Monday, February 16, 2015

1 day in Macau for the Uptown Girl

Uptown Girl [uhp-toun gurl]
A girl who is rich and sophisticated. One who is used to the comforts and luxuries of life.

So you are that classy and elegant girl hanging out in Macau for a day. And no matter whether it is a planned break in Macau or merely just a stopover, you have got to have a proper itinerary and tasteful plans. But at the same time, you don't want your day to look too predictable with just check out the integrated resorts only.

Dilemma much? No worries, here is my take on how you can strut down the streets of Macau gracefully!


8:00 AM Breakfast at Lung Wah Tea House 龍華茶樓
Perhaps you think you deserve an American breakfast and a good cup of coffee since you are that refined lady after all but there isn't any excuse why you should not attempt to hype up your morning at Lung Wah Tea house. I will tell you why later!


Lung Wah Tea House 龍華茶樓

Lung Wah Tea House 龍華茶樓

Lung Wah Tea House 龍華茶樓
Address: 3 Rua Norte do Mercado Almirante Lacerda (Beside Red Brick Market 红街市)
Opening Hours: 7:00am - 2:00pm daily


Lung Wah Tea House 龍華茶樓
All that mis-matching fixtures...

If you are looking forward to see a lavish dimsum restaurant, I am sorry but I have to disappoint you! Actually I think you will probably be so overwhelmed with all that furniture and other fixtures that you might think that you have stepped into a furniture store instead.

In fact, the furniture and decorations in Lung Wah Tea House were hardly ever planned for. Some of them were the original furniture from the days when the tea house first started, some were gifts or the owner's personally collection of antique vases, urns and paintings.


Lung Wah Tea House 龍華茶樓

During my first visit to Lung Wah Tea House, I assumed that Macau would have a strong influence from Hong Kong and I was really hoping to experience how it is like to have dimsum in a tea house in Hong Kong with someone pushing a trolley or cart around to offer you some dimsum.

But the dimsum cart at Lung Wah Tea House is stationed at a corner instead. You will have to swing by and pick up whatever you will like to have on your own.


Lung Wah Tea House 龍華茶樓

After a couple of trips to the dimsum cart, we end up a table filled with baskets after baskets of food! I guess this is almost everything available that morning and we have got one of each... Hehe!


Lung Wah Tea House 龍華茶樓
Very much amused with that army of dimsum right in front of my eyes that morning!


Lung Wah Tea House 龍華茶樓
A photo grid of all the food we had during breakfast!

As mentioned, this is my second trip to Lung Wah Tea House and it sure seems like the dimsum variety has grown a fair bit ever since! There were new additions and stuffs like the carrot cake that I was looking forward to is no where in plain sight. You can read my writeup on my first visit here.

Anyway, my views and opinions about the dimsum is still the same. Although the food were quite heavily seasoned to me, there was nothing fancy but a selection of authentic and homely dimsum!


Lung Wah Tea House 龍華茶樓

Lung Wah Tea House 龍華茶樓
Grannies hanging out at Lung Wah Tea House for a morning yum cha session...


Lung Wah Tea House 龍華茶樓
Well, grandpas deserve an equally good breakfast too don't you think?
But just that this one is having his alone... Hmmm...


Lung Wah Tea House 龍華茶樓

By the way, Lung Wah Tea House was first established in 1962 and set to offer simple yet authentic Cantonese dimsum fare, And after a long history of 53 years as of today, the place is currently managed by He Ming De 何明德, the son of the original owners.

And speaking with some of the locals when we were there, we found out that most of them enjoys the tea house as much as we do! The locals will usually drop by whenever they have free time for some specially brewed tea while checking out the news on their local newspapers before indulging in the dimsum or Cantonese dishes available.

No wonder the tea house had a special mentioned in the MICHELIN guide for Hong Kong and Macau published in year 2011, alongside with all the other awarded restaurants!


10:00 AM Senado Square 議事亭前地 & Ruins of St. Paul's 大三巴牌坊
Head straight to Senado Square right after your satisfying breakfast at Lung Wah Tea House and spend the rest of the morning shopping away! Wheeeee~


Largo do Senado (Senado Square)

Largo do Senado, or also known as Senado Square, is Macau's main square where it used to be a civic hub for centuries. It is now pedestrainized and paved with wave-patterned Portuguese mosaics, complete with an iconic fountain, cafes, shopping streets and space for public events.

