Chances are you’ll struggle to locate Macau, the small autonomous region on the south coast of China, on a map. Even once you find it a stone’s throw away from Hong Kong, its deep-rooted history as a former Portuguese territory that commanded western trade routes with China, Japan, and India will likely remain hidden to your naked eye. However, take one bite of a Macanese dish, and you’d be hard-pressed not to immediately pick up on the flavorful convergence of culture that defines the complex nation, from olive oil and bay leaves to toasted shrimp paste and soy sauce.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have this revelation over a meal at Fat Rice, chef Abe Conlon’s boisterous Chicago restaurant, or at his pop-up at Chefs Club in New York City that runs through October 13th. After savoring the full experience—from chili prawns in Vinho Verde butter sauce and arroz de tomate to a nightcap at the intimate cocktail bar The Ladies Room—we left feeling pleasantly full, but bursting with questions. Fortunately, Conlon was kind enough to break it all down for us: from his first trip to Macau to why big-share plates are better, here’s all the incentive you need to head over to Fat Rice.