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Located on the casino floor of the Galaxy complex, Pak Loh in Macau is a modern version of a very traditional and well-known Chiu Chow restaurant chain. Done in shades of gold, much like the rest of the complex, the seating is geared towards privacy with plenty of space between tables. It is a decent spot to grab a quick bite between rounds at the baccarat table, but not really fine dining as such. Unless of course, you reserve one of the private rooms, which are well hidden behind wooden doors, all the way down the length of the restaurant.
Pak Loh serves a whole host of traditional Chiu Chow favourites (Chiu Chow being a famous region of Guangdong) such as marinated goose meat, chilled crabs and a variety of oyster dishes. Pak Loh also includes an unfortunate amount of shark’s fin dishes, which we would suggest as being more of a Macau glitzy addition rather than indigenous to Chiu Chow. The goose slices and goose feet are decent, but not the best we have tried. Both were a bit tough, and not marinated enough for the flavours to truly infuse the goose. Our other appetiser of deep-fried baby oysters are not much better. The baby oysters themselves are bland, and enveloped in too much batter. Also unfortunate was the great distance they had to travel from the kitchen to our seats at the end of the sprawling restaurant, as they were warm when they arrived rather than hot. A seafood dish worth trying is the pan-fried pomfret in soy, which was our favourite dish of the day. The fish is perfectly tender and the soy sauce not overwhelming. The skin especially is delicious. Finally, we enjoyed the congee with minced pork and dried fish: Chiu Chow congee is distinctively more watery than other Cantonese versions and this one looks the part, but it needed a tad more coriander to be fully authentic. Finally, if eating at Pak Loh at lunch, the Chiu Chow dumplings are worth a try as they are a very good rendition of the staple.
Getting wine at Pak Loh is not an easy business. We asked for the wine list a couple of times to no avail and, not uncommonly for a Chinese restaurant, there is no sommelier in sight. The wine list, however, when it arrives, is not unimpressive. Curated from the Galaxy master list, there are a good number of wines by the glass, including more uncommonly featured producers such as Monsoon Valley in Thailand for whites and Helan Mountain from China for reds. Portuguese wines also get a look-in, while the wines by the bottle feature a good number of champagnes and some very decent white Burgundies and producers such as Cape Mentelle and Margaux in the red wine section. Chinese wines are also prominently highlighted.
Although some of the rounded booths give you a high-degree of privacy, it does make it astonishing difficult to attract the attention of the staff, as the seats have incredibly high backs. When we finally found someone to take our order, she realised she had forgotten her pen and didn’t return for a while. Teas also took a while to be served but once the food got going, it did all come very quickly.
A meal for two comes to under MOP700. This is not including any of the more expensive items such as chilled crab. While not extremely expensive, we did think this was rather a lot to pay for quite average food in an unremarkable setting.