Dubbed as the Las Vegas of Asia, Macau is a very common day trip destination from Hong Kong. It is only about an hour ferry ride away with a regular schedule available daily. Quite likely, you’d be starting your journey around the Macau Peninsula once you hop off the ferry and cross the customs. After/before a visit to the famous ruins of St. Paul or a stroll around the historic centre, I’d highly recommend you stop by Loulan Islam Restaurant to grab a meal there. It’s nearby and just a very short walk away from Senado Square, and your palate will be absolutely spoiled there.
Loulan Islam Restaurant specialises in Xinjiang/Xian cuisine, which is a northwestern variety of Chinese cuisine and also commonly known as Uyghur cuisine. I’m a huge fan of the cuisine as it is a flavour party that highlights the marriage of Chinese and flavours from its surrounding countries on the west side such as Pakistan, Kazakstan, etc., as well as Turkish roots from the Uyghur ethnic group.
The restaurant is relatively small and quiet, but it offers a great contrast to the bustling touristy historic centre. It is well air-conditioned (very important during the hot summer days!), with a homely vibe at the family-run restaurant. There are plenty of options on the menu to choose from, with lamb being quite heavily featured.
Nnan (MOP $20)
To start, we got some nnan. As you can judge by its name, it’s Uyghur bread, just as naan is Indian bread. The bread is served round and flat, with toasted sesame sprinkled all over. It’s almost like a cross-over between Middle Eastern flatbread and Chinese scallion pancakes but with sesame. Albeit sharing a similar name to Indian naan, the Uyghur nnan carried a chewier and more bread-like texture. The bread was, overall, pretty fragrant to taste and got a mild savoury touch to it. It would be especially nice if you pair it with a saucy dish!
Pan-fried Lamb Dumplings (MOP $80)
I’ve immediately set eyes on the dumplings as soon as we opened the menu. They are freshly hand-wrapped and cooked upon order, so you can expect the freshest flavours from them!
The dumplings come in 10 per serving, pan-fried with an extremely crispy bottom and were not too greasy to taste. Each dumpling carried a generous amount of meaty filling, mixed with various aromatics such as the likes of onions and chives, etc. They were incredibly fragrant, to say the least, ultra juicy and were complemented with a very tasty peppery touch of flavours.
Having had a fair amount of dumplings my whole life, these were easily some of the very best I’ve ever had.
Shanxi Shaved Noodles & Beef Soup (MOP $60 regular / $80 large)
For mains, I had the Shanxi Beef Noodle Soup which really left an impression. Having their noodles freshly hand-pulled and shaved really makes a difference in both flavours and texture. The noodles were very al dente and bouncy, as well as featuring a refreshing taste.
As for the beef broth, it was incredibly clean to taste but there was certainly no shortage of fireworks to the palate either! It really gave an umami oomph, spiked with a little peppery touch, and showcased plenty of depth in flavours. The beef slices in the broth were incredibly tender and succulent. Pickled cabbage was also incorporated to balance out the savouriness. All in all, I absolutely loved it and felt like I couldn’t get enough of it!
Loulan Islam Restaurant is one that should totally be at the top of your list when visiting Macau. It’s an easy stop to include in your itinerary with plenty of sights nearby for you to explore. The prices were fairly reasonably especially for the great quality and authenticity of food you get. Would definitely recommend!
All meats served at Loulan Islam Restaurant are halal.
How to get to Macau from Hong Kong:
- Regular ferries are operated by both TurboJet and The Cotai Water Jet service, leaving most frequently from the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan to Macau
Tel: +853 2853 0264