Delish Eats: La Famiglia, A Home-Style Welcome To Macanese Cuisine
May 04, 2023
Restaurant Story: Located in a small alley in Taipa Village, La Famiglia’s deceptively Italian name is a matter of meaning, rather than cultural relevance. Originally established in 2016 as an Italian diner, La Famiglia quickly changed directions in 2018 after on-boarding renowned Macanese chef and prominent culinary ambassador - Florita Alvares.
Chef Story: Setting out to preserve the legacy of Macanese-Portuguese cuisine, Florita not only leads the restaurant with a strong cultural intention but anchors herself deep within the Taipa community. Handing out baked seasonal goods, packed lunches, and order-made cakes to the people of a post-pandemic stricken village – Florita’s La Famiglia is the warm beacon that makes you feel as though you’ve finally come home.
What’s the vibe and menu like: Designed to evoke the rustic nostalgia of large family gatherings, the restaurant is filled with convivial chatter hyphenated with laughter and the clinking of wine-glasses. Occupying three storeys, La Famiglia’s light-maroon and pale-yellow walls alternate between floors, with ornate chandeliers dressing the ceilings as pictures and illustrations of Taipa decorate the walls.
How much does it cost: The final bill came out to be approximately MOP$747 (plus 10% service charge) split between two people. It should be noted that much of the items ordered were relatively large as they are intended to be shared. Regular guests should be satisfied with two to three dishes.
What is the menu about: As a reflection of mainstay Macanese comfort foods and cuisine, the menu shows an incredibly wide range — serving up a hefty selection of appetisers, salads, soup, entrées, seafood dishes, salted cod dishes, beef, poultry, pork, rice, and side dishes. Apart from the many Macanese staples, La Famiglia also boasts an impressive wine list.
What did we order: Assorted Macanese Snacks (MOP$208), Macau Chicken (MOP$158), Sauteed Minced Pork with Potato (MOP$128), White Rice (MOP$20), Braised Pork with Balichao and Tamarind Sauce (MOP$198), Home-baked Cake (MOP$35).
Assorted Macanese Snacks: Fried and battered to a perfect crisp, the snack platter was chock-full of familiar and unfamiliar snacks that burst of hot steam with the first bite. The snack platter includes stuffed bread filled with ground pork and aromatic turmeric, cod fish balls made from potato and lightly seasoned with coriander, rissois de camaro (prawn patties) laced with a wisp of nutmeg, Macanese samosas made with shallots and garlic, and savoury chorizo-beef croquettes.
Sauteed Minced Pork with Potato: First to the table is an iconic Macanese dish heralded as Macau’s most popular comfort food, and now I know why. Made with a balanced mix of dark and light soy sauce, the minced pork is perfectly steeped in umami-goodness, complemented by a bed of crispy cubed potatoes lining the border of the plate. Topped with a sunny-side up egg and served with plain white rice – this multi-textural symphony of salty savoury flavours easily won my heart over.
Portuguese Coconut Chicken: Next to arrive is the vibrant yellow Macanese chicken, made with shredded coconut, coconut milk, turmeric, chorizo, and egg. Stewed in the gravy to marry all the flavours together, the dish is then placed into the oven to finish the cooking process and seal those dynamic flavours in the succulent, tender, and sweetened chicken.
Braised Pork with Balichao and Tamarind Sauce: Before my eyes could spot this plate out of the kitchen, my nose noticed it first. With the strong sweet aroma of the tamarind, mixed with South-East Asian balichao (krill paste) – this dish represented the union of Indian cooking methods and South-East Asian flavours to create something both complex yet smooth. The softly braised pork took on the flavour of the salty-sweet and slightly sour marinade, melting on the tongue and inciting my appetite once more.
Home-baked Upside Down Pineapple Cake: To finish off our big lunch, the staff brought out what would be our final plate. A slice of gorgeous retro upside-down pineapple cake will never go out of style! Tart, sweet, and light enough to finish, we left La Famiglia feeling stuffed and full of love.
What we liked: Every dish exceeded my expectations and then some. Now that I have experienced the wealth of authentic homestyle Macanese cooking first hand, I’m afraid it’s all I’ve been craving since. The Sauteed Minced Pork with Potato (Minchee) and Braised Pork with Balichao and Tamarind Sauce were two dishes that stood out to us.
What we didn’t like: I would not recommend La Famiglia for those with strict vegetarian or vegan food requirements as the restaurant does not offer too many vegetable-centred dishes.
What you should order: Sauteed Minced Pork with Potato, Portuguese Coconut Chicken, Braised Pork with Balichao and Tamarind Sauce, Home-baked Cake.
Contact details: [email protected] / +853 2857 6131
This food review is based on a complimentary media tasting provided by La Famiglia in exchange for a truthful review and no compensation. The opinions expressed within represent the views of the author.
Enjoyed this article? Check out our previous Delish Eats reviews here
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