We go beyond the tourist hotspots to hunt down the echoes of a a few-century cultural imprint

We Go Beyond The Tourist Hotspots To Hunt Down The Echoes Of A A Few-century Cultural Imprint

The Street of Green Windows.

We Go Beyond The Tourist Hotspots To Hunt Down The Echoes Of A A Few-century Cultural Imprint

Wandering the colonial core of Macau, I stumble upon a tiny sign bearing the same name.

We Go Beyond The Tourist Hotspots To Hunt Down The Echoes Of A A Few-century Cultural Imprint

Only that will “Janelas Verdes” can be a dark passageway of less than 50 feet, used mostly for storing bicycles.

We Go Beyond The Tourist Hotspots To Hunt Down The Echoes Of A A Few-century Cultural Imprint

Seeking echoes of a a few-century cultural imprint, I’m wondering if there’s any advantage in knowing what to search for inside place that will sparked my interest inside globe of the Portuguese.

We Go Beyond The Tourist Hotspots To Hunt Down The Echoes Of A A Few-century Cultural Imprint

I certainly don’t find the idea inside obvious places: like the ruins of the Sao Paulo cathedral, the main Senado square, the old battlements as well as ramparts, at that will point overrun with day trippers, garish displays of paper lanterns as well as endless rows of pressed pork jerky shops.

We Go Beyond The Tourist Hotspots To Hunt Down The Echoes Of A A Few-century Cultural Imprint

as well as I plan to stay away by the Portuguese restaurants listed in every guide, many with falsely fancy airs to pamper tourists.

We Go Beyond The Tourist Hotspots To Hunt Down The Echoes Of A A Few-century Cultural Imprint

Of course, any place that will puts out bacalhau, the salted codfish cooked a thousand ways by Portuguese, or spicy chourico sausage, has to at least partially fit the bill.

although many are run by Macanese as well as feature such multi-national specialties of empire as “African Chicken” or “Minchi” ground beef virtually unknown in Portugal itself.

MORE: How to enjoy Macau without placing one particular bet

Livraria Portuguesa

We Go Beyond The Tourist Hotspots To Hunt Down The Echoes Of A A Few-century Cultural Imprint

Starting out at the central Ou Mun Café, once a favorite gathering spot for homesick expats, I find a few appropriate pastry specialties.

although the Portuguese owner — as well as spirit — can be nowhere to be glimpsed.

as well as when I ask for a café — along with “bica,” the customary way Portuguese ask for a strong shot — the Filipina waitress wonders if I mean an “espresso.”

I find solace around the corner at the Livraria Portuguesa (16 R. de São Domingos), one stubbornly surviving outpost of Iberian language as well as obsessions.

There’s plenty of surrealist poetry here by Pessoa, Portugal’s reigning if reclusive literary light, also the best photo books on Macau, academic works in English creeping in as well.

There’s something about the gentle, modest manner of the bearded young fellow who mans the front counter that will’s quintessentially Portuguese.

There’s no arrogance of a “cultural representative” here, more the fateful resignation of living amidst Macau’s strange, waking dream.

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Casa de Portugal

Strolling the far end of Sao Domingos, that will main shopping street crowded with sneaker shops, I fatefully glimpse a modest signboard beside a baroquely sculpted door frame, announcing the sale within of “Pao Alentajano.”

by my time in Lisbon, I know that will to be the hump-backed loaves of ultra-white bread beloved by Portuguese.

Once inside, I realize the bread actually comes by the Portuguese Bakery (Beco do Sal No. 24) near Macau’s port, already closed for the day.

although I’ve accidentally entered the customary lair of at least half the Portuguese in town.

Called “Lusitanus” after the Latin name for Portugal, meaning “land of the light, that will can be the main dining hall of the Casa de Portugal (26 R. de Pedro Nolasco da Silva), set since 2003 in a mini-palace directly across by the Portuguese consulate.
Bifanas as well as pregos. at that will point that will's the not bad stuff. - We Go Beyond The Tourist Hotspots To Hunt Down The Echoes Of A A Few-century Cultural Imprint

The basic menu here can be an exact replica of that will found in every modest corner tasca (simple inn) back inside home country.

that will can be the real, unadulterated stuff: bifanas (pork steak sandwiches), pregos (the same with beef), puffy croquettes of bacalhau, thin steaks topped using a fried egg.

I choose my Portuguese wife’s customary lunch: breaded fish cutlets (panados) served with tomato rice, as well as done better than in Lisbon.

the idea goes perfectly using a decent white Portuguese wine (not the inevitable, cheap vinho verde, although a steal at a mere 20 patacas — $2.50.)

