• The Macau Government Tourist Office has partnered with Aberdeen Tours, AsiaLuxe Holidays and Charming Asia Tours to develop new culinary excursions that bring travelers to wine tastings, Macanese restaurants and Chinese dim sum cooking classes.
• Macanese cuisine is a global fusion of Portuguese and southern Chinese flavors. Signature dishes to sample: stir-fried curry crab, African chicken (barbecued and coated with spicy sauce, above) and the popular deep-fried pork-chop burger.
• Minchi is Macau's unofficial national comfort food, consisting of minced pork or beef cooked with crispy potatoes, onions and, sometimes, a fried egg.
One of the world's fastest developing destinations, Macau, with its glittering hotels and glamorous mega-casinos, has become known as the Las Vegas of Asia.
This 11.4-square-mile special administrative region of China saw more than 24 million visitors in 2010, an increase of 14.8 percent over 2009. To accommodate the growing numbers, a host of new hotels are being built or planned. Currently, there are 65 properties in the city for a combined 20,998 guest rooms; city planners estimate that by 2016, the count will have grown to 120 hotels and a grand total of more than 60,000 rooms.
Hotel update Last month, the $1.9 billion Galaxy Macau complex opened with three new hotels, more than 50 restaurants and bars, and an array of retail options.
The first of the three properties, Banyan Tree Macau, features 250 spacious suites, each with a private indoor relaxation pool, and 10 villas amid private gardens.
The 488-room Hotel Okura Macau offers approximately 5,920 square feet of meeting space. On-site are the Sakazuki Sake Bar and its signature Yamazato restaurant, which features three private dining rooms that can accommodate up to 10 guests each, along with kaiseki-style menus (a traditional Japanese dinner consisting of a sequence of small dishes).
The third property at Galaxy Macau is the 1,500-room Galaxy Hotel. Guest rooms generally span about 475 square feet and feature 42-inch televisions and wireless Internet.
When combined, the three properties in the complex offer more than a dozen meeting rooms with square footage ranging from 860 to 14,300.
In the Cotai Strip area, the 4,067-room Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai Strip, will open in June 2012 with two health clubs, a spa and more than 50,000 square feet of meeting space.
The 213-room Mandarin Oriental Macau debuted last June with a spa, a fine-dining restaurant, a 35,000-square-foot ballroom, two smaller meeting rooms and a boardroom.
Last April, the $600 million, 414-unit Encore at Wynn Macau opened as the sister resort to the adjacent 600-room Wynn Macau. Features include two restaurants, a spa with eight treatment rooms, and more than 60 gaming tables. Encore does not have dedicated meeting facilities, but its counterpart offers 22,000 square feet of function space.
Area attractions Following five years of development, the spectacular House of the Dancing Waters show, within the City of Dreams complex in the Cotai district, opened last November. The venue seats up to 2,000 people in its theater-in-the-round water stage, which has a 3.7-million-gallon pool with 258 automated fountains. The show combines live acrobatics with cutting-edge special effects.