Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Macanese Gastronomy






    At the beginning of the 16th century, during the European Age of Discovery, the Portuguese sailed to the Far East along the western coast of Africa, rounded the Cape of Good Hope and landed in Macao via India and Malacca. In those times, when the wind and sails were the only power source, long sea voyages and time spent on land in ports of call encouraged the blending of the different lifestyles and eating habits of various regions, peoples and cultures in Africa and Asia with those of the Portuguese. When these Portuguese sailors came to reside in Macao, on the coast of the South China Sea, they merged their own European culture – together with the blend of customs they had absorbed along their route – with the Chinese lifestyle. Today, one of the major remaining examples of this multicultural blend is Macanese Gastronomy.

    Asian spices were a primary sea trade commodity between the Far East and Europe. Such trade made a good fortune for the Portuguese, who were the first Europeans to understand the culinary uses for these spices. The fact that they introduced these flavours into their daily lives and brought them on their journeys to other parts of the world is, indeed, a rather natural phenomenon.

    Macanese Gastronomy is a food culture based on cooking methods from Portuguese cuisine and incorporating ingredients and cooking methods from Africa, India, Malaysia, and the local Chinese population. Combining the merits of each cuisine, this food culture then developed on its own in an independent and unique manner, becoming though several hundred years of integration an important historical by-product of Portugal’s sailing culture.

    Today, Macanese Gastronomy is widely recognised, and its skills and recipes have spread around the world with emigrating Macanese to become a gourmet cuisine with international influence.

     




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