Egg tarts…… one of my favourite desserts from Hong Kong and Macau.
Egg tarts…… while this delicacy can be occasionally heard and found in some convenience store and kaiten sushi chains here in Japan, they aren’t authentic egg tarts. The ones here feel like straight up custards without actual eggs, the texture is gooey rather than smooth, the pie/tart feels soggy, they aren’t served warm, and the complains can go on forever.
Egg tarts…… I love and missed them so much that it pained me…… until one day when I walked passed this little shop in Osaka’s famous Dotonbori with a certain familiar scent:
“Lord Stow’s Bakery: Andrew’s Egg tarts”
As described by my girlfriend, my eyes lit up like a little boy on Christmas morning! From the smell of the eggs and the way they brought out trays after trays of hot egg tarts, I knew that it was good stuff before tasting it. For 210yen each, I gave it a try, bought one for her too, and we were very impressed.
So first, let me explain about egg tarts.
Egg tarts originated from the Portuguese pastry, Pastel de nata. The latter was brought into Macau when the city became a Portuguese colony, and Hong Kong later had its own adaptation with a slight difference.
An egg tart consists of a pastry crust and egg custard filling. The Hong Kong style has two versions, the cookie short-crust and the puff pastry crust (or in Japan often referred to as the pie crust). Meanwhile, the Macau version is only available with puff crust. The egg is sweetened and the texture after baking comes out to something in between Japanese pudding and crème brulee. The Macau/Portuguese variation also has the extra step of caramelizing the top of the egg tarts.
As aforementioned, most egg tarts in Japan aren’t authentic. However, Lord Stow’s Bakery is originated in Macau and the Andrew’s Egg Tarts branches have stores in Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines too. They bring the authentic tastes of Macau Egg Tarts to places where they don’t exist.
The egg tarts are decent after cooling, but they are definitely the most delicious served hot right out of the oven. That’s what I had on the street of Dotonbori. The warmth of that little tart had me feeling so delighted. The eggy and soft custard paired perfectly with the crispy and buttery puff crust. Each bite brought the excellently-balanced flavour and texture into my mouth. It was a tart of pure joy! The size of the tart isn’t huge. One can sit on your palm nicely, making it a perfect street snack and an excellent omiyage.
Photo: ryosuga on Flickr
Andrew’s Egg Tarts shops are mostly in the Kansai area and are slowly expanding into Chubuu too. The online store does provide delivery service for frozen egg tarts, which those who don’t live in the Kansai area may consider utilizing it.
At the shops, they also sell different tarts such as Apple Cinnamon Tea Tarts and Chocola Tarts, but considering I would be ordering one or more egg tarts each time until my craving is satisfied, I don’t think I will ever have a chance or need to try the other items.
For 226 yen each including tax, they are two to three times as much as what I would have to pay for in Hong Kong. (210 yen is about $14.9 HKD, and I can get an egg tart in Hong Kong for $4-6 each.) Is the quality egg tart worth $14.9 HKD? Frankly, no. Is the experience of having a genuine egg tart in Japan after missing it for years worth it? Heck YES! Is the experience of tasting an egg tart for the first time worth it? My girlfriend would vouch for it, also heck YES!
I love this dessert so much that I have given up on birthday cakes for birthday egg tarts since I turned 18. Unless you are going to Hong Kong or Macau sometime soon, I recommend everyone to give this a try and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed by it.
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