The Macao Institute for Tourism Studies (IFTM) was named by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China in the Fifth National List of Protection Unit of Representative Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage, released in September. The IFTM’s designation as the preservation unit for Macanese gastronomy was proposed by the Macao SAR Government.
Macao’s two other appointed protection units of National Intangible Cultural Heritage are the Dóci Papiaçám di Macau drama group, entrusted with the protection of theatre in Patuá, a creole language derived from archaic Portuguese; and Associação de Cheok Chai Un Fok Tak Chi Tou Tei Mio Chek Lei Wui de Macau, that cares for beliefs and customs related to Tou Tei (the God of Earth).
Macao was recognised as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in November 2017. Earlier this year, Macanese gastronomy was also added to the official list of National Intangible Cultural Heritage, enriching Macao’s positioning as Creative City of Gastronomy, and highlighted gastronomy as an important tourism resource in Macao.
A unique part of Macao’s own official intangible cultural heritage, Macanese cuisine reflects a blend of Chinese and Western cuisines born in Macao more than four centuries ago.
In becoming a Protection Unit of National Intangible Cultural Heritage, IFTM will continue to play its role in preserving National Intangible Cultural Heritage, in line with the Intangible Cultural Heritage Law of the People’s Republic of China and Opinions of the General Office of the State Council on Strengthening the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Our Country.
The institute has long provided both degree and short-term courses on culinary theory and practical classes that allow students and the public understand the history and techniques of Macanese cuisine.
To support Macao’s intangible cultural heritage, the Macanese Cuisine Database was launched by the Macao Government Tourism Office in November 2020, in collaboration with IFTM, the Macao SAR Government Cultural Affairs Bureau, and the International Institute of Macau.
The database includes books and publications about Macanese cuisine, manuscripts and hundreds of recipes that were collected in a worldwide search.
As part of the project, a themed corner on Macanese gastronomy was created in the IFTM Library. The display aims to help educate, preserve and promote the city’s distinctive food culture.