My Review of Lai Heen – a Michelin Star Chinese Restaurant in Macau

Heyyy… It’s been a long, long time since I actually shared a new post. But I’ve been checking my notifications and I’m so glad and grateful that you guys (and a few more new followers) are still here! Thank you. I do have a legit excuse for my absence. My husband and I have been super busy building our new home. Yep, this is The Eclectic Eccentric Shopaholic on full “Adulting Mode”. Lol Good news is I’ve been traveling lately. So hmmm… I suppose I’m not that sorry. After all, more travels mean more stuff to write about. I sooo cannot wait to share with you some of my recent travel experiences!

Just this month, hubby and I went on a Macau Michelin Star Restaurant adventure. We dined in some of Macau’s most popular fine dining spots, sampled their signature dishes, and compared each restaurant with the other. And of course, what better place is there to share my photos and thoughts than here on my blog?

It’s not my first time to visit Macau. In fact, I consider Macau as my “happy place”. It was, however, my husband’s first time there so I was extremely eager to make him understand why I feel the way I feel about Macau. If you’re one of my first blog friends, then you probably know that I’m more of a night person. My energy level peaks at night and so sometimes, it gets pretty lonely when the world around me is asleep. The great Poppy Z. Brite couldn’t have said it better: “The night is the hardest time to be alive.” And yes, 4 am is no stranger to my secrets either.

But you see, Macau at night is warm and beautiful and vibrant and eager to wrap me in its neon arms. To me, it’s a place where the bright lights and golden painted ceilings will never, ever feel tacky. As a tourist, you won’t even have to fuss over an itinerary. Just hop on a shuttle bus for a free ride and see where it takes you. Indeed, Macau never falls short of ways in which to entertain its nocturnal callers. Casinos, grand theatrical shows, upscale bars… and the food, lord, don’t get me started on the food! I didn’t even know this before planning this trip but apparently, there’s no shortage of Michelin star restaurants in Macau! In fact, the place is a treasure-trove of Michelin star Chinese restaurants as well as Michelin star/Michelin recommended restaurants featuring international cuisine.

Macau is a great place to eat authentic Cantonese cuisine. Also, it was once colonized by Portugal so there’s no shortage of Portuguese cuisine/ Portuguese influenced dishes in Macau either. An investigation was conducted on behalf of my father’s side of the family to determine our ancestry. Much to our surprise, our lineage was traced back to a Portuguese ancestor. Well, perhaps that’s the reason why I feel such a strong connection with Macau. What do you think? Haha Luckily, I was able to sample some rare Portuguese treats during my stay at St. Regis Cotai Central. But right now, we’re going to talk about my first Macau Michelin Star Restaurant meal.

It was my birthday and my husband and I decided to have lunch at Lai Heen, a Michelin Star Chinese restaurant located within Ritz Carlton Macau. Our flight from the PH to Macau was in the morning. I was a bit worried that we would have to cancel our reservation in case the flight should be delayed. Thankfully, the flight was right on time (ahead of schedule, even). My husband and I had more than enough time for an early check in at the nearby Galaxy Hotel before attempting to find Lai Heen. Lai Heen is located at the 51st floor of the Ritz Carlton Macau. Thanks to the friendly and helpful hotel staff, we located the elevator exclusively servicing the 51st level without any difficulty.

We were welcomed by the smiling restaurant staff who confirmed our reservation and escorted us to a table by the window. As we studied the menu, we decided to order ala carte rather than to go with a full course meal. That said, the dishes were still served to us according to proper sequence, with the staff unfailingly providing us with fresh plates for each course.

We were provided with a complimentary appetizer. I believe this is fermented radish.

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I’m a sucker for dim sum so we definitely ordered some steamed dumplings along with steamed barbecued pork bun with preserved garlic in oyster sauce. My husband and I have a tendency to over-order. It’s a great thing, therefore, that the restaurant staff assisted us in customizing our meal. As a result, we were able to sample a greater variety of their dishes in portions that we can actually handle.

 

 

 

The presentation of dim sum was pretty. It was my first time to eat steamed dumplings topped with edible gold.

The next course was the barbecued Iberico pork in honey sauce.