And the best thing about Senado Square is that it is strategically located among numerous attractions of Macau. From churches with rich history and cultures to UNESCO World Heritage sites to great food, you name it all!

If you will like to find out more, check out my detailed writeup on Senado Square here! I know I sound like a broken record already since this is the nth time I am repeating on this space but it is for the benefit of those who missed my previous post aite? :)


Senado Square

Be sure to find leading brands from all around the globe that is familiar to you at the shopping streets of Senado Square and also a handful of local shops as well!


Largo do Senado (Senado Square)
Christmas 2014 and this is my favorite transformation of the fountain at Senado Square by far! 


Ruins of St. Paul's
Ruins of St. Paul's

Located just around the corner from Senado Square, lies the beautiful remains of Ruins of St. Paul's that used to be a grand and impressive first church in Macau until a fire broke out in 1835 and destroyed almost everything. Actually, whatever that survived the fire is probably only the main facade you can see in the photo above and the grand staircase right behind it.

And I will say that Ruins of St. Paul's is a must-see when you visit Macau just like you have to see the Milan Cathedral when you visit Milan or the Colosseum when you go to Rome. So take some time off all that shopping and go around to the Ruins of St. Paul's to take a selfie with this amazing stone facade that had survived the fire and all these year since it was built in early 17th century!


Ruin's of St. Paul's
The Ruins of St. Paul's after dark

After the sun had gone down for the day, the crowd will disperse and peace and serenity will return to the vicinity around the Ruins of St. Paul's. And although it might be dark and the museum located behind the facade has closed for the day, this is the best time to visit the icon of Macau in my opinion!


1:00 PM Lunch at 天 Sky 21
Time flies when you are going through all that shopping frenzy at the shopping streets of Senado Square and before you know it, it is time for lunch already! You will be too hungry and tired to deal with anything like Lung Wah Tea House again where you have to move around to get your food so I guess there is no better place than having your lunch at Sky 21!


Lunch at Sky 21

天 Sky 21 Bar & Restaurant 
Address: 21/F, AIA Tower, 251A – 301, Avenida Comercial de Macau, Macau
Opening Hours: 12:00pm - 3:00am/4:00am daily


Lunch at Sky 21

Sky 21 Bar & Restaurant is the ultimate have-it-all entertainment destination set atop a sky-high landmark that serves first-rate Asian gourmet. In other words, you can either pop by for a fancy meal or a drink or two while grooving to the best mix of music. All that that is absolutely nothing short of being luxurious and chic!


Appetizer


Lunch at Sky 21
Serrano Ham Carpaccio


Lunch at Sky 21
Japanese Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Tempura


Lunch at Sky 21
Green Salad with Yuzu and Tomato Dressing

Kick start your lunch with an array of appetizers from carpaccio to salads or even a platter of tempura to whet your appetite for the feast that is due to come. If you will like to know, I personally enjoyed the Green Salad with Yuzu and Tomato Dressing. Love how it was so refreshing with a slight sweet and sour note from the dressing and also how they have deep-fried tofu skin to replace croutons as toppings! Talk about fusion yo!


Main Course

Lunch at Sky 21
Grilled Asparagus and Bean Curd Steak with Teriyaki Sauce


Lunch at Sky 21
Chinese style Braised Beef Curry Brisket in Sizzling Pot


Lunch at Sky 21
Steamed Sea Bass fillet with Lime and Chilli


Lunch at Sky 21
Crispy Chicken with Shrimp Mousse

So moving on to the main courses after the scrumptious appetizers, we had an even better variety served! Here's giving you a quick description of each dish!

The Grilled Asparagus and Bean Curd Steak with Teriyaki Sauce was a combination of thick and crunchy asparagus and very smooth bean curd steak served in a tasty and savory sauce. And the beef chunks and tendons in the Chinese style Braised Beef Curry Brisket in Sizzling Pot were perfectly fork-tender that it can literally melt in your mouth. Actually, the Steamed Sea Bass fillet with Lime and Chilli was cooked just right that it was firm but not overcooked and still very fork-tender also! Besides, it was so fresh and there is no better choice than to pair it with a light and tantalizing lime and garlic sauce so you will be able to enjoy the freshness of the fish. Then last but not least and pretty much in contrary with the textures of the two dishes mentioned earlier, we have also the Crispy Chicken with Shrimp Mousse where each piece is a combo of a crispy chicken skin, succulent chicken meat and also a smooth shrimp mousse on the last layer. Very mouthwatering and every bite turns out to be quite an adventure with the varying texture!

