Friday, July 8, 2011

A Taste of Northern China

Food and travel guest blogger hkLifestyleGeek gives us her next scoop on fantastic restaurants around town and travel tips. Contact her at

Macau's dining scene has expanded exponentially in the last month with the recent opening of Galaxy Macau that boasts 50 restaurants. OK, some of them like McDonald's and Spaghetti House may not be fine dining, but they're still places to grab a bite to eat in between the slots and tables. However if you are in search of a pretty authentic taste of northern China, look no further than North at The Venetian Macao. It's conveniently located on the casino floor and squarely aimed at the resort's target market, but that doesn't mean the food ain't bad -- in fact we quite enjoyed the culinary experience.

Moderately priced, the restaurant decor is quite impressive, with a very red colour scheme, no doubt a psychological ploy to make diners hungrier. But the open kitchens showing chefs making hand-pulled noodles or delicately wrapping dumplings are enough to get the tastebuds going.

For starters, the marinated mung bean noodles, shredded pork and vegetables like radish, cucumber, black fungus and fried egg had a spicy sesame dressing thanks to the kick from the mustard oil.
Next up was crispy "Beijing style" sweet and sour prawns. They were plump and juicy, but the shell was stuck to the meat. It was difficult to peel the shell if you didn't want to munch down on shell, which wasn't really appealing.
Hand-pulled noodles were featured in the old Beijing noodles with condiments such as radish and cucumber julienne, beef, soy bean mung bean sauce and bean sprouts that you mixed together. The noodles were made fresh and cooked perfectly so they had a bit of resistance.
Another northern Chinese favourite is crispy pan-fried beef and spring onion bun. These came three to a plate and one was plenty proportion-wise. The xiaolong bao or steamed pork dumplings are delicious, the skin quite delicate and the inside full of juice. Have them with regular vinegar with ginger or go northern with vinegar infused with cloves of garlic.

Jiaozi are also a northern Chinese staple and North has so many different combinations to choose from that it can be hard to decide on which ones to have. While pork and cabbage is typical, the lamb and cumin mixture was excellent.
Don't forget to leave room for the dessert of deep-fried banana with pulled sugar. It looked so pretty on the table, a customer who was being seated made a detour by our table to take a look and then promptly ordered one himself. It is usually made with deep-fried apples, but here it's with banana and comes with a bowl of iced water or you'll get the sticky sugar all over you.

Needless to say we waddled out of there and tried to walk the meal off by going window shopping in The Grand Canal Shoppes...

Shop 1015 (Next to Canton on the casino floor)
The Venetian Macao
(853) 8118 9980

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