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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Portuguese Egg Tart (aka pastel de nata)


I was born and raised in Macau, the last colony of Europe.  My home town is a special place that combined both Portuguese and Chinese cultures - and of course I am talking about our food culture too. 

People often ask me what Macauese food is, and how they taste like.  And here are little abstract of Macauese food -

Macanese cuisine is unique to Macau, China and which consists of a blend of southern Chinese and Portuguese cuisines, with significant influences from Southeast Asia and the Lusophone world. Many unique dishes resulted from the spice blends that the wives of Portuguese sailors used in an attempt to replicate European dishes. Its ingredients and seasonings include those from Europe, Latin America, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia, as well as local Chinese ingredients.  Talking about Asian Fusion cuisine, Macauese had created Asian Fusion before everyone else.  It's not just the fresh ingredients or the skillful and experienced chefs make Macauese food so delicious or unique.  It's because you could taste the history from your dishes. 

Got it?!  No...then you NEED to visit Macau to see it, smell it and taste it yourself! 


One of my favorite Macauese desserts is the Portuguese egg tarts (aka pastel de nata).  Pastel de nata is a traditional Portuguese custard pastry that consists of custard in a crème brûlée-like consistency caramelized in a puff pastry case. It was created more than 200 years ago by Catholic Sisters at Jerónimos Monastery at Belém in Lisbon. Casa Pastéis de Belém was the first pastry shop outside of the convent to sell this pastry in 1837.  It is now a popular pastry in every pastry shop around the world owned by Portuguese descendants.

 
The Original Lord's Stow Bakery

Inside Lord Stow's Bakery
 
Margaret's Cafe e Nata

A lot of tourists waiting outside at Margaret's

In Macau, you could see these sweet little things everywhere now, even at KFC!  But the best two stores go to Lord Stow’s Bakery at Coloane island and Margaret’s Cafe e Nata located at G/F, 17A Rua Alm Costa Cabral R/C, Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro.  Lord's Stow's Bakery is the first bakery to make this dessert BIG and famous in Macau.  Rumor said that the owner Andrew of Lord Stow's Bakery had divorced his wife, Margaret.  After their split, Margaret opened up her own bakery and sell the exact same items as Lord Stow's.  I don't really care about their rumor, I just know that pastries from these two bakeries are equally tasty! 


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