Anyway, I thought that the main courses we had were all so unique and delectable that I am having hard time deciding which one is my favorite right now!


Desserts

Lunch at Sky 21
Desserts and Fruits Platter

And of course, not forgetting to end your lunch on a sweet note with a desserts and fruits platter! I say go for the chocolate truffles! The chocolate is so creamy and velvety. So yummy! 

(Disclaimer: The line above suggesting that the chocolate truffles are the best might be merely a personal preference for chocolate truffles above the rest on the platter. Take it with a pinch of salt please! Hehe...)


Lunch at Sky 21
Guia Lighthouse
(Read my writeup about Guia Lighthouse here...)


Lunch at Sky 21
Macau Tower
(Read my writeup about Macau Tower here...)

Anyway, this is also my second visit to Sky 21 and they never failed to amaze me be it the food or the service. And also to highlight, there are two floors to Sky 21 and from the porch on the upper floor, you can actually get quite a fantastic view of Macau including Guia Lighthouse and Macau Tower as seen in the photos above! Pretty awesome isn't it? Also, in case you are interested to read about my first visit, you can read it here!


3:00 PM Wine Museum 葡萄酒博物館
A big part of your daily life as an uptown girl requires you to attend parties or galas and also, attending events at art galleries or visiting an exhibit in the museum that is usually "by invitation only" whether or not if it is actually your personal interest. So pop by the Wine Museum after your exquisite lunch at Sky 21 as I bet you will enjoy this one!


Wine Museum 葡萄酒博物館

Wine may be a common beverage at most parties or events and even in your household but you probably still don't know in detail how wine is actually produced. So allow the interactive exhibits in the Wine Museum to enlighten you on that! And just for your info, the first bottle in the photo above is actually more than 200 years old!


Wine Museum 葡萄酒博物館
Traditional Portuguese costumes

And then you can also learn about the history and information of Portuguese culture, traditions, daily life and celebratory rituals. To add, the exhibition space houses more than 1000 different wine brands of Portuguese wine which comes from the different regions of Portugal.


Wine Museum 葡萄酒博物館
Wine tasting station inside the museum...

Almost towards the exit of museum, you will see a wine tasting station set up for the benefit of the visitors who have yet to try a variety of wines from around the world. And needless to say, you can expect some Portuguese wines as well.

By the way, the Grand Prix Museum is located just next door. You can drop by if you are interested with all those race cars and grand prix action! Read more about both the Grand Prix Museum and the Wine Museum here...


4:30 PM MGM Macau 澳門 美高梅 & Red Sandalwood Exhibition 老北京城紫檀雕刻展-天造地創
There are countless of hotels and integrated resorts in Macau and each of them has got their very own feature and highlight that is absolutely extravagant and totally out of this world. So just like how The Venetian has got their shopping arcade fashioned like the streets of Venice, MGM Macau has an old-world Europe inspired plaza that was recently transformed into a fish aquarium!


Aurora at MGM | Macau

Aurora at MGM Macau
[Photo credit: 梁泽贤 & MGM Macau]

Yes, this is how the Grande Praça in MGM Macau looks like today. Very beautiful and so magical don't you think? I can totally imagine walking into the plaza and feeling like I had dived 100 feet below into the sea and swimming around the fishes. But it was such a pity that the elaborate fixtures were taken down and replaced with Christmas decorations during our visit... 


Aurora at MGM | Macau
The Grande Praça at MGM Macau during Christmas 2014!


Aurora at MGM | Macau

Well honestly, I wasn't all that disappointed after all when I realised that they had taken down the actual fixtures for Christmas decorations. That towering eight meters tall cylindrical tank was still very much mesmerizing with a 360 degree view of the underwater life in that aquarium. If you will like to know more about MGM Aurora, check it out here!


Aurora at MGM | Macau
Baby boy is so mesmerized by the fish aquarium too!


Red Sandalwood Exhibition 澳門美高梅老北京城紫檀雕刻展-天造地創
After you are done with being fascinated with the fish aquarium, head up to the second level via the grand staircase at the end of the plaza to the exhibition hall with the Red Sandalwood Exhibition!

