Macau: Where To Eat In The Vegas of China

I’ve been fortunate enough to get a few more passport stamps since joining The World’s 50 Best team last March. I was super excited to join some of my fellow TasteHunters at The Wynn in Macau, China for a week of extravagant tasting menus, luxurious suites, the best barbecue pork buns of our life, and, of course, a few trips to the casino. Macau is the Vegas of China, after all! The main reason for our visit was a guest chef pop-up at the Wynn Macau (more on that below), but we managed to fit in quite a few other meals during our time in Asia. See my favorite restaurants in Macau below, and read more about the most luxurious hotel stay of my life thus far, thanks to the Wynn.

Restaurants:

1. Lord Stow's - You better believe that my first stop in Macau was for pastries! I jumped off my plane and headed straight for Lord Stow’s to get my hands on their famous Portuguese egg tarts. Jet lag was not going to come between me and these heavenly egg custard pastries. SO GOOD!

2. North - Inside the Venetian on the Cotai side of Macau is a delightful Cantonese restaurant that highlights signature dishes from the north of China. My new friend Filippa and I shared a ton of dishes - a cucumber and pork belly appetizer, lamb served with bao buns, crispy duck (my fave), and spicy Sichuan pepper dumplings. Everything was delicious!

3. SW Steakhouse - You really get dinner and a show at this western-style steakhouse in the Wynn Palace. A giant stage is the main focus of the restaurant, and every 30 minutes an extravagant theatrical display briefly interrupts your meal with a spectacular performance. We started off with a few gigantic seafood towers, Hauraki Gulf snapper carpaccio, roasted bone marrow with wagyu oxtail, and finished with a decadent dry-aged porterhouse steak. For dessert, there was a tower of mini funnel cakes with dipping sauces! All courses were expertly paired with wines by the talented sommelier.

4. Wing Lei Palace - We were elated to arrive at the Wynn Palace and discover that Chef Tam (the highest ranked chef in Macau on the Asia’s 50 Best list) recently left Jade Dragon to become the chef at Wing Lei Palace. What an incredible surprise it was to get to try his food! All of the dishes were gorgeously executed, but Chef Tam’s crispy chicken with truffles and char siu pork are not to be missed!

5. Mizumi Wynn Palace - Chef Min Kim gets the highest quality of ingredients flown in from Japan daily for his kaiseki tasting menu. (In fact, his plane of deliveries barely arrived in time for our meal due to a hurricane near Tokyo - as fresh as it gets!) For each course, we were presented with the ingredient (sometimes still alive!) and then the plated dish was brought out just a few minutes later. I really enjoyed seeing the "before" and "after" of the ingredients used - Chef Min used each product with such intention; it was really beautiful to watch him in his element, creating and plating culinary art.

6. Wing Lei Wynn Macau - Chef Chan Tak Kwong wants (and deserves) to be known for more than his mind-blowingly delicious BBQ pork buns, but MY GOD! I would be remiss not to instruct you to go to Wing Lei at the Wynn Macau if just for the pork bun alone. Okay, don’t... everything was honestly delicious... the juicy chicken cooked with tea leaves... the dim sum...  But seriously, the pork buns were so good that the whole table unanimously asked for another order after finishing our meal. So light and fluffy on the outside, topped with just the right amount of sugar, and stuffed with the sweetest, most melt-in-your-mouth barbecue pork I’ve ever tasted. One of the best things I ate this year.

7. Mizumi Wynn Macau - The omakase at this two-star Michelin sushi restaurant was incredible. Beautiful fish, creative use of Japanese ingredients, sake decanters, a great beverage pairing... but the best of all was seeing Chef Hideki Fujikawa’s pure joy, beaming with an ear-to-ear grin as he deftly sliced his fish.

8. Golden Flower - For our farewell dinner at the Wynn Macau, we went to their two-star Michelin restaurant, Golden Flower, which specializes in food from the Tan cuisine, the secret, aristocratic fine dining of ancient China. This food is all about the luxury ingredients that the royalty used to eat - we tried everything from fish maw (spongy fish bladder), an incredible jasmine broth soup, spicy stir-fried prawns (my favorite), and bird’s nest (made from bird saliva, and can be as much as $4,500 a pound) in our dessert. Alongside these elegant dishes, were some delicious drops of Veuve Grand Dame 2004, and more incredible wine pairings.

9. Lai Kei Ice Cream - My dear friend I-Hua and I braved the heat in search for the best ice cream in Macau. This extremely old-school spot has been popular since the mid-1900's. We tried two scoops of their traditional style ice cream, taro and sesame, which were both pretty tasty. They also have homemade ice cream sandwiches on offer - remember those classic, square bars with a chocolate biscuit on each side?

