Lifestyle Eat

Grand Noodles

Written by The Panda

This article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of World Gaming magazine.

Upper 1/F
Grand Lisboa
Open 24 hours (7 days)
Telephone +853 8803 7755

Sometimes The Panda just wants a bowl of noodles. The Noodle & Congee Corner at Grand Lisboa has been making a name for itself for years by churning out bowls of steaming noodles as quickly as they can make them.

Noodles are the traditional lunchtime fare for this part of the world. To be truthful, there really isn’t a bad time for a good bowl of noodles. It’s a bit like the McDonald’s of Asian cuisine – noodles should be cheap, hot and served quickly with a minimum of fuss.

Of course, not all noodles are created equal. Creating the perfect bowl of noodles is a fine art, but when my many poker friends used to play at Grand Lisboa they would always rave about the noodle shop there. And rest assured, when it comes to poker players, they have a keen nose for good, quick and cheap places to grab a bite to eat.

Whenever I had been to Grand Lisboa in the past I tended to treat myself to dinner at The Eight, or if someone else was footing the bill, the three Michelin starred Robuchon au Dôme. But as I found myself wandering past the Noodle & Congee Corner recently I decided the time had come to give it a try.

I love the setting of this restaurant as you can get a table overlooking the main gaming floor. Sometimes you want peace and quiet when you eat but this is the perfect sort of meal to sit down by yourself and watch the passing crowd. Another thing I love about the Grand Lisboa is that all the staff wear flag pins near their name badge indicating which languages they speak. This is a huge help in a cosmopolitan place like Macau.

The menu is comprehensive but well laid out with professional imagery, which helps you navigate your way through. From BBQ meats to main dishes all the way to an extensive range of noodles and congees– you won’t have a problem finding something here to tempt your palate.

I have become a rice roll addict of late and when I saw one on the menu with scallops, chives and enoki mushrooms I was hooked. I also ordered the seafood Tom Yum Goong soup. I had a hankering for some prawns and mushrooms so all I had to do now was wait. I wasn’t waiting long.

The rice roll was there within a minute of ordering and was very good – not the best rice roll I’ve ever eaten but the scallops and mushrooms were a great mix with an excellent flavor and consistency. The soup arrived soon after and as soon as I had scoffed down my first slurp I knew I had made the right choice. In my opinion there is no better combination than perfectly cooked prawns, fishballs, rice noodles, kaffir lime leaves and mushrooms in a hot lemongrass infused broth.

I ordered a young coconut drink and it was served in the coconut. It was icy cold, sweet and a perfect match to my meal. At this stage I was kicking myself that I hadn’t been here before. The Tom Yum Goong was inspired by the very best Thai cuisine and was a fragrant delight. I would be over the moon to be served a soup this good in the back streets of Bangkok or any fine Thai restaurant in the West.

Another great thing about dining here is the chefs put on quite a show making many different types of noodles. A thick glass wall keeps them separated from the customers. It’s almost hypnotic to watch the chefs go through noodle-making routines they have clearly repeated thousands of times before

I decided to grab a coffee and piece of cake in the coffee shop next door and although I was unable to put it all on the same bill as my noodle meal, I only had to move a few meters along the rail where I was afforded a great view of some athletic European dancers gracing Grand Lisboa’s main stage. Having the coffee shop and the noodle bar so close together is great because even if you come as a large group, they can cater to anyone’s tastes.

The New York blueberry cheesecake at the Grand Lisboa is out of this world. I tried it years ago upon my first visit to Macau and nothing has changed. It is rich and creamy with a perfect biscuit base, but at the same time isn’t too thick. It certainly had this panda panting for more! Unfortunately I had to send the coffee back and their second attempt was only a slight improvement. Coffee is gradually improving in Asia, but it is a slow process and very hit and miss. I guess I was so overwhelmed by the food I was prepared to gamble. All I can say is enjoy as much cheesecake as you can fit in but steer clear of the coffee!

The Noodle & Congee Corner isn’t the cheapest place to eat in Macau, but if you are on a tight dollar there are some cheaper options on the menu. Most importantly, the food comes out quickly and is of the highest quality. It’s dining in a fun atmosphere, and being Macau you may as well soak it all in. Just don’t finish your meal off with a coffee.