And I have a confession to make in case you are wondering why I am suggesting the Red Sandalwood Exhibition out of so many other exhibitions going on in Macau! The Red Sandalwood Exhibition is by far one of my most favorite exhibition I had been to because the exhibition hall simply smells so good! As in a pleasant scent and fragrance from the sandalwood on display!


Red Sandal Wood Exhibition at MGM Macau
Origin and Heritage of red sandalwood carving art...

Upon entering the exhibition hall, aside from the aromatic scent of sandalwood, you will also be greeted with panels and life-sized furniture that illustrates the history of red sandalwood carving. And also a Chinese-style pavilion where master wood sculptures will demonstrate the traditional skills and introduce their works.


Red Sandal Wood Exhibition at MGM Macau
Two solid pieces of sandalwood that are pending completion by the masters...


Red Sandal Wood Exhibition at MGM Macau
How many tools does a wood sculpture need?


Red Sandal Wood Exhibition at MGM Macau

At the next zone, you will be able to see a beautiful miniature landscape of Yongding Gate 永定門 made of red sandalwood and yinchen wood in 1:10 ratio as well as videos, photos and a beautiful colossal wall-painting of the other old Beijing city gates! 


Red Sandal Wood Exhibition at MGM Macau
左安門或右安門? Left or right, which one should I pick? Hmmm...


Red Sandal Wood Exhibition at MGM Macau
A close up of the scaled model of Yongding Gate

The Yongding Gate, or the Gate of Everlasting Stability, was built during the Jiajing reign of the Ming Dynasty. It was the gate of the highest standard located at the center of southern wall and was reserved for the emperors as the main exit point to the outer city. The gate was demolished in 1957 and rebuilt in 2004.

And can you imagine 100 master wood sculptures spending over 30,000 hours to create this scaled model! Impressive isn't it?


Red Sandal Wood Exhibition at MGM Macau

And moving on to the next zone, be prepared to be awed by yet another impeccable miniature but this time it is of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests 祈年殿 in the Temple of Heaven 天壇!

The temple and hall was where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties prayed for good harvests and it is not only a place for prayers but it also includes the knowledge of history, philosophy, astronomy, paintings, music, social institutions calendar etc. Undoubtedly one of the world's largest religious ceremonial complexes and world cultural heritage site.


Red Sandal Wood Exhibition at MGM Macau
Check out those delicate details!


Red Sandal Wood Exhibition at MGM MacauRed Sandal Wood Exhibition at MGM Macau
Last but not least, a groupie at the little trick eye spot before you end your tour around the exhibition!


One Hundred Photographers Focus on Macao 百名攝影師聚焦澳門

Bajiaoting Library
Bajiaoting Library 八角亭图书馆
[Photo credit: 冯国强 & MGM Macau]

Also available in MGM Macau alongside the Red Sandalwood Exhibition is the One Hundred Photographers Focus on Macao! It is a collective effort of 100 photographers with supports from various sectors of mainland China and Macau, aiming to promote mutual communication between mainland China and Macau as well as reflecting the history, economy and culture of Macau since its handover. The photo above is one of the 100 photos on display in MGM Macau and the one that really caught my attention!
And for your information, both exhibitions are held in conjunction of the 15th Anniversary of Macau S.A.R. and they will be going on from now till March 22, 2015 only! So if you happen to be in Macau during this period, don't miss the chance to catch them at MGM Macau!


5:30 PM High Tea at Pastry Bar, MGM Maacu
When you are done with checking both the Red Sandalwood Exhibition and the One Hundred Photographers Focus on Macao, head back down to the Grande Praça and get ready to take a quick break and indulge in a high tea session! Cakes and tea! Yes!


High tea at Pastry Bar, MGM Macau

Pastry Bar is a quality modern traiteur pastry outlet that features a variety of bread, pastries and chocolates; all under the strict supervision of the pastry chef, Guenther Wolfsgruber. And the fact that it is located just by the sides of the grand plaza, it really feels like you are enjoying your afternoon tea in the alfresco area of a cafe located somewhere in Europe instead!


High Tea at Pastry Bar, MGM Macau
The East-Meets-West Afternoon Tea

Set out for the East-Meets-West Afternoon Tea set if you are unsure what to order and you can surely trust them for some quality afternoon tea time!

