China Trip – Part 3

Saturday

This morning we ate the last of our yummy pastries and made a mental note to pick up some more. After we were all dressed, Bill, Tommy, Laikwan and I headed out on foot. We explored Taipa a little bit and finally picked up a taxi and made our way to The Venetian Hotel and Casino.

 One of Tommy’s new favorite modes of transportation, via piggy-back.

As of right now, the Venetian in Macau has the world’s largest casino, at 546,000 square feet. Of course, we couldn’t actually enter the casino with Tommy. A brand new gaming law states that no one under the age of 21 is even allowed to enter a casino. 

Either way, we were happy to walk around the Grand Canal Shops. We found the rather impressive food court and shared a bowl of jook (rice porridge) and Chinese savory donuts for a late breakfast/small lunch. We were meeting with two of Bill’s aunts for a real lunch a bit later. 

He loves porridge! This one had thinly sliced fish, green onions and preserved egg. Bill and Laikwan got all of the egg, I’m not a fan of it.

Yes, there was a Fatburger in the food court. No, we didn’t eat there.

Inside the Venetian is a Lord Stow’s Bakery. The original one is somewhere in Macau and is home to the unique Portuguese style egg tarts. The first Lord Stow’s opened in the 1980s and claims to be the originator of the egg tart that is so popular in Asia. In Cantonese they’re called dahn-TAT. We didn’t know if we were going to have time to seek out one of the small Portuguese bakeries in Macau, so we figured we’d give these ones a try. The ones I have had in California are always made with pie crust on the bottom. The Portuguese ones are made with puff pastry and are hit with a torch on top to caramelize the top.

We all shared one and it was delicious. The puff pastry crust was flakey and warm and the custard was very creamy. My only complaint was that it was too greasy. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be or not. But I wasn’t a huge fan.

We picked up a couple of souvenirs and purchased tickets to ride on one of the gondolas. Bill and I both thought it was pretty funny that we’ve been to The Venetian in Las Vegas a few times and have never wanted to spend the money for a gondola ride. Yet, we didn’t hesitate to do it in Macau. 

It was a little dark inside the faux canals, so a few of these are a bit blurry.

Tommy enjoyed the fifteen minute ride and our gondolier, Isabella (somehow I don’t think that was her real name) had a really lovely soprano voice. She serenaded us with a beautiful Italian aria and a rousing version of That’s Amore. She didn’t even bat an eye when Tommy started singing his own version of That’s Amore with her and later thanked him for the duet. 

Upon exiting the gondola ride, a Venetian employee was waiting for us with souvenir prints and keychains from the photos they had taken of us on the gondola. They presented us with stuff already printed out! Not even Disneyland goes to such a degree! Not wanting to spend a lot, we purchased a few photo keychains. That was enough for us.

After we were done at the Venetian we got a taxi and headed to lunch with Bill’s aunties. 

Lo-Goo-Jeh and Sahm-Baht-Lurng treated us to lunch at a tiny place that specialized in noodle soups. We let the aunties do the ordering for us and bowl after bowl of steaming soups showed up on our table. It was all delicious. 

Wonton soup

Thinly sliced beef with wide rice noodles.

A delicious clear soup on the left. On the right was a noodle dish neither of us had seen before. The noodles were wonderfully chewy and topped with something we could only describe as “meat powder” ?? It tasted amazing.

Tommy was getting sleepy and didn’t really eat much. He was also whining that he wanted to play at a park. We had walked past a school that had a fun-looking playground. He was due for some playground time, so we discussed with Bill’s aunts what our options were… also asking that we should pick up something for Tommy to eat.

Oddly enough, we ended up at the Macau Science Center where a McDonald’s resides. Tommy was thrilled to eat a few chicken nuggets and then go right to the playground to play. 

 

The Macau Science Center is perched at the very edge of Macau and it offers pretty views of the water and neighboring islands. There are three bridges that connect the Macau peninsula with Taipa and Coloane, this is one of them.

Tommy enjoying his playtime:

I had to chuckle at the name of the play area: Family Time-Out Corner.

  And a donut? Really?

We headed back to Say-Goo-Ma’s place so Tommy could nap. He was overtired, so it took a while to get him to sleep. 

While Bill tried to get Tommy to fall asleep, I went with Laikwan and Say-Go-Ma to a tiny little hair salon so Laikwan and I could get a haircut. I haven’t had a haircut since about a month before we moved to Utah, last June. I just never got around to it and part of me didn’t want to try and find a stylist in Utah. 

I joked with Laikwan and Bill about finding a hair salon in Macau so I could finally get a haircut and I guess Anthony caught wind and suddenly we had an appointment scheduled. This stylist guy who Anthony knows is supposedly very renowned and I was told he’s the kind of guy where you just let him cut your hair, you don’t tell him what style you want. 

This guy’s salon was really small, only two chairs and one chair for shampooing. The assistant immediately began washing Laikwan’s hair while the stylist inspected mine. A year and a half with not even a trim combined with moving to a very dry climate left me with very damaged hair and he seemed genuinely confused as to how it happened. He trimmed and cut and flung my hair around in different directions. Then he left abruptly to go smoke a cigarette saying he’d trim some more after my hair was shampooed. 

