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Located in the alleyway near the three lanterns and Rua da Barca, namely Rua de Martinho Montenegro “Mac San Street”; I believed not too many people get familiar with it. When it comes to the Common Room, Medan, Shanghai Vegetarian Restaurant, the Chicken Kong Kei and so on…. the majority will immediately think of the place around the corner; which is an secret place, an Nanyang delicacy called “The Alley Cafe.”

Like what the name of the restaurant called “the alley”, its a hidden restaurant located in one of the small alleyways. The old fashioned Cafe became popular in recent years, coupled with a mix of special Nanyang cuisine blend-ins, it is just a perfect, trendy foodie intro point.

Well seated at eleven o’clock in the morning; the dining-in area was almost full. All stacked up takeaways looks a bit scary. I didn’t expect so many takeaway order before noon time begins! Not too many menu choices indeed, generally divided into two categories: Nanyang and Local Chinese flavors. Recommendation from my close friend – definitely Nanyang-style items is something to start with.

And in fact, it really didn’t disappoints me.

Spiced deadly blue Cat (Butterfly Pea Flower Rice) and Spiced deadly Green Cat (Pandan Nasi Lemak) are rich in its color, quite generous in portion.

Especially when the butterfly pea flower that dyed with rice, it was so beautiful; and please, don’t worry too much about its coloring. The price is reasonable, including drinks are available for just fifty dollars. Other food items taste a bit sweet and sour, the Nasi Lemak to eat with the curry chicken piece is just simply a masterpiece presenting Indonesian, Southeast Asian cuisine.

Laksa Dish

Tried Laksa Rice Noodle. The soup base is thick and rich in flavor, having the coconut milk in it does not feel greasy at all. Could be serve with Vermicelli, chinese rice noodles, silver needle noodle, thin and thick egg noodles. Other options include sliced beef, pork and chicken fillet, pork neck plus other delicacies, which are one of the most popular food item.

The Mouse Noodles

The most anticipated fish-flavored fried mouse noodle (commonly known as fried silver-needle like noodle) have long lost for years. I had given a try in one of the food stall in Singapore ages ago. The Mouse noodles are indeed traditional “Hakka” snacks. Both head and tail pointed, white and translucent. Also namely “silver needle” noodle in Cantonese. The item went disappearing for some time in Hong Kong and Macau. Surprisingly, I can find them in this little hot shop today! The soy sauce makes the dish so bright in dark brown color, filled with full flavour, taste not greasy at all, looks refreshing and springy, that was just a good, memorable one.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Here of course, the Hainanese chicken rice is a-must eat. Given a try with Stirred Dried Noodles today never disappointed me. The chicken thighs are tender and smooth, the noodles are springy, and within, there is no smell of alkaline water. Absolutely another good choice for lunch. Thai-style minced pork and pan fried egg with rice, together with Cafe’s Satan Pork Chop rice are also good choices.

The Best Beverages

Coffee and hand-pulled milk tea are of course indispensable. Highly recommend the Dinosaur Milo-topped drink with chocolate powder, it is super delicious. Finally, I ordered kayan toast with fresh cut margarine and salted egg (you can choose Pandan or salted egg flavor). It tastes with mixed feelings. With a sip of nice home made coffee, the taste is so different, similar to one of the famous restaurants in Malaysia. It looks extremely evil when noticed the thick cut squared butter; it felt so refreshed when melted inside mouth, together with the thick layered sweet spreads and rich salted egg yolk.

Nanyang cuisine background

From history to present, in such a tiny place like Macau, has established a , crossed-cultural food meeting point hundred years ago. When Portuguese colonial domination begun, there is a strong connection between Southeast Asian countries.

From the 70s onwards, most chinese from neighboring Southeast Asian countries were in chaos. They have sought refuge in Macau to escape the local war. Especially the Burmese, they settled around the three lantern area, together with their family roots in said neighboring districts. Eventually they gathered homey, diversified Indonesian and Burmese cuisines as years passed. In addition to the three lantern area, the Rua de Abreu Nunes “Yee Ma Lou”, has gradually formed a long and famous Thai food street. Alternatively, Vietnamese, Filipino and Indian cuisines have entered in other side streets and narrow lanes of Macau (near Fu Long Street, Tin Tong Street, Yi zi Street, Nape, etc.). Along with their migration merge ins, their food culture has built substantial influences in Macau; which turned into today’s unique Macau crossover Southeast Asian cuisine; a must- eat unique local flavor everyone would try.

The after eating

Having said, Nanyang cuisine has driven many different and exciting food stories. And “Alley Cafe” played an important role today. It promote the original flavors from various southeastern countries, made slight adjustments on it, and blended with the current modern food trend cultures; it perfectly put up the balance between new food trend and young generation needs.

Such food concepts fully elaborated by young local team. Although there are a lot of takeaways, the waiter didn’t neglect the dine-in patrons at all, but also explained in detail each food intro with patience. Their enthusiasm and persistence are worth spending some time to promote and support this local SMEs.

Also worth find some time patronize with them, definitely worth recommending a new store these days.

Angela Fung