Apa Bico


Savoury Dumpling

A popular snack at Macanese gatherings in the past. This delicious savoury has yet to be reintroduced to many younger Macanese.

Here are three recipes.

Apa Bico by Cecília Jorge, Projecto Memória Macaense, Gastronomia Macaense created by created by Rogério P.D. da Luz. Click HERE to read the original article (in Portuguese)


500g rice flour
50ml water
2 tbsp lard
salt to taste

Bring the water with the lard and a pinch of salt to the boil and let it boil. Add the flour all at once, mixing very well, until the dough is cooked. Leave to cool and knead until softened.
Divide the dough into balls about the size of a walnut, form a hole in the middle, pressing with your thumb. Fill the balls with the meat filling, closing again, and forming a beak by squeezing it with your thumb and index finger.
Place the apabicos well spaced on a plate with a sieve greased with oil, and cook in a bain-marie. They are served very hot, accompanied by small plates of soy sauce, seasoned with pepper and sesame oil, and chilli sauce or chili misó (lát-tchiu çheong).


250g pork
chung-tchoi (salted vegetable)
1 tbsp ha mâi (dried prawns)
3 stalks spring onions
soy sauce
salt, pepper to taste

Chop the pork well, season with a little salt and pepper. Wash and finely chop the salted vegetable or daikon. Scald them in hot water, let the dried shrimp soften, then rinse in cold water and drain.
In a pan, fry the chives in lard (or oil) and add the pork, letting it cook.
Add the salted vegetable or daikon, turning from time to time so it doesn’t burn, and then the prawns and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Add one or two tablespoons of water. Leave to cook for three to four minutes in a covered pan.

Apa Bico from Maria Augusta dos Remédios via her daughter Therese Alonço

cups of cold water
3 cups of wheat starch flour
1 tbsp lard
1 tsp salt
225g minced pork or minced pork and veal
6 thin slices of salted turnip (cheung choi)
10 pieces of black cloud ear fungus (nicknamed orelha de rato), finely chopped
pepper to taste

Pan fry meat with garlic, add the chopped wood fungus, salted turnip and pepper to taste.

Sift the flour and place in a pot over a slow fire, add water, salt and lard, stirring continuously until mixture is thoroughly cooked and becomes dough.

Remove from fire and knead the dough until soft.
Oil the palm of your hand, then take a small quantity of the dough and flatten it on your palm. Add to this a small teaspoon of the meat mixture and then seal by gathering the edges together into a peak pointing upwards.

Grease a pyrex dish thoroughly. Place the first layer of apa bico in, then brush them with a little oil before placing another layer on top. This will prevent them from sticking to each other when they are cooking.

Steam for approximately 1 hour.

Author unknown

1 pkg dried Chung Choi (preserved turnip)
1 pkg wheat starch
½ lb | 225g ground pork
1 tbls black pepper
A dash of Lea & Perrins sauce*
Salt to taste

  • Worcestershire sauce

Soak Chung Choi overnight and rinse out well as this is very salty. Squeeze out all the water from the Chung Choi.

Make as follows in three batches.

In a Cuisinart, chop Chung Choi very fine and fry in a frying pan without any oil until Chung Choi is dry . Add ground pork and cook until done. Add black pepper and a dash of Worcestershire (Lea & Perrins) sauce.

Taste to see if you need to add a little salt. (Usually it is salty enough.) Let it cool.

In a bowl add 1 cup of wheat starch. Scald the wheat starch with 1 cup of boiling water. Combine mixture with a ½ tbls of oil until smooth.

Take a little of the dough and roll into a ball; then flatten out as much as you can without the dough breaking apart.

Put Chung Choi mixture into the middle and fold up into a point (like a little Hershey chocolate kiss). Steam the apa bicos in a steamer for 20 minutes. Serve with soy and hot sauce.

Makes about 150 pieces

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