the elevator to the 58th floor. A jaw-dropping view of Macao from the observation deck could be followed by a head-spinning moment when you look down — yes, the floor is fully made of glass!
If you make it past that, sign up for something that most tourists in Macao swear by — the Skywalk. The deal? You are harnessed by your waist and taken to the outside of the observation deck to walk a full circle. A cakewalk? Well, except that there’s no handrail, and it’s about 233 metres above ground! I opted out — blame it on vertigo — but just watching my fellow travellers squealing and screaming as they made the perilous walk while remembering to take selfies was a lot of fun. If you are pumped up to do more than the Skywalk, then there’s a lot more — Bungee Jump to Tower Climb to Sky Jump.
The House of Dancing Water
If you have time to do just one thing in Macao, then sign up for a show of The House of Dancing Water. The 1.5-hour visual extravaganza at the City of Dreams on the Cotai Strip is a water-based show, which is both a visual and sensory delight. Over 80 gymnasts, circus artistes, dancers, divers, actors, and motorcyclists team up for this spectacular show with the stage made up of 3.7 million gallons of water that is equivalent to five Olympic-sized swimming pools. Glitzy costumes, jaw-dropping stunts and a heartfelt love story mean the show is packed on all days of the week, so book your tickets in advance.
The Ponte G 16 experience
I may have missed the Macao Grand Prix by a few weeks, but the simulated Grand Prix experience at the Ponte G 16 simulator at Sofitel Hotel more than made up for it. An afternoon was gleefully spent racing cars and ramming into many others. Try it, it’s a lot of fun!
A new player in Macao’s hospitality sector that opened this February, MGM Cotai redefines luxurious living. The hotel is as much an art lover’s delight as it is a haven for those who like to spend their holidays in style. The hotel is done up with 300 art pieces, including 28 Qing Dynasty carpets. The lobby houses a four storey-high atrium featuring 25 LED walls. The facade of the hotel is a stack of nine glittering blocks, often compared to a jewellery box, which makes for a great backdrop for pictures.
A plethora of restaurants, including one called Coast that’s mentored by MasterChef US judge Graham Elliot, and high-end shopping options make MGM Cotai a city within a city. An “art garden” with more than 100,000 plant species is an attraction. And did I mention that the golden lion at the entrance is made with 32,000 sheets of 24-carat gold foil?!
Tai Lei Loi Kei: Macao’s famous Pork Chop Bun is best had at this no-frills restaurant that attracts tourists as well as locals. It’s been in the business for 50 years and has a recipe passed down through generations. I managed to get a peek into the kitchen to watch the pork chop being fried and the buns coming out fresh from the oven. Try the pork chop with the pineapple bun… and thank us later!
Furu Furu: This tiny Japanese restaurant located close to The Ruins of St. Paul’s is a great spot for a hearty meaty meal when you need to rest your legs after a long walk. Wash down the beef steak with some local beer. Their version of the Oreo milkshake is yum too; it has chunks of Oreo cookies topped with cream and milk.
Lord Stow’s Bakery: Macao is known for its egg tarts — a legacy of the Portuguese — and no one makes them better than Lord Stow’s Bakery. Huge demand means you need to get there early to get your fix of this gooey, melt-in-the-mouth dessert. If you are looking for something less eggy, go for Serradura or Sawdust Pudding, a combination of crumbled biscuits and whipped cream.
360°: Located on the 55th floor of Macao Tower, this revolving restaurant offers a panoramic view of the city. I was lucky enough to land up on the night of the International Fireworks Display Contest, an annual event, and the sight was unlike anything I had ever seen. The seafood platter here is to die for and enough to feed an army.
Drinking tea is a community affair in Macao and hole-in-the-wall tea stops are pretty common. The quaint tea houses transport you to a different era, like the Long Wa Tea House in Three Lamps District. If you are feeling adventurous, try some Tortoise Shell Tea. Trust us, it tastes better than it looks!
By Priyanka Roy
The Macanese are people in Macau with mixed Chinese-Portuguese ancestry. They have their own distinct food, culture, and language that are slowly fading. But some in the community are determined to keep their heritage alive.
- Goldthread Media News Company