{macau} nam peng cafe {南屏雅敍}

7:30 AM sians 0 Comments

it wasn't my first but it certainly wasn't my last. 

but it was my first one that was cloaked with a rich history that was reflected both in its decor and its good old staff and customers still frequenting their beloved and familiar cha chaan teng.

a reminiscent of the "old macau" cha chaan teng, nam peng cafe {南屏雅敍} is an old fashioned teahouse, adopting the european custom of afternoon tea with a relaxed atmosphere. it is a rare find. an even more challenging one to locate without my trusty google maps. 

foraging through the narrow back alleys just slightly north of senado square, the dense population of buildings were slightly overwhelming as we tried to search for our breakfast rendezvous. a magazine stall was set up just to the right of a cafe's entrance where its owner was intently reading a chinese newspaper. we clumsily maneuvered around the traffic as we avoided the motorcycles in the narrow alley when we found a cafe that looked rather packed. we looked up to find cafe nam ping embossed in gold, on the jade green facade above its chinese characters, read the same in the opposite direction.  

as we entered and rummaged for a table within the packed cafe, we drew brief stares from the cafe regulars. perhaps it was our uncertain demeanor as we made our way to an empty table timidly while the staff was wiping the table before we settled down at our seats. 

the middle of the pastel blue and green dining space were lined with petite booths the diners went about their daily morning routines. an old man was contemplating about life as he enjoyed his morning breakfast while to his right, another was catching up on newspaper reading. most of the younger crowd were scrolling on their phones while waiting for their order to be served. the staff ferried the warm plates of food to the hungry patrons from the open kitchen at the back of the cafe.

{mh} drew inspiration from the breakfast choices of the diners around us -- and it seemed one of the iconic breakfast items was the breakfast macaroni in light broth.

however, even that was a whirlwind of confusion. blame it on our elementary cantonese while the staff only conversed in cantonese so there was a minor language barrier.

(us conversing mostly in broken cantonese) 

"can i get this?" as {mh} points at the 'ham macaroni' on the menu.
-- "the chicken wing noodles?" 

"oh no, this one" {mh} reiterated by striking through the menu item
-- "okay, the one with ham? what noodles would you like with it?"

-- "noodles, glass noodles or vermicelli?"

"ma-ca-ro-ni!" as both of us pointed the word on the menu. 

the noodle selection discussion between us and the staff went on for almost a minute that we were on the verge of even illustrating and gesturing with our hand movements. finally, we decided to take the risk and ordered noodles.

to her disappointment, it came with instant noodles, instead of macaroni.

when i finally met up with my hk friend the next day and asked her what macaroni was in cantonese.

so, what i thought i heard was glass noodles ("tung fun"), the staff meant "thong fun" which translated to hollow noodles - hence macaroni. /faceplate

oh, {mh} thought that the noodles were only alright.

i had better luck with my choice. in fact, my breakfast was already decided before i even stepped into the cafe.

and milk tea (mop/hkd 11) seemed like a must in a teahouse such as this. smooth and strong on the tea brew. not bad. but the highlight of my breakfast was in its partner in crime - the sandwich.

sandviche "sandwich" :: nam peng sandwich (mop/hkd 20)

the iconic must try breakfast from nam peng, its namesake sandwich. beginning with two slices of fluffy, steamed white bread slathered with butter, a thick blanket of luscious golden omelette, soft and moist wrapped around the layers of sweet, smoky, lean roasted pork, still succulent, which contrasted with the salty thick cut ham.

it was a massive portion of filling that was barely contained in the within the two slices of bread. after half a sandwich, i was almost stuffed and had to find inner foodie strength to finish most of the other half but vowed to not have lunch. the sandwich was over the top but in a yummy way!

on our way out, the inner foodie just had to check out the freshly baked pastries at the display glass. but i was far too stuffed to even think about food, let alone getting more food to go. instead it was {mh} who were tempted and tried out the "chinese donut". it had a custard like texture and a strong eggy flavor in a good way. a little too sweet but she seemed to like it to cure the disappointment of her main breakfast meal.

nam peng cafe pays ode the nostalgia of the old cha chaan teng that may have been forgotten with the inevitable modern progression. with a yummy iconic sandwich (and a huge one at that) that is rightfully so, it should not be missed if you hope to mingle with the locals in one of the city's charming cultural experience.

nam peng cafe | location
rua do cinco de outubro,
no. 85
{opens daily: 6:30 am to 6:30pm}

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.