Embark on a culinary odyssey in Macau this holiday season

Macau's award-winning culinary scene is an impeccable mix of flavours from the East and West that will dazzle your tastebuds this Christmas.

Grill 58’s Christmas menu features langoustine ravioli, roasted seabass and truffle crusted tenderloin

Grill 58’s Christmas menu features langoustine ravioli, roasted seabass and truffle crusted tenderloin.

Grill 58’s Christmas menu features langoustine ravioli, roasted seabass and truffle crusted tenderloin.

As a UNESCO “Creative City of Gastronomy”, Macau is without doubt a hub for culinary excellence and innovation in Asia.

The city’s local cuisine draws its inspiration from colonial Portuguese roots as well as locations along the historical spice trade route, including Africa, India and Malacca. Chinese cuisine and international flavours are also renowned in Macau, with a few establishments even boasting Michelin stars – reflecting the city’s diversity and distinction in the culinary arts.

As 2018 – earmarked for Macau’s “Year of Gastronomy” celebrations – comes to a close, the city promises to be the destination to celebrate the holiday season – where one can indulge in fine cuisine while soaking in the festive cheer.

The Christmas menu at Aux Beaux Arts features turkey roulade and poached turbot.

The Christmas menu at Aux Beaux Arts features turkey roulade and poached turbot.

The Christmas menu at Aux Beaux Arts features turkey roulade and poached turbot.

The cream of the crop

Gastronomes will certainly not want to miss the opportunity for an exclusive wine and dine experience at a celebrity chef outpost in Macau.

The city is home to plenty of kitchen superstars tapped by the city’s hotels to distinguish themselves from rivals. Macau’s small size means that an award-winning restaurant or celebrity chef’s establishment is more often than not just around the corner from where you are.

MGM COTAI, an architectural marvel on the glitzy Cotai Strip, is also the centrepiece of Macau’s award-winning gastronomic experience, boasting four resident celebrity chefs under one roof. Any time of the year, stepping through the doors of the 1,390-room hotel-casino, which opened in February 2018, is like entering the gates of culinary heaven.

MGM Macau.

MGM COTAI.

MGM COTAI.

But for this holiday season, three of the hotel’s famous chefs have upped the ante, each whipping up a tailor-made menu for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Spending a night, or two, at MGM COTAI’s restaurants would be the perfect way to round off Macau’s inaugural “Year of Gastronomy”.

At Grill 58, helmed by Michelin two-star chef Mauro Colagreco and specialising in premium meats, a tailor-made a-la-carte Christmas menu features a unique langoustine (Norway lobster) ravioli with galangal-lemongrass foam, alongside seabass and steak mains served in special sauces. Or end the year with a bang with a New Year’s Eve set menu, in which you start the night with a slow-cooked egg served with grated celery cream and grated black truffle, before tucking into a char-grilled beef rack with foie gras and sweet potato mousseline.

Aji by Mitsuharu Tsumura at MGM COTAI.

Aji by Mitsuharu Tsumura at MGM COTAI.

Aji by Mitsuharu Tsumura at MGM COTAI.

A cultural pilgrimage

Macau’s rich colonial and cultural history makes the city ripe for creativity and experimentation in the kitchen. And this fusion of cultures is perhaps most prominently reflected in Aji at MGM COTAI, helmed by chef Mitsuharu Tsumura, whose restaurant Maido in Peru was ranked 7th in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018. Combining the refinement of Japanese cooking techniques with the exotic flavours of Peruvian ingredients, chef Tsumura brings diners on a voyage from his home country to his native roots.

The highlight of the holiday season menu is the sous vide beef short rib cooked for 50 hours, available for both Christmas and New Year’s Eve seatings. Peruvian-inspired marinated seafood and octopus skewers are also on offer in the Christmas dinner menu.

Have a classic Christmas

Buffet spread by Graham Elliot at Coast at MGM COTAI.

Buffet spread by Graham Elliot at Coast at MGM COTAI.

Buffet spread by Graham Elliot at Coast at MGM COTAI.

For those who want complete freedom on their gastronomic odyssey, chef Graham Elliot of MasterChef fame invites guests to a delectable buffet spread at his restaurant Coast at MGM COTAI. Feel the laidback friendly character of the US’s West Coast from where chef Elliot draws his inspiration, as a seafood platter comprising a Boston lobster along with oysters, sea prawns and Alaskan king crab legs welcomes guests at each table. Seabass, burgers and BBQ pork ribs are just some of the classic American favourites that await in a wide-ranging selection of mains, soups, pasta, cheese and desserts.

But of course, no festive dinner is ever complete without a whole turkey. If a classic Christmas experience is what you seek, MGM MACAU’s chic brasserie-style French restaurant Aux Beaux Arts serves up a special turkey roulade for its Christmas menu.

Aux Beaux Arts at MGM MACAU.

Aux Beaux Arts at MGM MACAU.

Aux Beaux Arts at MGM MACAU.

Feel the spirit in the air

After dinner at the 1930s Paris-inspired restaurant, take a walk along Macau’s streets decked in Christmas lights. It may be an Asian city, but Macau during this time of the year looks and feels just like any other European destination. The beautiful decorations and nativity scenes exude an enchanting Christmas spirit as you near the end of your gastronomy journey.

MGM MACAU.

MGM MACAU.

MGM MACAU.

Even more captivating is the Macao Light Festival, themed “Time Travel in Macao” this year. Revolving around the concept of time, the festival will weave in local elements of gastronomy, architecture and culture as it leads audiences on a glittery journey across time and space in Macau via three routes through the city. Get your cameras ready for the projection mapping and light installations, and fill your stomachs with delights from the food trucks and night market.

Tired from all that walking and feasting? Pamper your body with a two-hour indulgent spa treatment at Tria, located at both MGM hotels. The Festive Bliss package features a Hot Stone Massage and Rejuvenation Facial that will refresh your body and soul for another food trail the next day or your return flight home.

Treat yourself to special spa packages at Tria at MGM MACAU and COTAI.

Treat yourself to special spa packages at Tria at MGM MACAU and COTAI.

Treat yourself to special spa packages at Tria at MGM MACAU and COTAI.

And if you have time, why not head over to the stunning atrium of MGM COTAI for an immersion of art and nature. The Spectacle, so aptly named, features an enormous digital art collection displayed on 25 four-storey high LED screens, as well as an indoor garden holding over 2,000 species of plants. There is no other indoor structure as impressive, and this synthesis of art and science is the perfect complement to a phenomenal culinary experience in Macau where the best of East and West meet to enthral one’s senses – the perfect way to end the year and usher in a new one.

This article is brought to you by MGM.