The Minchi got me at Fat Tea, as did the Macanese fried rice vermicelli. Minchi is pork mince, rice, onions, diced fried potatoes, onions, fried egg, French beans and chee yau char (crispy lard bits) which you stir up and thoroughly enjoy. It was a delicious introduction to Macanese food at Fat Tea.
The Fried Rice Vermicelli is beehoon fried with char siu, vegetables and egg, and finished with pickled ginger which adds a lovely tart and sweet tang to it. We loved it.
Fat Tea is a Macanese restaurant in Damansara Perdana and these two dishes typify the comfort food of Macanese families in Macau. Said Susana Batalha, its chef and part-owner, “Minchi is a very personal thing to me. Every Macanese family grew up eating it three or four times a week. Some make it with pork or beef, or a mix of both. There will be chopped long beans and potato.“We would put a teaspoon of a secret sauce ‘tik yau’ on the Minchi.” Su, as she is known, speaks Cantonese too, and she gets her supply of the tik yau when she goes back to Macau.
The names of the dishes on the Fat Tea menu have a familiar ring to it. There is Curry Lacassa with seafood, Porco Balichao Tamarinho or tamarind shrimp paste braised pork, Portuguese Chicken or Po Kok Khai, which is a baked creamy coconut turmeric chicken. The Portuguese settled in Macau in 1557, and the cuisine is a blend of Portuguese and Chinese. They came to Malaya and went to Africa, hence the Piri Piri Chicken and other food with spices at Fat Tea. On the menu too are Prawn Rissoles, which is a very Portuguese thing.
Truly superb was the Oxtail Stew, meaty chunks of Australian oxtail low braised for three hours in red wine, carrot and onions, with tomato paste added last for a perky lift. The meat tasted caramelised, tender and gelatinous. We dipped our sesame bread into the thick gravy and we were satiated.
The Porco Balichao Tamarinho tasted exactly like the pork belly braised with cincalok and tamarind we used to cook at home. In this case it was cooked with shrimp paste or the famous “har cheong” from Macao. It was scrumptious. “In the old days my grandma fermented her own har cheong for months in a cupboard. ”
The simple Fried Cabbage we had here was rather tasty, with strips of wood fungus and red chilli, and sprinkled with sesame.On another visit we had Beef Brisket and Tendon Beef Curry which was pleasurably gelatinous, and embraced with the different spices – cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns and even Sichuan peppercorns – and deep flavours of nam yue and beanpaste. “It’s stewed for a long time. It’s really Macanese,” said Su who used to run her own café in Sydney for 17 years.
I’m certainly coming back for the Bafassa Pork, which is twice-cooked stewed pork shoulder marinated with wine and turmeric.
Blacmange, a coconut pudding drizzled with prune juice, and Serradurra or “sawdust” pudding are Macanese desserts at Fat Tea. Serradurra has a crushed biscuit base, with more biscuit “dust” layered with whipped cream and topped with crunchy, caramelised almonds and walnuts. As you dig in the “sawdust” flies up and coats your month. I like it. The coconut pudding is smooth and delicate with the prune juice.
Oh yes, why Fat Tea? It’s directly translated from the Portuguese “Cha Gordo” (cha is tea gordo is fat). “In Macau we usually have a lush high noon tea, with a table full of goodies – finger food and desserts.” A fat tea is usually laid out at religious and family celebrations.
Fat Tea is located at Unit LG-05, Plaza Emerald North, Jalan PJU 8/3A, Damansara Perdana, 47820 Petaling Jaya. Tel: 03 7733 1868.