Marmitas.Come (best known as Marmitas) is a very popular Macau-based takeaway shop. But what makes it different from all the other restaurants in Macau that also deliver and pack food for pick-up? Marmitas.Come is the only takeaway shop specializing in Portuguese cuisine! Made with high-quality, fresh ingredients, the food here is crafted with experience and admiration for Portuguese gastronomy.
Born of a partnership between a Shanghainese and a Portuguese living in Macau–Seven (Shi Jianghui, 施江辉) and Tiago Ribeiro–Marmitas boasts authenticity and quality. We sat down with one of the shop’s owners, Tiago Ribeiro, and heard some interesting stories! Get to know their signature dishes, future plans, and more on Marmitas.
How did the idea for Marmitas.Come start and when did you first open?
Seven worked at Hotel Royal’s Shanghainese restaurant for several years and then became a chef at the Portuguese restaurant, Mariazinha, so he has a lot of experience. Seven had already expressed his will to open his own shop. A few years ago we found a good deal and we decided to invest in it. Our shop is in São Lourenço area. There was a vacant space and we decided to grab it.
How did you and Seven meet and start a business together?
We’ve been good friends for some years now, as I used to eat at Shanghainese (a restaurant in Hotel Royal) a lot–I’m a big fan of Asian food.
Do you have experience in F&B?
Not really. A big part of my mother’s family works in the F&B area in Portugal, but it wasn’t something I thought of doing in Macau. I’m an architect, which is what I came to Macau to do–and still am. I’m involved in both things: architecture and Marmitas.Come.
Marmitas is a very traditional Portuguese expression. Could you tell our readers what it means and why you chose to name your business like that?
Our business focuses on Portuguese food for takeaway, so we thought it’d be a good idea to have a cool name for it. Actually, Seven was the one who chose the name, as he’s learning Portuguese. “Marmitas” is an expression used to describe food that you go to eat somewhere else, so basically takeaway. It’s usually comfort food.
Seven isn’t your business partner’s original name. Is there a story behind that?
Actually, yes. In Macau, it’s very common for locals to choose a Western name instead of their Chinese one and Seven’s story is related to that. He’s originally from a town close to Shanghai and when he moved here, he was asked to choose a number in English. As he looks outside, he sees 7/11 (a very popular chain of convenience stores in Macau) and says “Seven”. He’s a great part of Marmitas’ soul.
Takeaway is a very popular and common practice in Macau, almost every restaurant provides it. What do you believe distinguishes Marmitas from these?
Well, if we look at the restaurant with Portuguese influence in Macau, they are restaurants in the sense of having seating areas and being dine-in. We opted to focus just on takeaway, as it’s incredibly popular here. Most people ask “tapao” on a daily basis and that’s what prompted us to start like this. I also believe we’re the only takeaway in Macau focusing on Portuguese food.
Who’s the food master?
Seven. Although he’s Chinese, Seven is able to learn and understand different cuisines, including Portuguese. I’d even say he can compete in the same of Portuguese chefs in Macau in terms of the cooking itself. One of the reasons that prompted me to be part of Marmitas is my belief that Seven is a very gifted talent and has the innate characteristics of a great chef.
Everything we serve in Marmitas is made with the freshest ingredients, something Seven values a lot. He’s very connected to the earth, to everything that comes from the earth. I grew up with a more urban vibe while connecting with the land as well, but Seven spent a lot of time close to nature and he’s very connected to it. His town is a very rural area, which prompted that experience. and when he goes back home, he usually brings things from his farm, such as strawberries and other natural ingredients and products.
Is Marmitas focused on Portuguese food or do you also make Macanese and Chinese dishes?
We’d say mainly Portuguese.
Which do you believe are the biggest advantages of having a business like Marmitas in Macau?
It’s relatively easier to manage than a restaurant or a coffee shop. We have a target audience and I’d love to see it grow, see more local people try our food. São Lourenço is a predominantly local neighborhood, with a diverse community. There are a lot of Macanese as well, and we have a lot of them coming to Marmitas for takeaway. I was very happy when I saw that.
What are the challenges?
I’d say the means to get a license to have seats in the shop.
You said you have a target audience. What would you say it is?
Mainly the Portuguese community who live here, but also a lot of locals from around who enjoy authentic Portuguese food.
What are some of Marmitas’ most popular dishes?
Interestingly enough, the dishes I thought wouldn’t be so popular, are in fact some of the most sought after. It’s the case of alheira–traditional Portuguese sausage made with poultry. Maybe because it’s the ones they miss most? It might be a kind of a comfort food.
What about signature dishes?
Wellington beef, codfish with crusted bread (bacalhau com broa), and maybe the duck rice. Although I’m not directly involved with food preparation, I do a lot of field research, check out the differences, where we can get better. I believe our Wellington beef can easily compete with others in Macau. It’s not traditionally Portuguese, but it’s something Seven wanted to bring to Marmitas and has had a huge success.
How can people order from Marmitas.Come? Do you also deliver?
Usually by calling us, although we also accept requests through our Facebook page. We also deliver to Macau and Taipa.
What are the future plans for Marmitas?
We’re trying to get the license to turn Marmitas into a dine-in place as well.
Being part of a food-related establishment, I suppose you enjoy the gastronomic world. What are some of your favorite restaurants and foods in Macau?
I’m a huge fan of Asian food and Macau has a wide selection of different cuisines, which I really love about Macau. Friday or Sunday nights I enjoy going to Fai Chi Kei’s Chi Sasa–a Japanese restaurant–an area in which I lived for some time. I also like Lo Kei–Cantonese food–in Fai Chi Kei as well.
When you’re not working, what are some of your favorite things to do and places to go in Macau?
I like going to a really peaceful coffee shop in Cheoc Van beach, managed by a couple from Shanghai. I like going there, chilling, draw and reading. I also like the lawned areas at the University of Macau. Seven is a very outdoorsy person.
Marmitas.Come 30 Rua de Inácio Baptista, Macau, +853 6680 7958, www.facebook.com/marmitastapao