The assistant shampooed and massaged the hell out of my scalp, it was amazing. I think she spent fifteen to twenty minutes just massaging my scalp. At that point I could care less what my hair looked like, the massage was worth it. 

The stylist dude came back and gave Laikwan a haircut that looked wonderful. Then he finished my hair. I was totally cool with a short haircut if he deemed it worthy of my head. Instead he kept my hair the same length overall and just added a lot of layers, with the shortest layer hitting right at my jawline. I really love how it turned out. Apologies for not taking any photos, I didn’t have the camera with me.

After we left the salon we headed back to Say-Goo-Ma’s place, woke up Tommy, and headed back to The Venetian so he could spend some time playing with his second cousins.

The Venetian has an indoor playground called qube. It’s like one of those indoor playgrounds you see at McDonalds, but on steroids. This place was big and included a couple of giant slides, a couple of ball pits. It was about $12 for a kid and an adult to play for two hours. Add another adult and it was $3 more. Everyone was required to wear socks and the kids had to be in long sleeves and long pants. The kid clothes they happily provided for free, and the socks they were happy to provide for a small price. 

He really enjoying jumping into the ball pit.

Ooh, there’s a TV!

Tommy and the girls, Levanna and Kimberly, had a blast playing together. Tommy had sweat dripping from his temples when we were done. I really wish I had taken some photos to show just how large this place was. It had separate play areas for kids of different areas, even for little babies.

Toward the end of playtime, Tommy built up enough courage to give the large slide a try. One trip down the slide and he was hooked. He must have gone down the slide half a dozen times before we had to break the news that it was time to go.

Here are two videos of him going down the slide. The first video was his very first trip down. The second video was one of the last trips down the slide. He really liked it!

Slide, Trip 1 from Alexandra Wong on Vimeo.

Slide, Trip 3 from Alexandra Wong on Vimeo.

After playtime was done, we met up with Say-Goo-Ma, Say-Goo-Jurn, Lo-Goo-Jeh, Sahm-Baht-Lurng, Anthony and his wife and 2 daughters, plus LGJ’s son and his baby girl at another Shanghai-style restaurant inside the Old Lisboa casino. We were a loud and rowdy crowd, but it was a blast. 

We had a bunch of different Shanghai-styled dishes including steamed “hairy crab” which is only in season this time of year and is very expensive (about $80 US per crab). 

The crab was delicious, but upon first impression, not as good as the Dungeness Crab that’s local to where we are from. Plus, hairy crab are a lot smaller. What made the hairy crab special (in my opinion) was the crab butter. I wish I had thought to take a picture, but the crab fat and liver are really bright orange on these crab. And the taste is strikingly similar to a rich egg yolk. The texture was kind of egg yolky too. Smeared all over the crab meat it was really amazing.

We also had Peking Duck that was wonderful. At this restaurant, instead of the steamed “bao” buns, they served flat, buns that looked more like thin, light tortillas. 

For those who have perhaps never had Peking Duck, the duck is roasted and glazed in a way that makes the skin super crispy. Then the skin is sliced off in pieces and we make little sandwiches with the steamed buns (or tortillas in this case) along with a few pieces of julienned scallions and some Hoisin sauce. 

It’s so delicious and usually reserved for special occasions. The rest of the duck is usually prepared one of a few different ways, and this preparation is usually chosen by whomever orders the duck ahead of time. This time the duck was diced really small and stir fried with some other ingredients to make lettuce wraps. Those were amazing as well.

Kimberly was happy to assemble a couple of “sandwiches” for Tommy. 

First place the duck skin on the tortilla.

Then spread a little Hoisin sauce on top.

Then roll it up and eat! She skipped the scallions for Tommy since he would have picked them out.

We also had the same sweet and sour deep fried fish dish that we had the previous night. We also had a thin-sliced crispy pork that had the same sweet and sour sauce. We had a ham and vegetable soup. There were also Shanghai-style soup dumplings (Tommy LOVES them), pot stickers and the same dessert bun from the night before that was a very egg-y dough filled with a sweet lotus paste. The last dish was just a plate of fresh watermelon, a great palette cleanser. While this restaurant wasn’t quite as fancy as the one from the previous night, the food here was better.

What was left of the fish… it was beautiful and delicious, I promise.

Lo-Goo-Jeh’s seven-month-old granddaughter was passed around to all of the family members, including me. She was adorable and it was very obvious (to me) that she was teething, trying to chew on everything and anything. 

Such a cutie!

Lovely chubby fingers!

Watching cartoons with Kimberly. Lo-Goo-Jurng keps moving the iPad back as their heads inched closer and closer to the screen.

Despite the look on his face, he adored her. He told me this afternoon that he missed Kimberly and Levanna.

We were the last customers to leave the restaurant. We all ended up back at Say-Goo-Ma’s place and the kids played for a little longer as we tried to pack for our early morning trip and get Tommy ready for bed. I think it was well after 11 before we all settled into bed, Tommy was asleep very quickly.

The rad claw-foot bathtub at Say-Goo-Ma’s apartment. I want one!

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About wobetxela

Artist, mom, traveler, hiker, babywearer (for as long as they'll let me) and hobbyist photographer.
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One Response to China Trip – Part 3

  1. christao408 says:

    Tawn has his heart set on a claw foot tub.

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