‘A Vencedora’ reopens, new operator hopes to give guests ‘flavours of the past’

2024-07-02 03:39
BY admin

Interview by Yuki Lei

        The owners of “A Vencedora” restaurant, located on Rua do Campo, announced last November that they would “indefinitely close down” their business due to their age and the fact that the younger generation did not want to take over the century-old family business, but recently “opening soon” notices, in Chinese and English, appeared on the eatery’s entrance.

Simon Chan, the new operator, told the Post yesterday that the restaurant had reopened for business earlier in the day. He underlined that he is leasing the eatery from its owners.

Being one of the city’s oldest restaurants, the eatery – “Kuan Kei (坤記)” in Cantonese –was founded in 1918 and was owned by a local Chinese family surnamed Lam serving mainly Portuguese and Macanese dishes such as “minchi” (a dish based on minced or ground meat) and “bacalhau” (cod dishes) shut down late last year following the announcement of the owners’ retirement. Its Portuguese name “A Vencedora” (meaning “The Winner”) was the name of the Portuguese vessel where the founder Lam Kuan had worked and acquired his cooking skills.

The Post went to the restaurant yesterday afternoon and talked to Chan, who identified himself as a friend of the owners. Chan said: “Because of the small size of Macau, it seems that these traditional Macanese dishes are no longer available, so we all hope to preserve the characteristics of Macau’s culinary industry,” pointing out that the old features of the restaurant, including its staff, interior decoration, menus, and even prices will remain the same: “I always ask my colleagues to keep at least the same standard as before and even do better than before, whether it’s in terms of food or service…… I will not deliberately adjust the prices too, [on the other hand] I want to make the food better to bring back the old customers, while attracting new ones.”

Chan also said that yesterday, on the first day of its reopening, the restaurant had already gathered a group of regular customers: “About four to five tables have been reserved by our former guests…… Many guests told me that when they step into this kind of old restaurant, they feel like they are back home, where they can get together with old friends again.”

Because of all the nostalgia and memory, scores of customers queued up days before the restaurant shut down on November 10 last year to bid a fond farewell. Chan told the Post that he chose to take over the restaurant because he wants to continue its long history, due to his personal affection for it. “It is a very special story, the old bosses and I came to know each other through food, and I got to know the bosses – two brothers – well after I started to eat here when I was in secondary school”.

After over a century of serving Macau-style Portuguese food, Chan said he hoped that the restaurant will continue to offer its guests the flavours of the past.

Chan declined to pose for a photo during the interview yesterday afternoon. 

These photos were taken after yesterday’s interview with the new operator of “A Vencedora”, Simon Chan, who declined to pose for a photo. – Photos: Yuki Lei


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