December 18, 2012

8 The Eight (Macau)

And so my vacation to Hong Kong + Macau began! I've been looking forward to this trip for a good few months now as I know I'll be having some pretty amazing food. My first meal, right off the 20 hour plane ride and ferry, was an incredible feast at The Eight, a two Michelin-starred restaurant located in the Grand Lisboa Casino Hotel.
The space is grand, classically elegant with a modern flair. I loved that the teapot was placed on a mini candle-lit heater to help it retain its heat.
Interestingly, we were served an "amuse-bouche" of barbequed pork sliced abalone on a fried cracker.
法國鵝肝金錢雞
Barbecued Pork with Foie Gras ($33 MOP Per Piece)

The Eight is quite well known for this dish so of course we wanted to try it. Not exactly the healthiest combination, but the foie gras added such a lovely richness to the pork. I don't love foie gras on everything, but on this dish, it worked so well with the bold flavours of the pork. Yes, it was supremely rich, and my life expectancy will probably drop by a few years if I have this too often. But I really, really loved it.
香芋味菠菜餃
Steamed Spinach Dumplings
($36 MOP)

My sister ordered a bunch of dim sum and this was one of them. I didn't try any of this one in particular, but it looked very dainty.
五香火腩芉頭糕
  Pan Fried Taro Cake
($32 MOP)

This wasn't bad by any means, but I would probably skip this next time.
刺蝟梅菜叉燒包 & 葡香焗蟹撻
Porcupine BBQ Pork Buns ($33 MOP) &
Baked Curried Crab Tarts ($36 MOP)

Can anyone even bear to eat these creations? These dim sum were seriously adorable, and in addition to the cute factor, they were actually tasty! I thought that the BBQ pork bun was super delicious, and I really didn't want to share mine. On top of that, they were very reasonably priced (the pork buns and crab tarts were around $4 and $4.50 CAD for three each respectively). 
玫瑰蜜汁叉燒
Barbecued Pork
($90 MOP
)

This was honestly the most scrumptious, delicious BBQ pork that I've ever had. The meat was unbelievably juicy with just the right amount of fat. I loved that something as simple and humble as char siu can blow my mind off without any embellishment or gimmicks. It was easily one of my favourites of this lunch.
貝絲白玉脆茄子
Stewed Eggplant with Shredded Conpoy and Crabmeat
($130 MOP)

This was one of the lighter dishes that we had chosen, and I enjoyed the delicate flavours after all the rich food that I've been eating. The fried eggplant (hidden underneath all the egg white in the picture) was a good crunchy contrast to the creamy egg white. 
脆皮柚子手撕雞 (半隻)
Shredded Chicken with Crispy Skin and Pomelo in Honey Lime Sauce ($140 MOP for half)

The crispy skin was lovely, and I thought the sweet and sour pomelo flavours complemented the chicken very well. However, I personally am not a huge fan of pomelo, and as a result this dish was not amongst my favourites of the meal. That said, the rest of the table seemed to all love this dish.
原隻乳豬焗飯
Suckling Pig Stuffed with Fried Rice and Preserved Meat
($260 MOP for half)

Even though everything has been wonderful so far, there was little doubt that the star of the meal was this stuffed suckling pig! This little beauty was the sole reason that I wanted to come here in the first place!
I was a tiny bit disappointed that we ended up with the tail end of the piggy, instead of the upper half. The visual impact was certainly less appealing.
But visuals aside, the suckling pig certainly lived up to its hype. In particular, the fried rice was indescribably good! It was super flavourful as it had soaked up all that delicious, fatty essence of the pig. I can already tell that this is going to be one of the most memorable things I ate on this trip. 
The rest of the pig was chopped up for us as well. But after all the heaviness from the rice + pork combination, we had to pack some of this home.
啫啫芥蘭
Sauteed Kale with Dried Shrimps and Shrimp Paste in Casserole
($80 MOP)

My dad insisted on ordering some veggies to balance out the feast of meat.
上湯帶子雜菜煲
Poached Scallop with Dried Shrimp and Glass Noodles in Thickened Broth
($125 MOP
)

This was probably the healthiest thing we ordered in the entire meal. I thought that it was a good pre-dessert palate cleanser.
Dessert came in the form of complimentary, fresh-out-of-the-oven pastel de nata (Portuguese egg tarts), possibly my favourite thing in the world. It was the perfect bite to satisfy my sweet tooth without tipping me over the edge.
They also gave us a tiny cup of milk tea, which we found sickly sweet (my grandpa thought it was chocolate milk). But that was just a small misstep in a truly extraordinary meal. I loved almost everything, and the barbequed pork and suckling pig were, in particular, outstanding. If you have a chance to visit Macau, I highly recommend checking out this restaurant!

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