For good quality Chinese cuisine in Macau, look no further than Tou Tou Koi (陶陶居). Famed for its traditional claypot shark’s fin in chicken broth, we were not surprised to find the restaurant fully packed on a weekday, with queues forming at the reception for people who neglected to get a reservation. We did, and thankfully, we didn’t have to wait. I’m not a big fan of soups but we were strongly urged to pay Tou Tou Koi a visit. Shark’s fin soup wasn’t exactly fitting to our hopes for good budget-eating as well, but I guess in Rome, we have to do what the Romans do, or eat, in this case.
The front of the restaurant is fashioned after a typical seafood mecca, with huge tanks of live crustaceans and fish swimming idly, oblivious to their eventual delicious fate. The interiors are bustling, clean, kind of modern with dark wood walls but the restaurant is unfortunately not smoke-free. It didn’t bother us too much until the end of our dinner when a huge gang of scary-looking men plonked their asses at the next table, complete with thick gold bracelets, chunky jade rings, lit cigarettes and perhaps the occasional weapon or two.
We were quick to order as we were very hungry and the menu is thankfully straightforward (with English translations that didn’t make me laugh). The service was also surprisingly attentive with service staff refilling our teacups and bowls of soup from time to time; they didn’t seem to let us lift a finger, except when we were eating or when we were about to get the bill.
We were first served the shark’s fin soup which came in a huge claypot. We had ordered 6 两 (Chinese weight units that equate to about 230 grams in total) of shark’s fin to share. This was the minimal portion for anything larger than one serving, and it was huge!! We had three bowls of soup each in addition to everything else we ordered, and every portion was laden with generous servings of shark’s fin. The soup was incredibly creamy and very flavoursome, and this is saying something coming from a non-soup lover like me. I loved it but I have to admit that even that claypot was a little too filling for the two of us. The soup isn’t cheap though, a claypot of that cost us S$120, but I guess this was really made for sharing between 3-6 people, so be sure to bring along pals for this!
We were also recommended to try the pan-fried beef fillet, a seemingly simple dish that wouldn’t have usually impressed, except that this was beautifully done. Every piece of beef fillet was impossibly silky and tender, well-flavoured. This went perfectly with rice.
We also tried the roasted suckling pig, which was divine to say the least. The skin was delightfully crispy and the meat was just nicely salted. I couldn’t get enough of this!
I’ve never had roasted pigeon too (yeah, where have I been all my life, right?) and I must say this is one heck of roasted bird. The skin was crispy and incredibly thin. There was very little meat but the flesh boasted strong game-y flavours that were not overpowering in the small quantities we had. Beautiful. I also had fun sticking the teeny tiny bones into my mouth like a country bumpkin, and spitting them out once I polished off the meat.
If you’re heading to Macau, put this on your eating itinerary. But be warned about the cost of the meal. We were a little shocked when the bill arrived, didn’t expect to spend about S$100 per person on a meal like this!
Tou Tou Koi is located at:
6-8 Travessa do Mastro, Macau