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Next came the chef’s special braised pork belly. It was served with the stir-fried greens recommended to us by one of the servers. I failed to take photos of the greens and I forgot what it’s called 😦 Worst food blogger ever. haha I asked the staff if it’s similar to bok choy but he said it’s entirely different. Anyway, it tasted good with the sweet soy sauce. The leaves and stems weren’t bitter at all. Plus, it complemented the pork dish really well.

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And then there was the simmered vermicelli with roasted duck, sliced pork, and preserved vegetables.  By this time, we were too full to actually finish our order. We allowed the staff to serve the noodles to us in two small bowls and declined the refills.

 

 

Speaking of, I love how they never failed to refill our cups of lapsang souchong tea throughout the meal. I’m a tea lover and now, my husband is one too! I chose lapsang because I like my tea strong but not bitter and it’s perfect for cleansing the palate and transitioning in between courses.

 

 

And finally, we arrive to my favorite part: dessert! Hubby and I were super stuffed because the chef kept throwing free stuff our way! Loved it! I ordered sweetened almond cream with egg white and some custard-filled baked glutinous rice dumplings. Because it’s my birthday, we also got complimentary festive-looking cookies and some steamed dumplings stuffed with egg custard.

 

 

All in all, I would rate the food 5/5.

All of the dishes were amazing, with my favorite being the steamed shrimp dumplings with bamboo shoots and asparagus. I also particularly enjoyed the steamed mushroom dumplings with bamboo pith, yellow fungus, and carrot. My least favorite dish was the vermicelli. For me, it’s good but not great. I’m so used to vermicelli cooked in strong shrimp broth with loads of pork and veggies. My husband, however, was able to appreciate the unique smoky aroma of Lai Heen’s vermicelli.

The service is certainly 5/5. The staff was attentive, showed great initiative, and made sure to explain each dish to us.

IMHO, Price is 4/5. Lunch for two cost us HKD 1,192. Was it worth it? I believe it was. Lai Heen’s prices are still lower compared to another Macau Michelin Star Chinese restaurant that we visited on the same day. Moreover, I noticed something when I was reviewing our receipt. Since we were only able to eat two small bowls of vermicelli, they did not charge us the full price for the dish. We also got a 10% discount for being SPG members.

What I loved most about Lai Heen is that even though it’s one of the most popular Michelin star restaurants in Macau, it’s totally non-pretentious. And, yes, you are allowed to take photos of your food. The staff even volunteered to take photos of me and my husband.

Given the chance, I would definitely eat at Lai Heen again. I recommend that you give it a try in case you find yourself in Macau.

Tips for dining at this restaurant:

  • Reservations required (we made ours online)
  • Attire is elegant casual
  • We paid in HKD because that’s the currency we were carrying at the time. However, if you plan to settle the bill in cash, I recommend that you do so in MOP. The Hong Kong dollar is more expensive than Macanese pataca but HKD:MOP is 1:1 in Macau establishments.

Okay, this post is a lot longer than my usual posts but what can I say… I get a little crazy when I talk about food. Lol!

I’m now thinking about which Macau Michelin Star restaurant I’m going to review next. The Eight, perhaps? We’ll see.

Talk to you soon. ❤

xx

KZ

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Merry Christmas!

May you have a genuinely merry Christmas. 🙂 I hope it’s all good food and good company for you. I hope you get to forget your troubles even for a while. This is a great time to be grateful and appreciative of everything we have. And of course, a very good time to be optimistic. 🙂 Sure, it’s also a time where strange people get all up in your biz. My grandma’s cousin came up to me and was like “Why aren’t you pregnant yet? Are you using birth control?” Then goes to my husband and basically tells him to “man up”. LOL Ahhh but this only happens once a year, right? Haha happy holidays everyone :*

peachandjack

 

2017 Favorites

2017 has certainly been a memorable year for me. This year,I married the love of my life. I took this photo of my wedding gown with my phone the night before the wedding.  Not my best photo but this shot means so much to me. Each time I look at it, I remember the excitement that I felt the night before our wedding. ❤ I was so exhausted from all the wedding preps and from entertaining out of town guests and yet I couldn’t sleep that night! I was totally freaking out but in a good way… ❤

Recently,I also shared some of our wedding photos here 🙂

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My DIY Rustic Wedding

Hello!