The set features selections of Vanilla Cream Chiffon with Osmanthus Tea Jelly, Coconut and salted Kaya curd cake with lychee jelly, Chinese barbecue pork dim sums and more! Yes, a good fusion of both Chinese and Western afternoon tea fare and all that is available at price of MOP 268* for two!


8:00 PM The House of Dancing Water at City of Dreams, Macau
Actually 5:30pm might be a little late for a high tea session but that should keep you filled until after you are done with catching The House of Dancing Water, the world's largest and most magnificent water show at City of Dreams, Macau!


The House of Dancing Water @ City of Dreams

The House of Dancing Water is the centerpiece of City of Dreams that was envisioned by Mr Lawrence Ho, Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Melco Crown Entertainment Limited. And working with Franco Dragone Entertainment Group, comes the birth of this love story that transcends time and space through China's deep-story-telling heritage that was created and directed by Mr Franco Dragone personally.

And set in a massive 270-degree theatre, the show is about a story beginning at the coast of Coloane, where a fisherman traveling with his boat got caught by a mysterious energy that pulls him to a place and time of legends. He was lost and intrigued when a storm brings a survivor from a shipwreck to this magical kingdom. There, the survivor encounters and falls in love with a beautiful Princess who was nabbed and locked up in a cage by her evil stepmother, the Dark Queen. But the fisherman decided to help the survivor fight against the Dark Queen and save the princess albeit being entirely strangers.

Here's a couple of snapshots of the show...


The House of Dancing Water @ City of Dreams
An enchanting dancing chandelier made out of humans and crystals... No pun intended.


The House of Dancing Water @ City of Dreams
Behold the evil stepmother, the Dark Queen!


The House of Dancing Water @ City of Dreams

Princess was nabbed from her Prince Charming to be locked up!


The House of Dancing Water @ City of Dreams
The Princess' Dance of Victory after the final showdown with the Dark Queen!

Although it is just a simple love story, the water-based show had my full attention during the entire duration even if it was my second time catching it already. Yeah, I still find it very entertaining how the crew had taken the physical performance pass limits through combat, wit, creativity, incredible expertise and agility!

Read my detailed writeup about the show complete with snapshots to illustrate the full story as well as important information and trivial fun facts here. And in case I did not emphasize enough, I am going to say it once again! This is definitely a very spectacular show you shouldn't miss!


9:30 PM Late Dinner & Drinks at SOHO 蘇濠
Then finally, pop over to SOHO 蘇濠 for some late dinner and drinks to sum up your day in Macau! I honestly don't know what a sophisticated uptown girl will really prefer between eating and shopping, but a drink and some food (again!) to unwind after you get so hyped up after catching The House of Dancing Water sounds perfectly awesome to me!


Happy Hour at SOHO, City of Dreams

SOHO 蘇濠
Address: Level 2, The Shops at The Boulevard, City of Dreams Macau


Happy Hour at SOHO, City of Dreams

While the first level of The Shops at The Boulevard within City of Dreams seems pretty normal and very much like another sleek and luxurious shopping arcade in any other hotels, you won't be able to guess that the premier-most leisure and entertainment destination and the current talk-of-the-town is actually just above it on the second level.


Happy Hour at SOHO, City of Dreams
An ultra swanky looking roast goose stall! I wonder if the chef has badass tattoos too!


Happy Hour at SOHO, City of Dreams
A bartender performing a flair!

SOHO was designed and planned in a manner to offer a trendy and premier mix of international cuisines and sophisticated bars set in a cool urban New York backstreet-style that spans across a whooping large area of 35,000 sq. ft.

And along the "streets" of SOHO, you get really awe-inspiring and innovative entertainment experiences that includes live performances, giant interactive digital wall and even an electromagnetic flip-dot screen mimicking the flip board at airport halls that interacts with you!

Everything in SOHO is so engaging and spontaneous, I can't help but to fall in love with this place!


Happy Hour at SOHO, City of Dreams
Raise your glass and toast to a great night with your girls!

Anyhow, I am one who is absolutely not keen with trying my luck at a casino even if they are opened 24/7 for I can never be bothered about anything that is defined by luck and also, I don't exactly enjoy the idea of them allowing people to smoke in the enclosed area of a casino. So I had been trying (very hard) to source for other activities available in Macau aside from just sightseeing and shopping.

And after three trips to Macau in two years, I finally found the solution to the million dollar question I had been asking in my mind all along. And it sure seems like I have found it!


p.s. Thank you MGTO for having me in Macau once again!

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