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Important Events

Sustainable Gastronomy Day celebrated with video on preserving Macanese cuisine

A new video discussing how to best preserve Macanese cuisine has been released to promote Sustainable Gastronomy Day. The United Nations event is held annually on 18 June, and the video is another effort to raise public awareness about Macao’s unique gastronomic cultural heritage.

The video was produced by Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) in partnership with the online platform Macao News. MGTO Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes says in the video that innovation is important to promoting Macao’s gastronomic heritage. “You have to make the culture survive and go on into the future and also make it continue to be relevant,” she points out.

The video also features Macao Institute for Tourism Studies (IFTM) Educational Restaurant chef Hans Lee Rasmussen saying that sustainable gastronomy entails more than sourcing ingredients and cooking.

“There’s also an element of heritage, it preserves the old ways, so everything is not just changed into something new. We need to keep the recipes that are passed down from families to families or from chefs to chefs,” he notes.

For young Macanese chef Otília Novo, gastronomy innovation must come after knowing the culture. “In order to continue to be sustainable, I think we should talk to the older generation first and then you can understand where the dish comes from,” she highlights.

Macanese chef Florita Alves expresses in the video her commitment to preserving Macanese cooking, noting that “the most challenging part is how can you preserve the consistency of the flavour, preserve the Macanese taste.”

The video also features students aspiring to become chefs sharing their views on sustainable gastronomy and their take on how to keep Macanese cuisine relevant for future generations.

Macanese gastronomy has been part of the List of Macao’s Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2012.

Macanese cuisine is a Macao unique food culture, based on cooking methods used in Portuguese cuisine; it also incorporates traditions from Chinese communities and integrates ingredients and cooking methods found in Africa, India and Malaysia. Combining the merits of each cuisine, Macanese gastronomy has developed into a unique, independent food culture across several hundred years.

Macao has been celebrating Sustainable Gastronomy Day since it was designated a member city of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the field of Gastronomy on 31 October 2017.

Macao’s four-year action plan as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy has seen the Macao SAR Government launch in November last year a Macanese Cuisine Database that tracks the cuisine’s history, its recipes and culinary arts.

 Three more elements of Macao culture achieve national recognition
Three elements of the intangible cultural heritage of Macao have been added to China’s National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in June. They are Macanese cuisine, theatre in Patuá, and Tou Tei (Earth God) belief and customs.
China’s State Council had declared the additions to the national list, following proposals submitted by the Macao SAR Government.
The added elements reflected the harmonious blend of Chinese and Western cultures in Macao, and that it would help the city serve its strategic positioning as a multiple-culture exchange and cooperation base, with an emphasis on Chinese culture, within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The new listing of the elements will also help in the general protection and preservation of Macao’s intangible cultural heritage.
A total of 11 elements of Macao culture have so far been added to China’s National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.