Writer Helen Wilcock spends an evening whipping up mouth-watering Macanese dishes alongside top chef Nuno Mendes following his trip to the ‘Las Vegas of Asia’
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a cooking masterclass with a trio of impressive names – renowned chef Nuno Mendes, Great British Chefs and the Macao tourism office – in order to learn more about the little known Macanese cuisine.
Held in Sauce, the brand new and stunning cooking school at The Langham hotel, we were treated to a fully immersive experience of preparing, cooking and devouring two popular dishes created by Nuno.
Located just 40 miles from Hong Kong, Macao quickly became a major trading post for China, Japan, India and Europe which in turn lead to a melting pot for East and West cultures.
Macanese cuisine is an extremely unique one, based upon a wonderful combination of Portugese and Chinese cuisine with ingredients and flavours taken from Europe, South America, Africa and South East Asia. Macao is a must for foodie holidays – you can enjoy Michelin-starred restaurants, mouth-watering street food and local fusion dishes, something which I was not previously aware of.
Chef Nuno recently visited Macao and has become extremely passionate about the region. During our time with him, we learnt about the incredible use of spices in their food and the quality of the local ingredients, factors which conjure edible magic.
The two dishes that we learnt to make were Macanese curried prawns and okra and Macanese tamarind-braised pork, both of which were delicious (of course). It was the first time I had cooked with okra, so despite initial wariness, it proved to be a wonderful addition to the dish and something I plan to eat more of, both at home and when dining out.
As a keen home cook it was amazing to be able to watch Chef Nuno, the creative force behind Chiltern Firehouse, at work. He could not have been further from the stereotype of scary chefs and was an absolute delight to learn from.
Following a demonstration from Nuno we were able to pick a chef station in the incredible new cooking school and each make our own dish. Despite all of us watching the same demo and having the same recipe each individual dish looked different! Thankfully they were all extremely tasty and we celebrated the flavours of Macao in out our personalised way.
Walking into the masterclass I knew little about Macao as a place or about the amazing food found in the region. It was truly insightful to learn more about the cuisine and cook with the incredible chef Nuno. Both educational and edible, the evening certainly put Macao’s cuisine on my map.
Hungry for more? Visit GreatBritishChefs.com for more to enjoy recreating Nuno’s dishes at home.
Images courtesy of Great British Chefs. Words by Helen Wilcock, writer.