Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Confection of Almond Biscuits





    Introduction:

    The almond biscuit is one of the most popular traditional Chinese pastries of Macao. Its origins is intimately connected with pork biscuits that were made from mung bean powder, which was a delicacy originating from the Xiangshan county of Guangdong province, that was popular in Macao in the first half of the 20th century, being mostly famous for its almond-like shape and almond fragrance. The almond biscuit available in Macao today is mostly round-shaped, being produced by various different bakeries with the use of similar ingredients, including almonds, mung bean powder and pork preserved with sugar. The biscuits are shaped in a wooden biscuit mold, filled with mixture of ingredients, and then baked in charcoal ovens. The making of the traditional almond biscuits involves many phases with the aim of producing a biscuit that is sweet and crispy, with a fine and smooth texture. Due to the popularity and good sales of almond biscuits in Macao, a variety of different types has been developed and almond biscuits have become one of the most famous gifts that people buy in Macao.

     

    Conservation Status:

    Although almond biscuits are one of the most representative delicacies of Macao, nowadays counting with a large number of manufacturers and a good variety of different biscuit types, most of those biscuits are made mechanically and mass produced to cater to the high market demands. In contrast, there are only a few traditional pastry shops in Macao that are still making almond biscuits in a traditional way, by hand. As such, the continuity of this traditional techniques faces some challenges.

     

    Heritage Value:

    Being one of the most representative types of traditional Chinese pastries, almond cookies are an important element that also shows the resilience, the continuity and the generational transmission of Chinese gastronomic culture in Macao, also noting that its confection has specific local characteristics that are also of significant value for the study of Macao’s food culture. The almond biscuit itself has become one of the most typical icons of Macao’s gastronomic culture.


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