— words by Mike Smith
If ever a city was able to successfully mould old with new, east with west, it’s Macau. You only have to look at the ceramic street signs to realise this is a centre with a mixed personality. Each street and lane has a Portuguese and Chinese name.
Wander through the cobblestone squares of the compact old city centre with its UNESCO World Heritage listing and you’ll appreciate the way the majestic Portuguese-designed buildings, theatres and churches share the same address as quaint Chinese temples, homes and shopping stalls.
Shadowing old Macau – the world’s most densely populated city – is the surviving stone facade of St. Paul's. On the waterfront to the Inner Harbour, looking across to mainland China, is the A-Ma Temple, the birthplace of Macau. In between is an interesting blend of hotels, casinos and many more heritage sites.
Across the three bridges linking Macau peninsula to Taipa is an area of reclaimed land known as Cotai where you will see the rise of new Macau, a mix of neon-lit resorts, complete with ritzy indoor shopping boulevards, international restaurants, family attractions and some of the world’s largest-branded luxury hotels. Like the cityscape, the cuisine is uniquely Macanese, a fusion of recipes and ingredients – and food for thought.