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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why twitter sucks (and cannibal fishes)

all i wanna do is post a photo of a burger and a fish but for some reason, all i get is “tweeting a photo timed out” so here!!
#damnit :p

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i also discovered a very disturbing fact today. the lapu-lapu fish resort to cannibalism when they’re hungry!! i was sitting at my fave spot in the diner, in front of the aquarium. then i noticed that there was only one lapu-lapu/coral trout in there (there used to be two big ones) i asked the waitress about it and she told me that the fish ate its buddy. and i swear the ugly, spotted thing kept staring at me while i was having my lunch… and his mouth was enormous!! i was like, will somebody feed this thing! lol coz it sure looked like it wanted me. lapu-lapu is the best though, especially in sweet and sour sauce. :p but i dont think im gonna be ordering one for a while……

Tagged L / Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime Day 6: Ox Tail and more ^^

I’m now on my Day 6 entry for this cool iPhoneography challenge ^^ I’m obviously loving it. Yesterday, Frizz ( and L is also for Lunch ^^ ) made a comment on my Ox tongue post about a recipe for Ox tail. That seriously made me crave for one!! So I went to one of the must-visit local restaurants. It offers a wide variety of Filipino and international dishes… and cakes, they have cakes! ^^ Anyway, one of my favorite native dishes ever is the Kare Kare — a stew made of beef, ox tail and ox tripe and vegetables in peanut sauce. For the love of blogging, and because I’m really a glutton, I decided to go all out.lol We also ordered a couple of sandwiches: beef burger and a beef steak sub. There’s grilled squid and for dessert, a mango crepe and an apple muffin. But if there’s one dish that I keep coming back for, it’s the Crispy Beef Riblets. That’s exactly how beef is supposed to be cooked, plain and simple, and you can really taste all the yumminess oozing from the beef fat! It’s served with coleslaw and sweet potato fries. I also love their chicken potato salad but we skipped that ^^

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Kare Kare – dish of ox tail and ox tripe

Crispy Beef Riblets

I have a feeling this week’s theme just made me fat. Hope you had a fabulous lunch! xo ^^

*for day 7, I went back to the local diner an took some actual food photos ^^ view my posts here

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime Day 5: Comebacks

There’s a new restaurant in town… Well, sort of. ^^ Its actually an old local restaurant, one of my fave restaurants disappeared for awhile, opened up a few more branches in the country and this March, it came back home. Happy it did ^^ The restaurant brings back plenty of memories… I’m just sooo crazy about their Jurassic Ribs and their Paella Valenciana. Now I noticed they have a whole new menu and some old favorites like the Paella are no longer available 😦 but I’m so glad that my ultimate fave ribs is still on the menu ^^ So I ordered that, and boyfie had the Korean Beef Stew, new item on the list. Both were served with rice and both were pretty damn good.

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Boyfie got this gift certificate from Starbucks so we decided we should use it. Our dessert, strawberry cheesecake and a chocolate eclair. I didn’t wanna order coffee coz there was only one drink I was craving for and that’s boyfie’s homemade Mexican hot chocolate, which we had afterwards. ^^

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I may live in a small town but you’ll certainly never run out of great places to dine in here. What’d I tell ya? Perfect blend of rustic and modern ^^ Gawd I love it here. That’s my day 5 of Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime ^^ xo

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime Day 3 & 7: Local Diner

I’m taking the Weekly Photo Challenge pretty seriously lol ^^ Today I had lunch with my brother at a local diner. This place has been around since I was a kid. Other kids grew up eating Jolibee or McDonalds – I grew up eating at this diner. ^^ I was FAMISHED so an empty plate is what you get LOL Sorry. I had a classic cheeseburger, creamy macaroni salad and rock ‘n’ roll iced tea. My brother had Salisbury steak with java rice and mashed potatoes. Took my iPhone out a little too late so I decided to take some photos of the place instead. It’s pretty nice. You’ll see James Dean, Elvis and Marilyn and Audrey EVERYWHERE even on their ketchup bottles ^^ there are vintage telephones, cars, Coca-Cola bottles.. etc

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extreme burger

Update! For Day 7 of my posts for this week’s theme, I went back to the diner and took some actual food photos ^^

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime Day 2: Craving Thai

I feel really inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge in iPhoneography ^^ And I haven’t been living up to the “Foodie” part of my blog. So this week, I’ve decided to feature at least 3 restaurants that I love dining in. Today, we’re having Thai and if you happen to be in Manila, there’s no better place to get it than at People’s Palace at Greenbelt 3, Makati. Their food and service has been consistently good and you can see by how the place is jammed during lunchtime!

