MACAO is set to celebrate 2018 with a year-long promotion that feasts on its recent UNESCO Creative Cities – Gastronomy recognition.
Now a member of an elite list of 26 global cities designated for their cuisine, the former Portuguese enclave will celebrate by promoting 2018 Macao Year of Gastronomy.
Among the major food-related events for the year is Macao’s hosting of the prestigious Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants promotion from March 25-27, complete with dining experiences, lectures, a chefs’ feast and a gala awards ceremony.
Throughout the Chinese Year of the Dog, Macao will be highlighted by a congested calendar of colourful festivals and events, along with the opening of a contemporary international hotel – the 1390-room MGM Cotai.
“Being recognised by UNESCO for its gastronomy is an exciting development for Macao which has always been renowned for having one of the world’s earliest forms of fusion food,” said Helen Wong, general manager of the Macao Government Tourism Office (Australia and New Zealand).
“Over four centuries, Macao has seen the evolution of what is known as Macanese cuisine, where families have prepared home-cooked dishes, recipes with elements of Portugal, Africa, India, Malaysia and China creating a real melting pot of tastes,” she said.
“During that time, Portuguese traders brought to China capsicum, curry, shrimp paste, pickled cod fish and other spices. These ingredients were combined with the evocative flavours and aromas from south-east Asia such as cinnamon, coconut milk, tamarind, garlic and red chilies’ along with the vegetables and fruit grown in the region.
“The story of Macanese cuisine is just as enticing as the taste of the food itself.”
Among the popular dishes on the Macao menu are African Chicken, Minchi, the salt cod fritters and the sawdust pudding Serradura along with the sought-after Portuguese-style egg tarts.
Macao will kick off 2018 with its annual Chinese New Year celebrations, including two vibrant family street parades have been organised for the evenings of Sunday, February 18 and Saturday, February 24.
From April 27-29, the compact Asian centre of more than 600,000 will host its 6th Macao International Travel Industry Expo (MITE) at The Venetian Macao, this year’s exhibition increasing to 500 booths.
Over five Saturday evenings from September 1 until October 1, the skies over the Macau Tower will explode into a kaleidoscope of colours as countries from around the world compete in the 29th Macao International Fireworks Display Contest.
For the first time in its history, the annual contest was cancelled in 2017 after Macao was devastated by the fury of Typhoon Hato which struck in the days leading up to the event.
On September 27, Macao will celebrate World Tourism Day with an array of colourful activities while, in October, it will host the Global Tourism Economy Forum.
Giant steins will be raised throughout the same month as the MGM Macau celebrates its annual Oktoberfest with all the food and singing expected at such a German-style gathering.
More food for thought in November will be the 18th Macau Food Festival, the overwhelming aroma of dishes enough to wake the taste buds as guests wander between street stalls.
December will be another busy month with the hosting 8th Macau Shopping Festival, the ever-appealing Macao Light Festival and the 3rd International Film Festival and Awards – Macao (IFFAM), completed with its red-carpet ceremonies.
To wind up 2018, sports fans can look forward to the Macao International Kart Grand Prix while lovers for fireworks can prepare for a colourful evening on December 20 to commemorate the 19th year since the establishment of the Macao Administrative Region along with the traditional New Year fireworks on December 31.
Despite last year’s impact of Typhoon Hato, Macao boasted a record-breaking 2017, attracting more than 32,600 international visitors – and increase of 5.4 per cent on the previous record-breaking year.
An increase in the number of integrated resorts and hotels coupled with a growth in attractions and activities have played key roles in the rise in popularity.
The total number of hotel rooms in Macao increased to almost 38,000.
Such expansion saw an increase of almost 10 per cent in the number of visitors taking overnight stays, ensuring the average occupancy rate would be between 88 and 90 per cent.
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