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Rua Correia da Silva

By Chris Dwyer Illustration by Dan Williams

This street embodies Macau’s charming, delicious mix of Portuguese and Chinese cultures without glitz.

Once a sleepy Portuguese colony, modern-day Macau, with its flashy casinos, luxury shopping centers and booming economy, changes almost by the month, with new buildings rising at every turn. Happily, some streets remain resolutely traditional and reassuringly untouched. Rua Correia da Silva in Taipa Village is one such thoroughfare. Named after Henrique Monteiro Correia da Silva, who served as governor from 1919–23, the street boasts charming and historic architecture, brilliant local delicacies and a unique multicultural heritage. 

The perfect starting point comes at the street’s western end at the Museum of Taipa and Coloane History. The compact and elegant 1920s building charts Taipa’s gentle growth and houses archaeological and cultural relics from the Neolithic age up to the present day.

The museum sits opposite Tin Hau Temple (on the corner with Rua Gov. Tamagnini Barbosa), which dates back to 1785 and is dedicated to the Chinese goddess of the sea, protector of fishermen and their families. Ancient tablets, bells and gently burning coils and sticks of incense add to the atmosphere as worshippers bring their offerings and pray. 

In a city that melds Chinese and Portuguese cultures so beautifully, there’s no escaping the lure of food and drink. Café Tai Lei Loi Kei (35 Rua Correia da Silva) is famous for one dish in particular — a pork chop bun. The simple snack, a Portuguese classic, involves a rich and chewy seasoned pork chop between a soft and slightly sweet Portuguese bun. The line of customers outside attests to its popularity.

Another great stop, possibly for a perfectly made espresso or glass of prosecco, comes at the Italian-run Bella Taipa (1 Rua dos Clerigos,, a historic three-story white building with colonnades and wooden windows. The most coveted seats are on the top-floor terrace, looking out across Taipa and beyond. 

For cultural enlightenment, and maybe some retail therapy, there’s Taipa Village Art Space (10 Rua dos Clerigos), situated in a traditional former shophouse a stone’s throw from Rua Correia da Silva. There, local and international artists show their prowess and celebrate Taipa Village’s colorful heritage through everything from drone photography to free portraits.

Lastly, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you leave Macau without dining at Portugália (5 Rua dos Mercadores,​​.mo), a beer and wine bar that combines Macau’s Chinese and Portuguese cuisines. It offers dozens of delectable dishes, from its famous croquets and codfish cakes to the restaurant’s namesake dish, a tender beef steak basted in a butter crème sauce and served with a soft-boiled egg on top.

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