Macanese cuisine is cooked with many ingredients that recall the unique history of Macao and its Portuguese maritime culture. During the 16th and 17th Century, Portugal energetically established a sea route to the East, paving the way for merchants engaged in the spice trade in Africa, India and the coast of Malacca, bringing, in turn, these spices and food cultures to Macao. In addition, many Portuguese married local Chinese in Macao and inhabitants from the above-mentioned regions. Thus, different foreign and Chinese ingredients plus cooking styles were gradually incorporated into traditional Portuguese dishes cooked by Macanese families over the past centuries.
Based on Portuguese cuisine, these spices and ingredients from Africa, Southeast Asia and India - including curry, coconut milk, cloves and cinnamon - are combined using Chinese culinary skills in a wonderful pot pourri of tastes and aromas, giving birth to the uniquely delicious Macanese cuisine of today. Macanese Gastronomy was inscribed on the Macao Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2012.