Sunday, 20 October 2019

Taste of Macao until 14 Nov, House of Tong, North Ryde

I was lucky to be treated to a preview of the Taste of Macao Food Festival with highly acclaimed chef Palmira Pena (Pictured above). Macanese cuisine is quite rare to find in Sydney, until 14th November, you can find Macanese food at House of Tong Restaurant in North Ryde and District 8 in Canley Vale.

I am not an expert when it comes to Macanese cuisine so I am feeling completely open to unfamiliar flavour combinations. I love it when I get to meet the chefs behind the food, Chef Palmira is in Australia for a short amount of time. She talks with a small group of us about her delicious food and the menu at House of Tong during the Taste of Macao food festival. Chef Palmira comes from foodie blood with her father being Macao Restaurant Owner Manuel Pena. Chef Palmira heads to the kitchen to prepare the Macanese meal.

Mr Tong who heads up the House of Tong in North Ryde sits at our table and also delights us by adding some further dishes to tonight's menu from the House of Tong - that are bursting full of Asian flavour. Firstly, there's the Kingfish. The Kingfish is thinly sliced and delicately served up with jalapeno, grapefruit, coriander, olive oil and citrus. What a delicious combination of flavours - that largely resemble Japanese origins.

We are also treated to a Salmon dish that similarly has been sliced and is topped with chopped nuts, dill and shiso leaves in olive oil and soy sauce. Both the kingfish sashimi and salmon sashimi are really enjoyable to eat with very balanced flavours.

So how would I describe Macanese cuisine? It's a fusion of  Portugese cuisine and Chinese cuisine. Many ingredients also come from other regions of the world from Asia and spices from Africa.  It's fascinating to see how historical imperialism still has an impact on today's society.

The first dish of the Macanese menu is the Grilled Octopus. The Grilled Octopus is served with hot garlic olive oil, onions, garlic, bay leaf, coriander, lemon, salt, pepper, paprika, olive oil and white wine. I immediately identify the Portguese influence. The Octopus is very soft and succulent, cooked in a Portguese technique rather than traditional stir fried technique in Chinese cuisine. I enjoy the larger sized pieces of Octopus which has a subtle garlic flavour and is well seasoned. I recommend!

The second dish is the Seafood Cataplana. The Seafood Cataplana has clams, squid, prawns, mussels, capsicum, onions, garlic, tomato pulp, seafood broth, paprika, bay leaf, coriander and white wine. I love seafood so I am excited to see all the beautiful seafood in the broth. The hot cataplana pot is hot so be careful! The broth has a tomato and seafood base which I really enjoy.

The next dish sounds really interesting and delicious. The sauteed pork with clams and potatoes, has the fillet and belly of pork, potatoes, clams, pickles, garlic and bay leaf. The pork is mixed in with the salty tons from the clams. These flavours are balanced out with the potato. I have never had a dish like this before so I'd recommend if you want to try something different.

The next dish is so flavoursome! The Portuguese Chicken Stew has chicken, potatoes, carrots, onion, green peas, tomatoes, garlic and bayleaf. I'm normally not a fan of stews but I really enjoyed this Portguese Chicken Stew. The broth is soooo flavoursome and the chicken has soaked up all those tomato flavours along with a number of spices. The chicken is very melt in your mouth.

I am quite full by this stage but can't resist but try some of the next dish. The Portugese Baked Duck Rice, with duck, bacon, beef chorizo, onion, garlic, bay leaf, tomato pulp, red wine is the ultimate fusion of Chinese and Portugese cuisine. The crunchy rice and the chorizo is quite a delicious combination.

The dessert is the Chocolate Salame with vanilla ice cream  and raspberry coulis. The chocolate disc does look like a chocolate salami! The chocolate salame is a crunchy biscuit and contrasts well with the smooth vanilla ice cream and sweetness from the raspberry coulis.

Fun Fact, Macao is part of the UNESCO creative cities for Gastronomy. I have really enjoyed the Macanese menu tonight. For those who are heading out to District 8, the menu will consist of Grilled Octopus, Bacalhau (cod Fish Cakes), Tumeric stew pork bafassa, portuguese chicken stew, serradura (special pudding) and portuguese egg tarts.

Mr Tong is determined to spoil us so he also brings out a tray of mango pancakes. WOW! My eyes immediately light up and I gobble down a mango pancake. I'm not sharing this one! To top off the night, there's also an opportunity to win an awesome trip to Macao and other prizes when you dine at House of Tong during the Taste of Macao Food Festival. I fill out an application and have my fingers crossed!

Summary: Overall I really enjoyed the Macanese food at House of Tong. The food is largely influenced by Portguese cuisine with fusion of Chinese cuisine. My favourite dish was the Chicken Stew as it was so flavoursome and also the octopus. 

Location: House of Tong @ North Ryde RSL, 27-41 Magdala Rd, North Ryde

Opening Hours: 
Closed Monday
Tuesday to Friday 11am to 3pm, 6pm to 9:30pm
Saturday and Sunday 10:30am to 3pm, 6pm to 9:30pm

Weekend Food Escapes dined as guests of the venue or their representatives. All photos, opinions and words are my own.

House of Tong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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