Macau Café, a casual neighborhood restaurant straddling Land Park and South Land Park, is a boon to the area.
It’s a Cantonese café with homey dishes typical of Hong Kong and Macau. Macau was a former Portuguese colony so there are some vaguely European dishes on the menu — like pork chops and spaghetti — which are sort of a novelty and catch your eye right away, but are not the best of what this place has to offer. There are many wonderful things to order, but if you go for your first time, here is a recommended menu:
I’ve discovered that the House Soup is a great thing to order at most authentic Chinese restaurants, and they do it really well at Macau. Every day they slowly cook meat bones and vegetables to create a rich healthful broth. Occasionally when you order it the waitresses might double check or suggest sweet and sour soup in its stead because the house soup is really homey and simple, not restaurant-y. But it’s so good and so wholesome. Oh, and did I mention its on the house?
The Macau-Style Crispy Pig Knuckle has an exotic sounding name, but it’s really just a plate full of tasty pork meat cooked on the bone. The salty, roasted tender pork knuckle has a lot of meat on it, most of which is cut into succulent, tender slices. The rest you can gnaw off of the shin-bone!
One of my favorite dishes anywhere is Macau’s Lobster Y-fu Noodle, tasty in-shell lobster pieces stir fried with scallion and ginger and served atop well-cooked egg noodles. Its very simple and delicious, and not too pricey, presumably because they serve everything but the tail — which they must use for other dishes — a compromise I’m happy with.
A heaping plate of something green is necessary to balance the meat on the table so far. Tong choi, also called water spinach or hollow vegetable, dressed with jalapenos, garlic and fermented tofu sauce is just the thing. Tong choi is the Cantonese name for water spinach and I’ve learned that it’s way easier to order it that way than to use one of its English names. Although there are a number of jalapenos in this dish it’s not particularly spicy. The fresh, light vegetal flavor of the water spinach contrasts nicely with the funky garlic-y tofu sauce. Occasionally the restaurant will be out of the vegetable, I suggest pea shoots as an alternative.
This menu would make a lovely dinner, but if you come in looking for a simpler lunch or brunch, order the congee with preserved egg and salted pork. It’s a wonderful rice porridge with pork slivers, chopped up century eggs, and sliced ginger. Add chili sauce to taste!
4406 Del Rio Road, Sacramento (916) 457-8818