macau: second night, macanese

On our second (and final) night, we had a goal: african chicken. This classic is pure Macanese, and the descriptions of baked chicken with a long list of spices in the sauce made our mouths water; we had to have it. Our first attempt, at one of the best places to try this dis, was shot down – a reservation was needed to get in, even though the restaurant had just opened and it was empty. They could offer us a table outside, but there was a minimum spending limit. Due to the closeness to the harbour and the desirability of the spot, this limit was at the very top of our budget – outside of it, really, since we still had other things we wanted to experience the next day. And so we found ourselves taking a long walk around the point of the island to another restaurant that served Macanese food. It wasn’t the one we had hoped for, but it was by no means bad in any way (though their AC was cranked to make it feel like winter). Once inside, we ordered the usual bottle of green wine, followed by some portuguese sausage and the african chicken itself.

Once again, fresh bread preceded everything; sometimes I really miss good bread in Taiwan. The sausage was ready in a matter of minutes. It was nice, as far as sausage goes – well-made, flavourful, if a little salty, and artfully presented. We tried to appreciate it fully, it was just so hard to do while we anticipated the chicken. The olives that came with it were pretty fantastic – we’ve gotten olives here and there and let me tell you – it’s been nice having good olives again.

Being that it is made to order and is very complex (I looked for a recipe afterward and I think it had around 20 ingredients), our anticipation was drawn out for a some time – I think it took another 20 or 30 minutes after the sausage was gone for the chicken to appear. When it finally arrived, it was just as we had hoped; smelling of a plethora of spices (finally! spices!) and coloured a bright orange, it looked ready to eat. We tucked in. A little bit of spiciness mixed well with all of the other flavours (bay leaves, paprika, peanut butter, chilies, and more), and fried potatoes on the side, along with the bread, helped ease it when it got to be a bit much.

The chicken was cooked just right and came off the bones quite easily – it is a large portion of chicken that this is made with – and we savoured each bite. There was no lack of sauce, either – we ended up eating the last of it on the potatoes, which we had saved specifically for that purpose. We had paid for every last bit of that chicken and we were going to eat it all! Once again, we made our way out of the restaurant feeling triumphant and happy (if not a little poorer – it wasn’t a cheap dish!), glad that we had managed to capture a taste of this magical dish.

Here’s a recipe I found that doesn’t look too tough to make.

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