Macao revs up for its month of fast wheels and fine meals

By Jonathan Evans
Photography: Louis Li / Amy Wong / Wilson Lam

The events calendar for November in Macao is dominated once again by the twin attractions of motorsport and cuisine, as visitors and locals alike make a beeline to the city to be thrilled and filled by two annual favourites, the 66th Macau Grand Prix and 19th Macao Food Festival. For the marquee event of the 66th  Grand Prix from 14–17 November, the FIA Formula 3 World Cup, substantial modifications have been made to both the competing vehicles and the circuit, while the Food Festival (8–24 November) brings its regular array of delectable treats from across the world to Sai Van Lake Square. 

    

Last year, more than 83,000 people attended the four days of the 65th  Macau Grand Prix, which saw a second successive Macao victory for British F3 driver Daniel Ticktum, but also a horrific crash involving Sophia Flörsch on the last day of the event, in which the young German driver crashed into the back of another car and lost her back wheels. Flörsch, the first woman to participate in the race since 2014, managed to escape with a fractured spine after she was hurled into a photographers’ bunker, injuring two photographers and a race marshal.

    

    

One consequence of the accident is that the notoriously tricky 6.2km-long Guia Circuit will be updated in several areas to adhere to modern safety standards, including a reconfiguring of the barrier at the Lisboa corner. In addition, the cars used in the race will be upgraded to the Dallara F3 2019 standard, which has greater horsepower, naturally aspirated engines and enhanced safety features. This powerful new vehicle was used in the opening race of the FIA ​​F3 championship in Barcelona in May. 

    

Seasoned observers of the race, which again carries FIA F3 World Cup status, will know that the F3 Grand Prix – historically a stepping stone for legendary motor racing names such as Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, whose son Mick is now also competing – is just one of six contests over the course of the four-day event. Hundreds of drivers and riders will be competing across numerous categories of motor-racing, including single-seaters, touring cars and motorbikes. 

While the first two days are reserved for practice and qualifying, all the finals are held on Saturday and Sunday. The main three races – the Suncity Group Formula 3 Grand Prix, the Suncity Group Guia Race (the deciding race in the FIA World Touring Car Cup) and the SJM FIA GT World Cup (for GT3-spec cars) – are all decided on the last day. The Suncity Group Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, FOOD4U Macau Touring Car Cup and Suncity Group Greater Bay Area GT Cup complete the six-part schedule of competitions.

    

    
    More information about the 66th Macau Grand Prix, please click HERE

November’s other major mainstay of the events calendar, the Macao Food Festival, also sees a different twist in its programming this year. Held as usual at Sai Van Lake Square, in the shadow of Macau Tower, the 19th iteration of this gastronomic carnival again brings the best in cuisine from South-East Asia, Europe and Mainland China – as well as Macao, of course – to an international audience, and in line with previous years a theme is chosen to encompass the spirit of the festival. This year’s event has a distinct Japanese flavour, and as part of the “Hokkaido Village” special showcase, 21 food and beverage favourites from the northernmost Japanese prefecture will be on display to help transform the lower part of Sai Van Lake into a unique destination where overseas visitors and locals alike can participate in an international exchange of exotic gastronomy, as well as culture and performances.

    

In tandem with the Japanese-flavoured celebration, the Food Festival this year also marks the 20th anniversary of the return of Macao to Mainland China with the inclusion of the third annual World Master Chefs Competition for Cantonese Cuisine. During this event, more than 150 invitees from regions around the world will participate in a contest that aims to promote local culture, and help to build an effective international communication platform both within the catering industry and on a wider level. It also serves to heighten awareness of Macao’s intention to become a “World Centre of Tourism and Leisure”, an ambition the city’s tourism overlords have been formulating in recent years.

    

In addition, Macao has since 2017 been a Creative City of Gastronomy as part of Unesco’s Creative Cities Network, a designation that has helped to open up more business opportunities for the city. As an annual event that celebrates the local food-and-drink industry, the Food Festival has benefited greatly from this international recognition and takes full advantage of the exposure the event allows by promoting local specialities to guests, in the knowledge that Macanese cuisine is an indispensable part of the travel experience for visitors to the territory.

    

Using electronic payment at the venue, curious snack-seekers can delight their palates with dishes from all over the world in a series of “food streets” complete with stalls, booths and tents devoted to various countries’ cuisines – alleyways that include Macao Street, Greater China Gourmet Street and European Street. Over the last two decades, a number of additions to the programme have been made, so that fireworks, exhibitions, games stands, beer competitions, singing, dance performances and a photography contest have all now become part of the entertainment on offer.

This year’s gastronomic extravaganza runs from 8–24 November, and is open on weekdays from 5–11pm (Mon–Thu) and at weekends from 3pm–midnight (Fri,Sat& Sun).

More information about the 19th Macau Food Festival, please click HERE

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