Located on the western bank of the Pearl River Delta, where the river flows into the South China Sea, Macao sits with its to 650,000 inhabitants. Macao came under Portugal’s administration in the 16th century when it was an important trading hub. As a result, the city has become a diverse environment, combining eastern and western culture and home of the first ‘fusion food’ – the Macanese cuisine, now designated as Macao’s intangible heritage by the local government. In 1999, China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Macao and the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) was established. Macao identifies gastronomy a key lever for nurturing cultural diversity and supporting sustainable economic growth. 6.6% of the workforce in Macao is employed in the gastronomy field, of which 28.6% is represented by young people aged from 25 to 34.
To maximise the potential of gastronomy in socio-economic development, the local government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy aiming to promote the sustainability of local food culture, create opportunities for exchange with international stakeholders, enhance the working conditions within the sector, and nurture interest in the sector through education and training programmes targeting young people in particular. The SAR Government initiatives such as the Young Entrepreneurs Aid Scheme, as well as the Youth Entrepreneurs Incubation Centre, provide technical support, training, consultation and market intelligence for young creativ entrepreneurs.
Contribution to the network
a Creative City of Gastronomy, Macao envisages:
- collaborating with diverse associations and institutions to reassert the importance of a sustainable food culture and promote the local gastronomic heritage;
- establishing a vocational education centre, aimed at supporting the emergence of creative talents in the gastronomy sector;
- creating a Macanese gastronomy database in order to set standards for Macanese cuisine, generating wider awareness and contributing towards the sustainability of the culture and culinary identity of Macao;
- holding the second edition of the International Film Festival and Awards Macao (IFFAM) to create synergy between film and gastronomy;
- contributing financially to the UCCN and launching international students exchange programmes ;
- continuing to host the International Gastronomy Forum Macao and extending participation to Portuguese-Speaking countries, harnessing long-term cooperation between Creative Cities of Gastronomy; and
- inviting UCCN Cities to participate in the Macao Food Festival so as to promote their cities and gastronomy.
Facts and figures
City 607 500
ø January °C +16
ø July °C 30
Designated Unesco Creative City since 2017
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 exotic 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 and cooking styles were gradually incorporated into traditional Portuguese dishes cooked by Macanese families over the past centuries.