10. Luca Fantin pop-up - The main reason we came all the way to China: the Luca Fantin pop-up at the Wynn Macau! Chef Luca's restaurant in Tokyo is no. 28 on the Asia's 50 Best list, and the Wynn brought him to Macau as part of their new guest chef series. Chef Luca is renowned for his use of Japanese ingredients cooked using traditional Italian methods. I haven’t had the chance to go to Tokyo yet, so it was really special to get to experience his cuisine while in Macau. I especially loved hearing him talk about his childhood memories in Italy that inspired his cooking; the incredible Japanese ingredients brought those dishes to life. The first course is a perfect example of his unique style - a Hokkaido scallop and white asparagus tartar served with Beluga caviar, burrata, and buttermilk cream. Another of my favorite dishes was the Akaushi beef dish. The meat was decadently topped with black truffles and a bone marrow vinaigrette, but Chef Fantin also added some “salad textures” which perfectly balanced out the richness of the plate.

Hotels:

1. Wynn Palace - The Wynn Palace is a palace, indeed! The hospitality is so incredible that I truly felt like a princess here. From the big things (beautiful design, award-winning restaurants, a luxurious spa) to the small details (every amenity you could dream of), the Wynn Palace lacks for nothing. I never wanted to leave! It was one of the most spectacular hotel suites I've ever stayed in, with extremely spacious rooms, a spa room with a dedicated massage bed, two bathrooms, an extremely comfortable bed, a menu of pillows to choose from, and wall-to-wall windows with a view of the fountain show.

I started each morning with breakfast in bed (pancakes and pastries from room service, yes please!), and tucked into bed each night munching on a house-made French macaron that was left by my pillow.

Amenities:

The Wynn Palace is right in the heart of the Cotai side of Macau, located just a five minute drive from the airport.

The Spa at the Wynn Palace is a magnificent haven of relaxation. Modeled after the legendary palaces of China, it has an extremely luxurious shared bath area with pools, as well as VIP private suites for spa treatments. I opted for the private suite, so that I could experience the water-therapy zone before my massage. I got to relax in my private room with tea and cookies, use the sauna, the giant bathtub with lavender bath salts, and the shower (with ten shower heads!). Next, I had the Rose Crystal massage, which used rose and geranium oil and the healing power of rose crystals. The massage was an hour long, and was honestly the most relaxing massage I’ve ever experienced.

The Wynn Palace also has a gorgeous rooftop pool with giant ceramic flowers lining the pool deck and turquoise daybeds. Just around the corner is a state-of the-art gym - that's right, I even managed to squeeze in a trip to the gym in an attempt to work off my tasting menus!

Another really cool feature at the hotel is the SkyCab - a cable car that takes riders in a loop around the Performance Lake. You can take the SkyCab from the street to the hotel (what a way to make an entrance!), or you can just take a pleasure ride around the lake to watch the fountain show.

In addition to the culinary art I previously mentioned, the Wynn Palace also has a ton of fine art displayed around the hotel. My favorite were the enormous flower art sculptures and a Jeff Koons sculpture in the lobby.

2. Wynn Macau - Just when I thought I could never be impressed by a hotel room again, we switched to the Wynn Macau, located on the old side of Macau. Instead of gold, this hotel suite boasted gorgeous black accents (a black marble bathtub, shower, and more), an insanely large living room complete with a full bar and floor-to-ceiling windows with a view of old Macau, another private spa room, and two bathrooms! I could’ve thrown one hell of a party in this suite!

Naturally, I also enjoyed breakfast in bed here (the brioche French toast was amazing!), and also appreciated the dark chocolate left on my pillow each night.

Amenities:

The Wynn Macau is centrally located on the old side of Macau, a five minute drive from the ferry terminal to Hong Kong.

My favorite feature at the Wynn Macau is the outdoor infinity pool with palm trees and cabanas - I felt like I was in Bali laying poolside here! A real oasis. And yes, I managed to squeeze in another workout at this property's state-of-the-art gym. I did not get another spa treatment here, but the Wynn Macau has not one but two gorgeous spas on property.

To me, the coolest thing about the Wynn Macau is that it has three Michelin-starred restaurants under its roof! Reviewed above, Golden Flower, Mizumi, and Wing Lei bring in a cumulative five Michelin stars to the hotel. What a feat!

Both the Wynn Palace and Wynn Macau are home to practically every designer store you could dream of, and, of course, a luxurious casino with tons of table games and slot machines.

Flights:

1. EVA Air - Somebody pinch me... I’m getting spoiled! Thanks to The Wynn and their unparalleled hospitality, I got to travel in the "Royal Laurel" class on EVA Air. I boarded my flight to Macau and was instantly handed a super comfy set of pajamas and a glass of champagne. The incredible in-flight food was served with tablecloths on real china dishes - I enjoyed a multi-course menu complete with hor d'oeurves, pâté, beet soup, and a steak cooked medium rare. Unheard of for plane food! The wine list was fantastic and they also had a dessert trolley full of sweet treats.

But the best part was my seat that transformed into a completely flat bed (!!!)... I’m so pampered I’m not sure I can ever travel long distance in economy! Being able to actually sleep on your long-haul flight is a total game-changer. Best flight of my life!

Following along on Instagram? See more from the trip at #CarnivorrTravel.