Macao - located on the western bank of the Pearl River Delta in southern Guangdong Province, People's Republic of China - adjoins the Mainland city of Zhuhai and lies some 60 kilometres to the west of Hong Kong. Macao comprises Macao Peninsula, Taipa and Coloane. Macao Peninsula is the hub of the territory and is connected to Taipa by three bridges. Several large international hotel resorts - with new supporting infrastructures - are located on the reclaimed land between Taipa and Coloane in the newly developed district known as Cotai.
The Portuguese arrived in Macao in the mid 16th Century. Thus, the city's architecture, art, religion, traditions, food and community reflect the integration of Chinese and Western cultures. Macao became a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China on 20th December 1999 and exercises a high degree of autonomy under the principle of "One country, two systems". In 2005, The Historic Centre of Macao was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a result of its unique historical and cultural landscape. Macao is positioning itself as the World Centre of Tourism and Leisure as it develops into a quality international tourist destination.
Macao is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. The total population is estimated at around 648,400. Over 90% of Macao residents are ethnic Chinese. The remaining includes Portuguese, Filipino and other nationalities. Chinese and Portuguese are the official languages, Cantonese being most widely spoken as well as Mandarin. The official languages are used in government departments in all official documents and communications. English is generally used in trade, tourism and commerce.
In November 2017, Macao is designated as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. There are more than 2,000 restaurants running in such a small city of 30 km2. Macanese Food is a special combination of Portuguese and Chinese cuisines, with ingredients and seasonings assembled from Europe, Africa and South East Asia, Macanese cuisine is uniquely irresistible. Renowned for its flavour-blending culture, and common cooking techniques such as baking, grilling and roasting, Macanese food - with over 450 years of history - is typically seasoned with spices such as turmeric and cinnamon, while a dash of coconut milk tops off the unforgettable aroma and taste. Signature dishes most famously include 'Galinha à Africana' (African chicken) and Macanese Chilli Shrimps.
Macao also features a wide variety of food from most Mainland provinces. Peking duck is the highlight of Peking cuisine, while steamed buns with minced pork filling, wontons and freshwater hairy crabs are renowned Shanghainese dishes. Lovers of spicy food can also enjoy signature Sichuan soups and hotpots in Macao. When it comes to "Yum Cha" (literally 'drink tea') devotees are spoilt for choice, with many Chinese restaurants and traditional "Cantonese Tea House" in Macao, always serving a cornucopia of "Dim Sum" specialties such as "Har Gau", "Shiu Mai" and "Tsun Guen", accompanied by a pot of tea, particularly jasmine tea or "Pou lei".
Some "must-try" items are found on street stalls, with "Pastéis de Nata" (Portuguese egg tarts) and "pork chop buns" being established favourites of Hong Kong and Taiwanese visitors. Other local snacks, packed with shops selling Macao delicacies like almond cakes, egg rolls, peanut candies, roasted sliced meat and many other local specialties. Some of the snacks are cooked right in front of you - and all make excellent gifts for your nearest and dearest.
Source: Macao Government Tourism Office - http://en.macaotourism.gov.mo/index.php