Monday, July 21, 2008

Alorcha – a haven in a fast changing society

As Macau changes beyond all recognition there are few constants left amid the spiralling gambling revenues. Macau has given up a lot of its charm as Vegas has moved in. Don’t be misled by the 30% rise in GDP figures – this is a two strata society where gleaming casinos make a few very, very rich and leave others poor.
One haven though that I make a beehive to every time I am in the former Portuguese enclave is the simple, traditional surroundings of Alorcha, a small, immaculate restaurant opposite the maritime museum and just round the corner from the Poussada Sao Tiago. Inside there are arched whitewashed walls, tables that seat 50 people max – book in advance +853 313193, as this is a place locals frequent regularly. This place is probably my favourite restaurant in all of China.
The food – a fusion of Portuguese and Macanese – is good, filling, honest fare; the chargrilled chicken washed down with a cheap bottle of Borba red a standout favourite. And then there’s the friendly staff who greet regulars and newcomers with a warmth that increasingly is hard to find in plastic coated, casino driven Macau. If somehow after the massive oven warmed bread roll and your humungous main course you can squeeze a pudding in too then the serradura should finish you off.
Old Macau just exist still, you just have to search harder for it, but it’s worth the snooping around.

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