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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