It was crazy to think we’d manage A Lorcha after a big late afternoon meal at Fernando’s, but since I never get up early enough for breakfast on vacation (or weekends ever) I at least have to get in two meals per day for maximum eating experience.
I missed my Saturday night reservation because I was jetlagged and couldn’t drag myself out of bed. I wasn’t particularly hungry Sunday evening either, still feeling the effects of a multi-course lunch at Robuchon a Galera, but Macanese food had to fit into the schedule, pathetic appetite or not.
A Lorcha is on the same strip as Restaurante Litoral, a restaurant similar in look and style–white stucco, dark wood beams and brick arches–that I tried in Macau previously. Both serve hearty fare in portions way too big for two to explore adequately. That probably explains why so many pushed together tables were occupied by extended families.
I’m always game for a pig’s ear salad and had no idea what to expect. The cold slices are definitely about texture, more cartilage than flavor. I was hoping all the little white bits weren’t raw garlic but they were. It was way overpowering and I’m not sure if that was intended or not. That’s not to say I disliked this dish; it was just very strong in all aspects, oily, vinegary, and not terribly meaty.
I would’ve tried the African chicken to compare it to Litoral’s but James insisted he didn’t like it last time. I don’t think that’s true. To appease, I ordered Macanese chicken to see what the difference would be. It turns out, I prefer the African chicken, which is a stiffer oilier curry. Macanese chicken is mild, stewy and coconut milk based with roughly chopped chicken pieces and potatoes chunks similar to a Malay kari ayam I later made in a Singaporean cooking class. It’s not too far from a Thai massamun curry either, if that’s more familiar.
I never know what to do with all the sauce and it seems wrong to eat potatoes and rice. This serving was enough of a meal by itself but I can’t justify eating only one dish for dinner, especially in a country I may never get to again.
And I’m glad that I overindulged because the clams and pork were worth it. I love the uniquely Portuguese combination. Why not combine shellfish and meat? Clams are fine by themselves but sometimes you want something more substantial, and I guess, fatty. I was expecting little bits of pork but ratio between the two ingredients was almost equal.
I’m still not sure what makes food Macanese. Most of what I’ve encountered seems either Portuguese or sort of Malay or even Filipino (much of the staff and customers at both A Lorcha and Litoral were Filipino) not so much Chinese. I’m not feeling wild culinary fusing.
Of course I’m dying to try Macao Trading Co. which opened just before I left the country, despite being highly suspicious of the venture. I mean, in a way it’s kind of brilliant to sell a mishmash cuisine that most New Yorkers know nothing about in a rustically flashy setting. Maybe someone could sex up Guyanese food next? Interestingly, it looks like they’ve divided their menu up into Portuguese and Chinese versions of the same ingredients with little hybridism whatsoever.
A Lorcha * Rua do Almirante Sérgio 289, Macau