What do you associate Stanley Ho, with reportedly USD2 billion in networth, with? The “King of Gambling” in Macau, the richest man in Macau, and/or the man who effectively hires 25% of Macau’s workforce?
Do you know that Stanley Ho also has strong ties with Portugal? Some interesting nuggets of information:
- In 1942, he tied the knot with Clementina Leitão, who was from a prestigious Portuguese family. Leitão, his first wife, bore him 4 children.
- After winning the Macau gambling monopoly in 1961, Casino Lisboa (Lisboa is the Portuguese way of spelling Lisbon) was built in Macau and became Ho’s flagship property.
- In 2007, Casino Grand Lisboa was opened in Macau as a competitive response to new resorts such as Sands and Wynn.
- In 2008, Ho received the Medal for Business Entrepreneurship in Portugal and the street adjacent to Casino Estoril was renamed Avenida Dr Stanley Ho. It was the first street in Portugal to be named after a living Chinese citizen.
- The Ho family is the major shareholder of Estoril-Sol, which currently owns 3 casinos in Portugal.
Likewise, Stanley Ho has made his presence felt in Portugal. My quest to find good dim sum in Portugal pointed to – Estoril Mandarim in Casino Estoril, which is located along Avenida Dr Stanley Ho! Estoril is one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in Portugal and is about a 20-min drive from Lisbon. During WWII, in view of Portugal’s neutrality, many European royal families went into exile in Estoril. Today, some of their descendants still live there.
A glimpse of the menu, with pages dedicated to shark’s fins and bird’s nest priced at around EUR70 per serving, is indicative of its luxury branding. Not that I have a high-end palate for Chinese cuisines (in fact, I abstain from shark’s fins and don’t fancy abalone), but I really miss Imperial Treasure’s standard of basic Chinese food, which I declare is non-existent in Lisbon. That’s why we ventured out to Estoril! (Imperial Treasure is a Chinese restaurant chain in Singapore.)
For our maiden visit, Querido and I only ordered dim sum. Afterall, it was Sunday brunch. Verdict – We are definitely returning to try non-dim sum dishes! The dim sum dishes are of Hua Ting’s standard Prawns are succulent and ingredients are fresh! (Hua Ting is my favourite Chinese restaurant in Orchard Hotel, Singapore.)
The only non-Chinese part of our meal was when Querido ended off with his Portuguese coffee. By the way, most Portuguese love their strong caffeine fixes in small espresso cups at all times of the day. I’m not kidding. The coffee culture here is very strong and many must find me weird for not engaging in their national pastime.
Not only is the food at Estoril Mandarim yummy, the view is great too! The restaurant looks out to a huge garden with Tamariz Beach at the far end. Perpendicular to Casino Estoril is Hotel Palácio, which served as the set for the James Bond movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” in 1969. By the way, the InterNations Cascais November Event will be held at Hotel Palácio.
To my golf enthusiast friends (you know who you are!) – the hotel’s golf course is supposedly great too. Another reason to visit Portugal? I volunteer to babysit while you’re out at the greens!
And today’s Weiyi’s birthday too! Happy birthday, my dearest friend! Can’t wait when you visit next month. Meanwhile, let me shortlist some nice restaurants for our girly chats