They even serve Super Bock, the Portuguese beer as well as a Portuguese bottled water, Caramulo.

Taking my ease at an iron table painted white above the creaky wooden beams of an unnecessarily high ceiling, I speak with two neighboring migrants by Portugal.

Both architects, the idea bothers them that will their work involves brand new construction, although not conservation.

“although,” bemoans one named Lilia Silva, “the idea’s so much easier to save buildings than a way of life.”

For the latter, they suggest I head to the black sands of outlying Hac Sa Beach.

“Sun as well as sand, that will’s us,” they confess, as well as I understand, having seen how Lisbon, a major European capital, empties completely every weekend in summer for an exodus to nearby beaches.

Igreja de San Lazaro

I opt instead to keep wandering back streets, as well as soon come to a remarkably preserved enclave of three blocks around the Igreja de San Lazaro — St. Lazarus Church.

Surrounded by blocky concrete shop houses, that will area featured mosaic streets laid in curvaceous patterns, wall murals as well as galleries, petite squares shaded by massive flamboyant trees. She explains that will the church can be named after Lazarus because that will used to be the place that will tended to lepers — perhaps a reason the idea was saved by bulldozers?

“The young today, they don’t know anything about the history we went through, our culture,” she bemoans.

MORE: Pastry perfection: How Portugal gets its delicious daily sugar fix

Santa Casa da Misericórdia

Santa Casa de Mesiricordia: Where Macanese of all ages gather to socialize. - We Go Beyond The Tourist Hotspots To Hunt Down The Echoes Of A A Few-century Cultural Imprint

At the far upper end of that will unique yet little touristed Calcada de San Lazaro oasis, posters announce art shows as well as a show of balloon-sculptures festooned to beautiful camphor trees lead me into a gorgeous courtyard.

that will the elegantly transformed Santa Casa da Misericórdia, a former charitable home for old women using a 400-year-history, at that will point washed in orange paint set off by a brace of black shutters.

The main attraction here can be Albergue 1601 (Calçada da Igreja de São Lázaro nº 8), a Portuguese hangout of sorts for Macau’s few literati, with two floors of stone-as well as-wood atmosphere as well as assorted grandfather clocks as well as a menu (as well as wall of wine on display) suggesting the idea can be truer to the form than most.

Never mind that will one Portuguese I meet warns me to eat only where they put out cozido a la Portuguesa (hint: look for one or two in Taipa Village), a hearty stew.

Across the way, someone with more than passing knowledge of Portugal has outfitted a luminous matchbox of a store called Mercearia (Calçada da Igreja de São Lázaro nº 8) whose symbol can be the quintessentially Portuguese sardine.

the idea’s stocked with retro soaps in art deco wrappers, wooden mascots of Barcelos roosters as well as sardines, as well as the real fishy stuff canned with special care. There’s homemade fig jams by the Azores as well.

MORE: 10 things to know before visiting Macau

Caravela

Even though I’ve already had my fill of café, I decide to follow the architects’ tip to check out Caravela (Shop 7H, G/F, Edf. Kam Loi, R. do Comandante Mata e Oliveira, Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro) — a common hangout that will’s Portuguese enough to dare call itself a “pastelaria” (by a country where pastry shops as well as cafes are one as well as the same).

the idea takes asking several rickshaw drivers before I find the idea down a modest alley literally inside shadow of the blazing golden towers of the Wynn, MGM as well as Lisboa Grande resorts built on the backs of baccarat takings.

using a few outdoor tables under an awning, bare concrete walls inside as well as a glittery bar outfitted with display case of a typical if minimal selection of Portuguese sweets, like queijadas as well as the real pasteis de nata — not to be confused with the Brit rip-offs marketed everywhere as “egg tarts”) — the Caravela fits exactly my fellow diners’ description of “the typical gathering place along some rural highway of everyone in a modest Portuguese town.”

The people here, too, look like the usual dapper yet unsmiling cast of characters in a place where, as Lilia Silva also said, “everyone knows everyone,” nursing with near-sacred devotion their strong coffees — as well as perhaps their thwarted schemes of wealth inside Orient.

as well as maybe that will’s as Portuguese as anything can get.

John Krich can be a veteran travel as well as food writer, previously with Asian Wall St Journal, known for his “Around the globe in a Bad Mood” as well as “Won Ton Lust” travelogues as well as PEN/Hemingway awarded novel, “A Totally Free Man” — at that will point based in Lisbon. Twitter: Krichyland

We go beyond the tourist hotspots to hunt down the echoes of a a few-century cultural imprint

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