Feijoada à moda de Macau

A bowl of Macanese feijoada with rice

Feijoada (Portuguese pronunciation: [fejʒuˈadɐ]) is a stew of beans with beef and pork. The name feijoada comes from feijão, ‘bean’ in Portuguese. It is widely prepared in the Portuguese-speaking world, with slight variations.


Time for our final (for now, anyway) stop on tour de feijoada. Macau is, of course, a city on the south coast of China. Portuguese influence began in the 1550s, and they actually paid rent to China for the first 330 years or so, until 1887, when a treaty put it fully under Portuguese rule, which lasted until 1999. With a population of 680,000 and an area of less that 13 square miles, it is the most densely populated region in the world.

After the Goan feijoada, which was drastically different from it’s European ancestor, I was looking forward to another interesting take on the dish. Sadly this doesn’t really seem to be a dish that was drastically altered in this location. In fact, I’d say that it’s probably closer to the Portuguese original than any of the other versions I’ve looked at.

The biggest difference is that I used Napa cabbage. Most of the recipes I looked at just said “cabbage”, but in that part of the world “cabbage” is probably more likely to refer to some variety of Chinese cabbage than European style cabbage.

The recipes I looked at were fairly evenly split between calling for chorizo, chourico, or Chinese sausages. I happened to have half a stick of chorizo in the fridge, so I didn’t bother going across town to the store that carries Chinese sausage, but that would potentially have given it a more distinctive taste.

Overall, my impression is that this dish probably was largely eaten in Portuguese households and not really adopted by the Chinese. I also noticed that only one of the recipes I looked at called for Pig’s feet, even though they are a common ingredient in Portuguese feijoada recipes, and the Chinese are kind of known for eating all the weird bony parts animals. I think this backs up my theory here- even if originally the Portuguese overseeing Macau were making their feijoada with weird pig parts, I’m going to guess that at some point there was a shift to an attitude that feet weren’t fit for consumption by “civilized people”, so the recipes that got handed down to people who eventually put them on the internet tended to not use the “nasty bits”

One can of beans makes this more of a pork stew with beans. If you wan’t more beans feel free add another can. It’s delicious as is though.

Feijoada à moda de Macau

Serves: 4-6
Prep: 30 Minutes
Cook: ~1 hour
Total: ~1:30

1 lb. pork stew meat (shoulder, loin, etc) cut into 1 inch cubes
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper 

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
⅔ cup chicken or vegetable stock
3 tomatoes, diced
2 bay leaves

3 ½ oz. chorizo or Chinese sausage, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
14 oz canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Water, as needed

⅔ small Chinese cabbage, cut in large chunks

1 Tablespoon tomato puree
½ teaspoon white pepper, in place of black

Toss pork with salt and pepper in a large bowl, and allow to marinate 15 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a heavy pot or dutch oven. Brown the pork, working in batches if necessary. Set aside. Add onion to pot and saute for a couple minutes, then return the pork and deglaze the pan with about 3 tablespoons of the stock. 

Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and cook for a few minutes, until the tomatoes soften. Add remaining stock and bring to a boil.Reduce heat, and simmer for about 45 minutes. 

Add chorizo, carrots and beans. Mix well and add additional water if desired. Return to a simmer and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until pork and carrots are tender. 

Add cabbage and continue to simmer for about 8 minutes, until cabbage is just tender. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve with rice. 

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