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Travel, Teach, Live in China

Macau Diet & Lifestyle
By:Julia Derek

If you are a fan of fusion cuisine, try some Macanese. The highly original Macau diet is not only a mixture of Portuguese and Chinese recipes and spices, but sometimes also contains flavors of Africa, Malay, India and Brazil. The ancient city's ties to its Portuguese founders reflect in the lifestyle of its inhabitants as well as in their way of eating.

Portuguese settlers founded the city of Macau in 1557, which remained under Portuguese rule until December 20, 1999, when China reclaimed it. Mediterranean influences blended with Asian has resulted in a romantic city unlike any other in the world. Sitting in certain restaurants, you can easily forget that you're in Asia. While visiting a Portuguese family-run restaurant, Stephanie Michaels, in the travel guide Jaunted.com, reports "The restaurant has Spanish tile floors, classic Portuguese artwork on white-washed stucco walls."

With its many gambling houses, high crime rate and prostitutes, Macau appears like the Wild West of Asia, but the inhabitants' conservative views on family and schooling sharply contradict this impression. Parents do their best to send their children to school to remedy the currently low levels of education, according to EveryCulture.com.

Multicultural cuisine is important to the Macanese, which is why the city offers a wealth of culinary choices. Aside from restaurants offering traditional Macanese food, you can find Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese and Thai food here. Mainstays of the Macanese diet include Cantonese noodles, Portuguese egg tarts, almond cookies, barbequed meat, shark's fins and pork chop buns. In terms of Macanese cuisine, Telegraph.uk.co reports that "popular dishes include African "Piri Piri" Chicken (grilled in piri piri peppers), tacho (a hearty stew of Chinese vegetables and different meats), galinha Portuguesa (oven-baked chicken with potatoes, onions, egg and saffron), and linguado Macau (sole fried and served with green salad)." The Macanese often wash down their food with a hearty red Portuguese wine. Desserts such as the aforementioned egg tart and goat cheese complete many five-course meals.

According to EveryCulture.com, due to the abundance of casinos and the legal loop holes that allow criminal activities to flourish, Macau is a wealthy city. The government, the church, and private citizens fund and promote charitable organizations and social welfare-programs for the citizens, as well as cultural, sporting and social events and clubs. It is easy to find help when sick in Macau. "Medicine and health care are well-developed in Macau, with 34 hospitals and a doctor density of 1.5 per thousand inhabitants," reports EveryCulture.com. The population is mainly Chinese, but most speak English. The citizens' open-minded attitude and the city's multicultural aspect make foreigners feel welcome. While the casinos are a main tourist attraction, the Macanese strive to make their city known for its hospitality and good service. According to an expatriate writing for ExpateExchange.com, life in Macau is so great that you may never want to leave.

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