Day 2 starts very early as the old body-clock hasn’t yet dropped back by three hours. I wake up before the birds and after breakfast we all hop into a bus and head to the Lee Kum Kee offices. There we are shown a video on the history of the company, its products and philosophies.
We head into the large test kitchen where chef May teaches us about steamed radish cake. It is a traditional Chinese New Year dish, and most families make many of them. Some are left out for the god of prosperity at this time of year. The cake is made in a round tin as it is considered to be more prosperous and better fortune than a square tin.
I will post the whole recipe separately but in a nutshell, it is grated and simmered daikon radish mixed with a rice flour slurry with fried lap chuong sausage, mushrooms and smoked pork belly stirred through. After being placed in a round tin the same mixture is spread on top and it’s steamed until it sets and garnished with shallots, coriander and sesame seeds.
Once chilled, the cake is sliced into pieces about half a centimetre thick and roughly 5x7cm in size. It’s pan fried until golden on each side and served with XO sauce. It’s really delicious.
After trying a sweet version as well, we get back into the bus and head to a yum cha restaurant for lunch. There is no risk of anyone going hungry today.
There are some familiar dishes at lunch, like steamed pork buns, prawn dumpling, siu mai and prawn dumplings.
There are also a few things I haven’t seen before, like yin and yang sesame rice cake, steamed Malay cake (which isn’t from Malaysia) and a type of dumpling soup I haven’t seen before. Along with bean curd spring rolls, braised greens and fish dumplings, I am thoroughly stuffed.
We travel a little further to the island of Taipa. It’s a quaint area with cobbled streets and quirky little shops. We enter an unassuming-looking establishment which turns out to be a pork bun tea house. We pretend that lunch was more than half an hour ago and prepare to indulge in the signature dish of the house.
We are all quite certain that we won’t be able to eat another thing but when the pork buns arrive – whole deep-fried pork chops on house-made bread, no less, we all have a little sample. And then a bit of a bigger sample….as strange as it sounds it’s actually really hard to stop eating. We are also given fish balls and octopus with curry sauce and spicy fish on a roll. It’s out fourth meal of the day so far, and we roll out of the tea house and head for the Lee Kum Kee shop. It’s a tiny little place, tended by Uncle Ray who is 80 years old and has worked for Lee Kum Kee for 65 years.
Next stop is the ruins of St. Paul’s. This is a beautiful cathedral façade set above sweeping stairs which descend to Senado square.
The whole area is very open, with cobblestone streets, food stores and souvenir shops. The feel is quite European, which would be due to the influence of the Portuguese occupation. The streets are festooned with lanterns for the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Of course we have to stop for a traditional Portuguese tart. I don’t really need a snack but since dessert goes to a separate stomach I am able to fit it in.
After a wander through the streets we hop back on the bus and head out for dinner, which is at a Portuguese – inspired restaurant. After eating yet another meal, we head for the hotel. It has been another busy and interesting day with great people and very generous hosts. Tomorrow we leave the plush accommodation in Macau for mainland China. Nighty night!