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If you are familiar with the Senado Square, chances are that you would also know about the São Domingos market complex. The origin of the market dates back to the Qing dynasty, but it was not until 1998 that the modern multi-storey market complex was served to replace the old market. Air-conditioned and clean, it is one of the few places in downtown Macau that is not frequented by tourists.
What’s more surprising about the market is that on the third floor, it has a wonderful food court. For individuals who want to enjoy street food but dread the summer heat, it is the place to be. As a local, I find that all the individuals running the stalls are extremely warm and friendly. They will even bring your dishes to you after you have ordered and paid. In a market, this kind of service is completely unexpected.
“Hey guys, the seats over here are nearer to the air-conditioner,” one of the stall owners yells.
“Thanks!” we reply.
From these small gestures, we can see that people in Macau really care about each other. Even though the market is not the most luxurious venue on earth, we always feel fantastic when eating here.
If you think that cheap dishes prepared in a market are not going to be delicious, think again. The stir-fried noodles at these stalls are among the best in town. At Ping Kei, a stall specializing in noodles, a lady does the cooking over an impressive flame, tossing and turning the ingredients in a very quick manner.
With just the right quantity of oil, the texture of the noodles is perfection. As we pick them up with chopsticks and move them closer to the mouth, we can detect the heat immediately. In Cantonese gastronomic culture, this is called “wok hei” 鑊氣, heat radiating from ingredients cooked inside the wok long after it is served.
Singapore-style noodles星洲炒米and stir-fried beef rice noodles乾炒牛河 are two classic staple Cantonese dishes, which are also Ping Kei’s signature noodles. The beef rice noodles are stir-fried with onion, bean sprouts, and soy sauce, while the Singapore-style noodles are heavier in flavor. Seasoned with curry power and soy sauce, the vermicelli are tossed with chili peppers, BBQ pork, eggs, and bean sprouts. Along with a cup of iced milk tea, it is a great lunch indeed, at least one that will not burn a hole in your wallet.

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