Sunday, 5 July 2009

Fat Siu Lau

64 Rua da Felicidade, Macau
Visited 3rd July 2009

Fat Siu Lau is apparently Macau's oldest restaurant, founded by 1903. Situated on a side street south-west of Senado Square it takes a bit of effort to find, but the area's winding old streets are worth a wonder. One the way you'll pass plenty of places selling almond biscuits; Macau's chess cookies have to be the most heavily touted food in the world. The ridiculously long line at immigration meant that by the time we'd checked into our hotel and managed to find Fat Siu Lau it was after nine-thirty and unbelievably for Macau on a Friday night the restaurant was empty. By the look of things the place had recently been re-decorated and the while looking a little too white and modern it's tastefully done and manages to maintain a sense of old-style Macau charm.

The Portuguese inspired menu had all the Macau classics I've come to expect and we decided to share a serve of African Chicken and Portuguese style fried rice. African Chicken is a Macau speciality with origins in the old trade routes that came via Goa and Portugal's Moorish heritage. The dish we were presented with was delicious; the tender chicken came with a well balanced, spicy coconut based sauce. The chicken went well with the meaty fried rice that was packed full of mince, sausage, egg and cabbage. To drink we shared a bottle of Casal Garcia Vinho Verde, a pleasant food wine that matched well with the spicy chicken.
Despite sitting in an empty restaurant I enjoyed my time at Fat Siu Lau. The staff were courteous and we didn't feel pressured to leave despite being the last punters of the day. Our meal was good and not bad value. The chicken was MOP136 and the rice MOP80, though MOP150 for the wine was a bit much when most of the competition sell the same bottle for MOP100, though this is only expensive by Macau standards and compared to Hong Kong is still good value. Portuguese joints are a dime a dozen in Macau and while Fat Siu Lau probably isn't my favourite it dishes up tasty enough grub to make it worth a visit.

Visit Restaurant website.


John D said...

When I visited this branch, a few months ago, the African chicken was not at all inspiring; lots of quite greasy and rather salty gravy (but yes, there was a slight coconut taste to it), with half a very scrawny chicken that seemed to have been dropped into the gravy as an afterthought.

The wine list was extremely limited and quite expensive.

During the meal I had to eliminate several flying insects (looked to me like the "toilet fly" variety) that were hovering around my food and drink. Indeed one of the flies landed in my glass of wine, before meeting its end.

The service was generally competent and friendly.

After my meal I had a tour of the premises, which is on three floors, each floor with a totally different decorative theme, almost like three different restaurants. The ground floor theme seemed to me to be by far the least off-putting, but there is no accounting for taste.

Andrew said...

Hey John

I've been back to Fat Siu Lau once since this visit. My girlfriend for some reason loves the African chicken. I think it's OK, though on the last visit it was noticeably fattier than the first time we went. I also remember the bread being average; which is unusual in Macau.

Agree about the wine - one of the things I like most about going out in Macau is being able to get interesting wine and decent prices (unlike the vast majority of the over priced rubbish that offered in HK restaurants). Fat Siu Lau seemed expensive, though I can't remember what their selection was like.

Those flies sound nasty!


Phil said...

Every time I come to Macau, I keep coming back for the food, cause it's just so remarkable. Sampled at quite a few places specializing in the Lusophone fare, including Fat Siu Lau.

I'm not that surprised that a lot of the restaurants in Macau are that empty by that time of the evening, especially on a Friday or Saturday and it's basically the same with many similarly priced establishments.

The African Chicken didn't look too inspiring at all, based on the pictures from the restaurant website, from other bloggers as well as ( (if only you could understand Chinese). It just looks like a whole lot of gravy smothered on to the chicken and not a whole lot of spice flavor at all. I've had much better offerings at Litoral (Near A Ma Temple) or Solmar (Just outside the Old City Centre, a stone throw from The Grand Lisboa or The New Yaohan) of this same dish.

The Portuguese Clams in a Spicy Tomato Sauce, it was mildly spicy which is good since I can't really tolerate spicy foods too well. But I didn't like the color of the sauce at all, as it doesn't even look like it has tomato in it, looks more like brown puke.

Their Signature Dish, "The Superb Roasted Pigeon" isn't superb at all, the plate was flooded with the pigeon sauce (too much in my opinion), the skin wasn't that crispy at all and I didn't really taste much in the marinade at all, there's totally a lack of spice flavor in the background. I've had better Pigeon at Hong Kong's Tai Ping Koon.

For an establishment that has been in business for the last century and beyond, I feel that the current owners (the founder's great-grandchildren) especially Mr. Wong Hing Tim, the current director of operations at Fat Siu Lau (They have 2 other locations throughout Macau) has insulted his generations before him, who built a reputation in Macau and Hong Kong. I think the current owners and the family that runs these places have lost focus on their food.

Even my father who ate there nearly 40 years ago, witnessed that the food at Fat Siu Lau has gone a bit downhill too and clearly their expansion says that they're focusing on quantity over quality.