Opened less than a year ago, Quarter Square is a boutique that sells homeware from, predominantly, Scandinavia and the States: imagine beer-flavoured Weizenbier Shampoo by Frank Leder, waterpurifying charcoal sticks and fancy candles from La Bruket as well as brass coffee spoons from hole-in-the-wall shops in Bangkok. Its second floor houses the owners’ design studio and the top balcony – stringed with florescent light-bulbs and parked with bar stools, irregularly-shaped metal chairs and tables in varying colours – is a space where customers can sip their cuppa bought from the espresso-pressed juice bar on the first floor. Helmed by Macau-born San-franciscan Alberto Chan and his partner, the shop is all about offering personal touch and stories.
Diagonal from Quarter Square is a coffee shop marked by a sizeable wooden water drip coffee maker at the entrance and where beans are shipped in from Tasmania, Indonesia to Arabia and India. Across the street is Snaffles, a pastry and ice-cream store flown in directly from Hokkaido, offering an olfactory delight that teems with stuffed chocolate candies, fluffy yet richly flavoured cheesecakes and soft-serves made with highly concentrated milk from Northern Japan.
This is not a neighbourhood in Tokyo, Taipei or even
Shanghai: it is – drumroll – Taipa, Macau, a region that is overwhelmed by stereotypes of gambling, souvenir shops and probably one tourist too many.
For more than a decade, the neighbourhood has been undergoing a slow and steady regeneration led by the Taipa Village Destination Limited – an affiliate of real estate fund manager Sniper Capital – with aims to shine the spotlight on the area’s lesser-known secrets, offering a side of Macau that is often neglected in lieu of the dazzling casino lights, lavish hotels and seemingly never-ending construction projects.
Such a best-kept-secret is Mok Yi Kei, a third-generation confectionary shop known for its sawdust pudding, agar agar and durian ice-cream made with the fresh fruits – with a choice of D24 or Mountain Cat King – flown in weekly to ensure intense flavours and a creaminess celebrated since 1954. Just around the corner is Macau Ping Kei, which sells seasonal fruits wrapped in chewy mochi lathered in coconut flakes. What’s truly impressive, however, is the owners use entire fruits or substantial chunks rather than small bits; and their menu doesn’t stop at the conventional mango or peanut flavours but includes strawberries, durian, papaya, kiwi and lychee, to name but a few.
If sweets are not your thing, dive into Portugália, a traditional beer house and restaurant that brings more than 90 years of culinary history from Europe. Upon entering, the floor is spread with Azulejo as tiled paintings and wooden furniture line the interiors of blue and beige walls. Must-tries include Steak “à Portugália”, a juicy slab of steak swimming in a rich sauce topped with a perfect sunny-side-up egg; Codfish “à Braz”, a pungent mixture of eggs, fried potatoes and onions laced with shredded codfish – a contemporary spin to the traditional Bacalhau; as well as Shrimps “à lá guilho” or sauteed shrimp doushed in an very aromatic oilve oil.
Macau is constantly reinventing itself, not only in the luxurious end of the spectrum but also in neighbourhoods brimming with heritage and restaurants that bring out the best of the island, both contemporary and of its colonial days.
开业不足一年的Quarter Square是一家精品店，出售的特色家品来自斯堪的纳维亚以至美国，比如啤酒味的Weizenbier Shampoo by Frank Leder洗发露、净水木炭、La Bruke香薰蜡烛、以及来自曼谷隐世小店的黄铜咖啡勺。Quarter Square的二楼是店主的设计工作室，而顶楼阳台装满了荧光灯泡，并且放满了酒吧椅子、以及不同颜色的不规则形状金属桌椅，顾客可以在这里慢慢品尝位于一楼的咖啡店制作的饮料。该店由澳门出生、居于旧金山的Alberto Chan和他的合作伙伴一同经营，店内充满人情味和故事。Quarter Square的斜对面是一家咖啡店，入口处摆放了一座相当大的木制冰滴咖啡器，咖啡豆是从塔斯马尼亚、印度尼西亚、阿拉伯和印度入口。大街的对面是糕点和冰淇淋店Snaffles，产品直接从北海道空运过来，提供巧克力夹心糖、浓郁松软的芝士蛋糕、以及日本北部出产的高浓缩牛奶制成的软冰淇淋，一次满足客人嗅觉与味蕾的享受。
如果甜食不合您的胃口，不妨前来Portugália葡多利，这家传统啤酒屋和餐厅为您带来超过90历史的正宗葡国菜。一踏入门口，立刻看到铺上彩砖的地板，蓝色和米色的墙壁上挂上不同的框画，与木制家具互相辉映。不容错过的美食包括配上特制香浓酱汁的“à Portugália”牛排，上面更铺上一块煎得刚刚好的太阳蛋；混合鸡蛋、油炸土豆、洋葱和鳕鱼块一起烤焗的“à Braz”，将现代风味融合传统的马介休之中，味道香浓；还有加入大量橄榄油的“à lá guilho”蒜蓉虾，香气扑鼻。