Yeah, I’m still alive. LOL I know, I know… it’s been a while. And I’m always saying this but I really do miss blogging and writing fiction. That said, I miss reading more. I miss looking at everyone’s photos, those gorgeous images taken from all over the world, taken by different people with different personalities and perspectives. I’ve never seen the northern lights. But I’ve seen it through your photos. Always through different lenses, always through different perspectives. And I will forever remain in awe at how beautiful that sight is when seen through your eyes, and his eyes, and her eyes… It just never looks the same way. Someday, I’ll get to see, no… experience… it for myself. But right now, thank you for letting me see what you see… For letting me in on the experience that is so uniquely yours. Thanks for sharing a little piece of yourself with me.

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I never said this but your photos here at the weekly challenges have gotten me through some pretty tough times. Somehow, they’ve provided me with  sweet, sweet escape from the mundane. Your images to me are like multiple windows and doors to different worlds and dimensions that I can just peer into, step into, and get lost in. More than that, your photos have given me inspiration. They’ve made me more ambitious, more eager to see the world. Knowing you has pushed me to travel more, to see more of the world, to taste more of life. So for all that, I’m grateful. I”m glad we connected via WordPress, that we became friends through photos.

Now, I get to return the favor big time. As you may already know, I tied the knot a few months back. I promised some blog followers photos and photos you shall get. 🙂 Here are personal pieces that only I can share with you. As much as I value my privacy, I’d just like to share with you a little idea of what the most important day of my life was like.

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The rustic theme is super trending so my fiance, now husband, and I really went for it. More importantly, we realized that it suited our personality as a couple. We wanted something simple but elegant, down to earth but generous… We toiled for months and months DIYing everything from the invitations to the souvenirs. Ariel designed the crates to be used as rustic decor and spray painted the wine bottles. I spent afternoons wrapping jute strings on more wine bottles and late nights sewing lace on burlap for our wedding invites. Together, we stamped wax seals on the envelopes. Together, we dressed up the little jars of homemade pineapple jam in burlap and jute. I plotted the seating arrangement like it was a battle plan. And I’ll never forget the sight of him steam ironing my dress the night before the wedding… Just remembering all that craziness paints a smile on my face. Neither of us have done anything like this before. It was his first time to make wooden pallets. It was my first time painting varnish on wood slices and wooden boxes. Our wedding organizer, who was fabulous btw, was really amazed at how much energy we put into the wedding planning. I can tell that he was super blown away by how OC I was about everything. LOL I gave the wedding suppliers printed handouts as thick as a baby thesis. hahaha I got backups of backups. I printed labels for everything

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Our organizer always be like: “Where did you buy this?” and we be like: “Oh, we made it ourselves.” Okay, it’s probably not wise to be experimental on your wedding day. For us, there was always this option to hire a stylist and then there’s always the risk of suffering DIY disasters. I mean, you only get married (for the first time) once… Ideally. If you screw up that photo wall, it’s screwed. But that’s the whole point. We only get to do this once. We only get to enjoy this once. So we figured, hey, if we make mistakes, we’ll make them together. And then we’ll just laugh at them together. It was kind of the same with this decision that I made to rock a face veil. I had a traditional church wedding and everyone urged me to wear a long veil. They said it looks better in photos and that it’s more appropriate for a Cathedral wedding. I was like: Screw appropriate. I’ve always envisioned myself walking down the aisle with my face bare and me smiling at everyone.

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In the end, the wedding was everything we wanted it to be and more… An intimate affair with us surrounded by our closest friends and family. It wasn’t perfect. It never is. But the feeling was.

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It was my husband’s idea that we should have tokaji (tokay) Hungarian wine for our wedding toast. Coz champagne is overrated, he said (though the ladies and I drank champagne at the bridal suite while getting dolled up). I said yeah, brilliant idea. My fiance didn’t know this but fans of horror will recognize it as the wine that the Count Dracula served to his guest, Jonathan Harker. It’s delicious.

Planning the entire wedding may have been experimental for us but our love is something that has been tried and tested over the years.

 

xoxo

K.Z. ❤