Vintage shopping in Macau

By Jonathan Evans
Photography: Cheong / Amy Wong

The opening in 2016 of Collectore, a vintage-themed store in St Lazarus, set a new benchmark for Macau’s vintage-store industry, bringing collectible antique items from as far afield as Europe – toys, vinyl records, posters, cameras, typewriters, clocks, old clothing – into a museum-like space that rewards endless browsing. But when it also added a café serving coffee and snacks on vintage trays – guaranteeing a captive audience – its longevity seemed assured.

Photography: Collectore - Vintage surprises abound
But Collectore is only the most recent offshoot of an industry that has been a retail cornerstone in Macau for years. It was opened as the sister store of Vintage Market, a much-loved outlet hiding behind distinctive bright yellow gates, which has been selling vintage clothing on the same street since 2014. The shop’s products are frequently sourced from Japan, but its owners are so dedicated to their retro-den that they travel all over the world to select pieces from South-East Asia, Australia, the US and Europe – a true labour of love. Handmade jewellery items crafted by local Macanese designers further complement the variety of goods on offer. The newest kid on the vintage block is Vintage 853, opened at the end of last year near the Ruins of St Paul’s, which describes itself as “the library of clothes”, and sells old items from noted designer labels such as Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger as well as classic polo shirts.

Photography: Vintage Market - Turning back times...

However, these independent stores are just one aspect of a shopping phenomenon that’s well established across Macau. For the most part, curious browsers scouring the city for nostalgic items would head to outdoor markets to get their fix, and the streets of the territory are amply laden with stalls specialising in vintage goods. One of the most popular is the flea market on the century-old colonial street of Rua de Tercena, also near the Ruins, which is buzzing in the afternoon with vendors selling everything from crockery to paintings and accessories.

Down in Taipa on a Sunday, Bombeiros Square‘s flea market is a haven for those seeking out traditional crafts and souvenirs, among many other stalls, intriguing local food choices and street entertainment. In Dasanba Street – also known as Rua de Sao Paulo, near the Ruins – there are numerous outlets selling local edible specialities known as “food souvenirs”, but also a string of furniture and antique stores where curiosity seekers can spend hours rifling through a range of porcelain items, ancient coins and reproductions of traditional Chinese furniture cast in rosewood.

Read more about Taipa Village and Bombeiros Square HERE

Many of the streets of peninsular Macau exude a vintage feel – not least those which have been patiently preserved, such as Rua da Felicidade, which still holds restaurant and hotel businesses that began a century ago. But there’s nowhere in the city that’s more infused with a sense of the past than Rua de Cinco de Outubro. This atmospheric street, just to the west of Rua de Tercena, is named for the Portuguese national holiday (5 October) and has plenty of history of its own, appearing as the backdrop to many old movies shot in Macau, and hosting hordes of visitors in the 20th century. Now it’s best known as the venue for a vintage-themed night market that sells local traditional street food, vintage toys and craft items. Visitors can eat at tables on the street, and below the retro pictures displayed along the walls, there are booths for playing games and taking photos.

Read more about Rua da Felicidade Street HERE

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