Macau Travel Diary

by Lauren Zwanziger in


I have always dreamed of going to Asia, and Macau was the perfect, albeit unique, way to see it for the first time. I had a certain image in mind of what it would be like, and in many ways it was what I had pictured, a super romanticized, almost naive picture of the East. I burned incense at ancient temples, learned the proper way to steep and serve Chinese teas, ordered street food from the market, and even waited by the docks at 5 am to see the morning flower delivery roll in. 

What I didn't expect was learning phrases in Portuguese, eating sweet pastries like egg tarts, or ever once encountering a latte. The Portuguese influence was so much more pronounced than I was ready for, at times I felt I could've easily been in Europe. Not only was it unexpectedly western, it was young. There were art districts, coffee shops, a fashion scene, it wasn't as old world traditional as I imagined, although you could easily find it if you went looking.

But in the end, I found a place that was more than just a gambling town, although the casinos are something you should experience at least once, or a day trip to take if you're visiting Hong Kong. It's very much its own destination and with it comes with its own culture.

Macau Travel Diary | The Transatlantic

TO STAY:

Usually, I would recommend staying somewhere a little more off the beaten path, but I'll make an exception when it comes to Macau. When staying in a city known for it's casinos, the larger hotel chains are some of the most exceptional. I stayed at the Sofitel, which had amazing views and one of the best spa experiences I've had. When it comes to spas, Asia seems to have it right, the treatments always seem to be more catered to travelers.

After a 30 hr journey, as well as experiencing a 12 hr time change for the first time, jet lag hit me harder than ever. Luckily, The Sofitel's spa offered a jet lag recovery treatment, a mix of massage and aromatherapy, which proved to be a life saver. I recommend booking your appointment day two or three of your trip, I had no issue running off of adrenaline and the need to push through the exhaustion the first few days, but as soon as day three rolled around I was really starting to feel it. As much as I love relaxing on a trip, I was hesitant to spend any time by the pool or in the spa after traveling half way around the world, but hitting a wall is inevitable so might as well lean into it and recover the right way. 

+ Sofitel Macau

+ Grand Hyatt Macau

+ Wynn Macau 

TO EAT:

I had high expectations for the food, after all it was my first trip to Asia and all I could think about was Chinese tea, egg tarts, pork bao, and street food – so much street food. Macanese food, as it turns out, is a mix of southern Chinese and Portuguese with Indian and African influence. So there was a lot of ground to cover when it came to trying Macanese. I didn't realize when I went to Asia I'd be trying Brazilian, Portuguese, and African but it's those unexpected details I look forward to most on a trip. 

+ Tai Lei Loi Kei | To Order: Pork Chop Bun

+ Margaret's Cafe e Nata | To Order: Egg Tart

+ Restaurante Litoral | To Order: Traditional Macanese

+ Antonio | To Order: Traditional Portuguese  

TO DRINK:

+ Kafka Coffee | To Order: Matcha Green Tea 

+ Long Wa Tea House | To Order: Chinese Tea

TO SEE:

Macau is definitely a city where you can wonder around and not have to worry about having a plan. For me, Asia was always going to be about the markets, the street food, and feeling some culture shock. The Red Market was the perfect place to experience my to do list all at the same time. This is not like your local farmer's market, the trading is fast paced, it's busy, and will definitely have you feeling some culture shock.

While the markets are busy and a little confusing, wandering around the villages was oddly comfortable. It was easy to get around by foot and it was the best for stumbling across great street food like black sesame ice cream and pork jerky, picking up jade from jewelry stalls, watching locals practice tai chi at the park, and getting a sense for the Macanese day-to-day. 

At night, regardless of whether or not you are a gambler, you should see the casinos. Personally, Vegas never sparked any interest, I've actually only ever gambled once in my life, but when in Rome.. There's enough differences from American casinos that made for a very interesting night. Firstly, Asian gambling is not remotely the same as it is in Vegas. You rarely see anyone that intoxicated, the slot machines look abandoned, men in suits quietly crowd around the playing tables – and it's all very serious. 

My favorites destinations as well as perfect starting points for exploring the different islands and neighborhoods:

+ Red Market

+ Taipa Village

+ Coloane Village

+ Hac Sa Beach

+ Grand Lisboa Casino 

+ Mandarin's House


Wine Pairings: A Beginners Guide

by Lauren Zwanziger in


I'm not much of a wine drinker, but I find myself having more of it lately. Sure, I think most people start switching to wine the older they get, but I think it's more than age that's causing the change – it's new occasions. Whether I'm traveling somewhere new or staying close to home, it's the time spent over a meal with good food, drinks, and people that are the most bonding.

It seems crazy that something so important to these times and experiences with food, is a topic I know so little about. So I was excited to team up with one of my favorite restaurants in Nashville, Moto, on putting together a few beginner's tips on how to find the right wine to pair with your meal.

Read on for some simple tips from Moto's sommelier Tristan Snyder: 

First Pairing: Banfi Principessa Gavia with Octopus

Remember, “What grows together, goes together.”

"The Banfi Principessa Gavia is made in the Classic Region of Novi Ligure. Italy is known for wonderful seafood dishes and amazing white wines to pair perfectly. The great acidity of the Cortese grape cuts through the fat from the pancetta in the borlotti beans. While the citrus notes heightens the taste of the octopus." 

Second Pairing: Meiomi Pinot Noir with the Beet Salad and Blueberry Lasagna

Pinot Noirs are very versatile wines with many different styles. It is an easy pair to course out or even carry on into your meal. 

"The slight earthiness of the pinot compliments the flavors of the beets in the salad as well as the mushrooms in the lasagna. The berry flavors add to the sweetness of the roasted beets and that of the blueberry balsamic reduction. The balanced saltiness of the dishes are matched by the acidity of the wine." 

Third Pairing: TorCalvano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano w/ Veal Chop with Madeira Mushroom Sugo and Grilled Asparagus with soft egg 

Sangiovese is known for its vibrant acidity with generous tannins.

"Use the acidity to pair with rich meats and the earthiness to enhance the rich mushroom sugo. The smoked flavors of the wine are matched by the char of the grill from the asparagus. "

Images by: Shelby Gordon

*This post was created in collaboration with MStreet