Report by Amy Fargas
We mostly admitted to not being able to exactly place Macao on a map. During a convivial evening with Rosa Ross at Fanny Farkas' intimate, warmly decorated apartment, a dozen of us got a better grip on Macanese cuisine. 1. Macao was a Portugese-influenced toehold for European tea merchants, about 40 miles from Hong Kong. 2. All Macanese cuisine is derivative; influenced by Portugese and Chinese ingredients and cooking methods. 3. Our groaning board of Arroz Gordo came with a Portugese base, garnished with Macanese elements of hard boiled egg, fried shallots, croutons, and Rosa's special add-ons of roasted turmeric-rubbed pork shoulder and chicken. Rosa passed out a packet of recipes prepared for the evening's dinner party.
As the group supped on Christmas Eve Shrimp Soup with noodles, Rosa filled our heads with Christmas Eves in Macao, when her mom sang solos at midnight Mass. While we dipped chips into spicy salted-shrimp Balichao, tales floated of her family's preparation five-year batches of this tabletop condiment. A stunning steamed sponge cake topped with coconut and caramel brought the evening to a sweet close, as new friends exchanged emails and Rosa autographed her cookbook, Beyond Bok Choy, for each participant.