Award-winning Chef Tam’s Seasons at Wynn Palace in Macau reimagines classic Cantonese cookery with seasonal ingredients based on the traditional Chinese 24-term lunisolar calendar.

Seasonal tasting menus today are pretty much de rigueur at fine dining restaurants, with many embracing the concept of regularly updating their offerings to reflect the freshest and best produce that each of the four seasons the year has to offer.

Then there’s Chef Tam’s Seasons at Wynn Palace in Macau, which follows the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. Which, in case you aren’t aware, consists of 24 solar terms. That’s right, 24. Executive Chef Tam Kwok Fung effectively changes up his menu every two weeks.

For those less familiar, the Chinese lunisolar calendar – also employed in other East Asian cultures such as Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan – was traditionally used to guide agricultural activities. 立春, for example, marks the start of spring, followed by 雨水, 惊蛰, and 春分. 清明, which we know as tomb-sweeping day, is the 5th solar term in spring, which ends off with 谷雨.

Other key solar terms we’re probably more familiar with include 夏至 (summer solstice), 秋分 (autumn equinox), and 冬至 (winter solstice).

Executive Chef Tam Kwok Fung of Chef Tam's Seasons

Chef Tam’s Seasons offers a transformative take on fine dining Cantonese cuisine reimagined around those individual solar terms, with each term’s specific seasonal ingredients. Which must be stressful on Chef Tam and his kitchen team, and indeed, the front of house tasked to explain each dish to exacting diners.

Chef Tam breaks into his signature winsome smile and laughs, saying it’s not as difficult as it sounds. He tells me that there are specific tried-and-true applications and fundamental approaches to those ingredients in Chinese cooking that trained Chinese chefs tend to employ; he simply tweaks them accordingly as the season changes.

Easy for him to say. The highly lauded chef positively drips with experience, garnering two Michelin stars during his stint at Jade Dragon in Macau, along with a No.35 ranking on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants back in 2018. And Wynn Macau was so impressed with him that they moved him from Wing Lei to helm his own namesake restaurant over at sister property Wynn Palace. And a truly opulent one at that, befitting of a signature restaurant of one of the most prominent and newer casino resort hotels on Macau’s Cotai strip.

鍋燒鮑魚豬仔 - Braised abalone with suckling pork knuckle

While Chef Tam’s Seasons provides an à la carte menu, the best way to savour the season is through its tasting menus offered during lunch and dinner. When I was there the restaurant was transitioning from 清明 into 谷雨; on showcase were a number of in-season melons such as white bitter gourd and angled luffa, daylilies, and polygonatum root.

The polygonatum root, commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine, went into a luxurious double-boiled fish along with jujube, while the daylilies turned up simmered with other seasonal vegetables in a delectable broth. The bitter gourd was stir-fried with iberico pork jowl and peppercorns, its bitterness a lovely counterpoint to the juicy, fatty pork.

Despite Chef Tam’s culinary playfulness, there’s also serious respect for heritage and tradition. It is 芒种 at the time of this writing, and available on the menu is braised sea cucumber and abalone, a traditional Cantonese dish commonly served at banquets in the 1980s.

Oh. If your menu doesn’t feature it, make sure you order Chef Tam’s signature classic of steamed grouper fillet, if it’s available. The creamy fish, gently poached in chicken ju on a (locally sourced) fig leaf, exudes timeless Cantonese culinary artistry reworked for the modern era.

無花果葉姜蓉雞汁蒸海斑 - The Steamed sea grouper with ginger and chicken jus in fig leaf is a classic at Chef Tam's Seasons.

Chef Tam’s Seasons also offers an excellent wine programme. Sommeliers are on hand to offer advice on pairings; when I visited the restaurant was featuring a number of award-winning wines from the recent Wynn Signature Chinese Wine Awards, including the spectacular Shangri-La Winery Sacred Legends Chardonnay 2022. If you fancy baijiu, there’s a shiny trolley full of them that you might just see wheeled to a table of mainland Chinese punters celebrating their stroke of luck at the poker table.

Unlike most other fine-dining Chinese restaurants whose menus tend to be cast in concrete, the variability of offerings at Chef Tam’s Seasons means that no visit there is ever the same. A bane for some, a boon for others. One Michelin star and a No.49 placing on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants earlier this year, barely six months into its opening, tells you exactly what critics think.

[Photo credits: Wynn Macau]

This tasting at Chef Tam’s Seasons was part of a hosted trip by Wynn Macau.

Chef Tam’s Seasons

Address Wynn Palace, Av. da Nave Desportiva, Macao (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 12pm to 3pm and 5.30pm to 10.30pm daily
Tel (853) 8889 3663
Instagram @cheftamsseasons
Reservations book here

Follow us on Telegram to get updated on events and other spirited announcements!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.