Eating Out: Fat Siu Lau II Macau
This is one of Macau’s oldest and best traditional roast pigeon restaurant that continues to rest on its PR laurels. The roast pigeon is good, but not worth the trip just for this.
This second restaurant is an addition to the first Fat Siu Lau on Rua da Felicidade, the old red light district when Macau was still a Portuguese colony centuries ago. The first Fat Siu lau is a legendary instituition that opened in 1903 and Fat Siu Lau 2 is nothing like it. Located along the bar street of Macau close to the iconic landmark Statue of Kun Iam – the world’s only inland facing statue, window booth seats offer views of the lake on the dining floor located above the bar where there’s no service. The sleek black interiors are contrasted with art deco meets kitsch red lamps with warm lighting turned up a little too bright for discretion and privacy – all very nouveaux riche. The ambience doesn’t redeem this, as it misses a good soundtrack and acoustics. Service only begins when you head upstairs. When you enter the restaurant on the first floor, if you’re lucky you get directions, if not there’s no one at the counter. The dining room is small and intimate, so service to and from the kitchen is prompt and overwhelmingly friendly where your every conversation is overheard and your server joins in uninvited most times – which leads us back to bad acoustics.
The crowds come here for the Superb Roasted Pigeon and African Chicken, both traditional favourites of Macanese cuisine and both fowls are perfectly executed here, with a complexity of flavours and textures. The menu says the pigeons are from Shek Kei in China, our server tells us they are bred locally on a farm in Macau and the Manager tells us they are pigeons specially bred in Zhuhai and given special feed to ensure proper growth over twenty days and have soft tender bones – whichever the case, they serve them whole here – the best way to keep the squab deliciously hot. The waitstaff will offer you plastic gloves to enjoy the squab however barbarically you want. The skin’s crispy, meat tender and very well marinated with their century old family recipe.
Thankful that our African chicken came after so we could thoroughly enjoy its thick rich gravy, a delicious blend of coconut and peanut gravy over a generous piece of chicken thigh, cooked just right. There are traditional Portuguese dishes on the menu, from caldo verde, their Portuguese Vegetable Soup, done the traditional way to very generous portion of seafood rice, a tad on the sweet side with tomato ketchup for a base for the Chinese palate, indicative of the majority of Asian diners rather than Portuguese come here. Other Chinese stir fries dominate a page from broccoli to Kailan and fried Chinese noodles. The traditional Portuguese dessert Serradura, however hits the spot and the perfect way to wrap the meal.
If you’d like a drink, the wine list here is small serving by glass, carafes and bottles. The House wines are Portuguese and limited in selection with sprinkling of new and old world wines on the menu.
Fat Siu Lau II
Vista Magnifica Court,
Avenida Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, Macau
Tel: +853 2872 2922