Thom Yum Goong, Prawn, Pomelo and Coconut Salad Chicken, Mixed Vegetables, Larp Gai, Aromatic Chicken Curry, Phad Thai, Red Curry of Prawn and Roast Pumpkin

Of course, that last photo right there is dessert. Serious question, have you ever tried J.Co donuts? Well you have to! They’re so damn good. It’s not so shocking that the queue on their stalls is usually sooooo long! KK has nothing on these donuts! Sorry Krispy Kreme lovers — I used to be one too ^^ lol

PS not affiliated with any of these places. lol just another glutton :p Have a hearty lunch! ^^

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

The theme for Weekly Photo Challenge is great coz it’s been a while since I posted about food or restaurants. ^^ Yup, I happen to be one of those people who sometimes takes photos of their food before even touching it 🙂 lol When I’m at home, I try to eat only grass-fed beef but when dining out, it’s really not that easy. ^^ Here’s what I’d always call a “once-in-a-while” thing ^^

RACKS can be found at GF Entertainment Mall, SM Mall of Asia

Of course, lunch won’t be complete without dessert. ^^ Also at the ground floor of MOA, you’ll find this cool kiosk that sells Japanese Mochi. They’re really yummy! I had the red bean mochi which is my fave and boyfie had durian flavored mochi -ewww…I’m not a fan of durian but he likes it ><

Serendra Piazza: A Food Trip ^^

Serendra Piazza, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Yey! haha i actually only wanted to do this challenge coz it’s my first time to use the maps. hahaha normally, these things confuse me,lol ^^

Lately I haven’t really been living up to the “foodie” part of my blog — I’ve been focusing much on writing poetry and fiction and sharing photos of travel and nature. So, I’ve decided to use this prompt as a way to make it up to you (those who follow my blog for restaurant reviews/ food porn) ^^

Our destination: only the ultimate foodie paradise in Metro Manila — Bonifacio Global City ; Serendra Piazza, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Let’s go on a little food trip, shall we? ^^ We’re doin’ it my way: DESSERT IS SERVED FIRST. ^^

1) First stop: Cupcakes!

I’ve already made a post about cupcakes by sonja, click the link for more cupcakes. ^^

pistachio berries and cream

pistachio berries and cream

This is just one of my favorites! We’ll also have Berries and Cream, Red Velvet Vixen and Bunny Hugger Carrot Cupcake cos they’re awesome.

Ok, that’s it, enough! Quit stuffing your face with cupcakes coz our next stop is just fantabulous!

2) French Macarons and Royal Pudding at Chez Karine

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So we have dark chocolate, pistachio, lemon, earl grey, choco mint, strawberry and my favorite: salted caramel! ^^

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Muscovado Royal Pudding.. ahh the soft set custard pudding with dark caramel at the bottom.. pretty little jars too. And yes, you can take the jar home.. ^^

So it’s time for lunch but the sweetness doesn’t end here! I bet you never had a sweet burger before 😉

3) Lunch: Murray and D’vine — burgers, sliders, and damn good wine

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If you happen to be in Manila and somehow specifically craving a heart-shaped burger, lol, then now you know where to get it. ^^

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Murray and D’vine is what I’d call a win-win situation. Why? Well, for starters, their slogan says: “Burgers, Sliders and Damn Good Wine” so you know it’s the perfect dating place when you’re in the mood for something not too fancy but not too low-cost either. Yeah, their gourmet burgers are pretty pricey compared to other burger chains here in the Philippines but IMHO the price is still pretty decent. After all where else can you find a place where the equation: [(girl gets wine + heart shaped burger) + (boy gets beer + sports channel + burgers) = everybody happy] exists. ^^ — It’s ok, math confuses me too. ^^

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murray

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in case you’re wondering, yeah, I believe all of their burgers are heart shaped, except for the sliders and yeah, they tasted good too ^^

4) Dessert — again! : Gelatissimo

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chocolate truffle and forest berries are my fave flavors… a definite must-try ^^

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I bet you’re tummy’s pretty damn full by now so let’s spend the rest of the afternoon walkin’ around and doin’ my favorite past time. I WILL SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP . ^^

I’m bettin’ you’re hungry again.. And that your arms are aching from carrying my shopping bags.lol ^^ How about we sit for a while and grab a slice of pizza

5) Sbarro @ Bonifacio Global City

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My fave Chicago White Deep Dish Pizza ^^

So I know this place with the best cheese rolls and ensaymada in town…

6) Mary Grace Cafe

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More bread? ^^ Don’t worry, I got it covered.

7) Le Petit Artisan

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bamboo charcoal bread
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well, i’d have to say though, i prefer the macarons at chez karine!

Oh no, don’t you dare tell me you’re full now ^^ We haven’t even gotten to dinner yet!

8) Filipino Cuisine — Sentro 1771

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On the menu: Dried fish spring rolls, glazed ribs, Beef tapa with bagoong rice, Green Mango Salad and Sinigang na Corned Beef

Don’t worry, no more desserts ^^ promise. But how bout some pica pica and mojitos instead? ^^

9) Shots: New Orleans Bar & Resto

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Sizzlers and nachos and some mojitos ^^

And of course, you can’t leave without bringin’ a little sumthin sumthin home with you ^^

10) Krispy Kreme

Let’s go all out and get some donuts ^^ Wherever you are in the world, you gotta love your original glazed

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Writing Challenge: Map It Out

I hope you enjoyed spending your day with me.^^ Glutton!
^^
xo, kz