Monday, December 15, 2014

Where to find the Best Portuguese Egg Tarts in Macau

I love Portuguese Egg Tarts. To start with, I really like Egg Tarts in whatever form, the Filipino Egg Pie and the Chinese Egg Tart included. But for me, nothing is better than the Portuguese version with the Egg Pudding cradled in layers of buttery crust, so when I went to Macau, the hunt was on for the best Portuguese Egg Tarts.

On past trips to Macau, 8 years ago, while there was the internet, it wasn't as widely used for research on food and travel. In fact, blogs weren't that popular yet so I was happy enough getting my Portuguese Egg Tart fix from the most accessible sources. 

Lord Stow's, Koi Kei and Margaret's.
Which one do you think is the best one?

1. Pasteleria Koi Kei
Given Pasteleria Koi Kei's numerous branches, this used to be our Go To
Place for egg tarts!
I even remember buying a lot, to eat in the hotel, to bring back to Hong Kong,
or to bring back home to Manila.
You can buy just one, fresh from the warmer, to eat while walking to the
Ruins of St. Paul.
However, because we tried it after we had something else that was really good.
It paled in comparison and did not live up to my wonderful memories of it.
Pasteleria Koi Kei Rating:  
Egg Custard: 1 out of 2 because it was nothing extra-ordinary 
Crust: 0 out of 2 because it was too thick, not crispy, and detracted from the over-all enjoyment of the egg tart.
Accessibility: 1 out of 1 because they have a branch on every corner
Total: 2 out of 5

2. Lord Stow's Bakery & Cafe
I am familiar with Lord Stow's because they have branches in Manila. Started by Andrew, an Englishman who moved to Macau for work and eventually started Lord Stow's Bakery when his Portuguese Egg Tart recipe became the icon for Macau.
Ironically, I never tried Lord Stow's in Macau before because their branches are located in Coloane, which I have never visited. It was only only during our last trip that we got to try it because they now have a branch at The Venetian.

The Venetian, just like Venice has small alleys like a maze, so it's not easy
to fins Lord Stow's.
But their location is nice because it's right in front the Grand Canal.
Near one of the many bridges. They have maps to help you find your way.
The place offers Coffee and Tea which go really well with the egg tarts.
I wasn't really impressed with their display.
It looked kind of sad to me.
This is Andrew.
He even has tips on how to enjoy the egg tarts.
The Venetian branch has a window where you can look into the kitchen.
Now that looks more like it.
They also sell sandwiches and salads.
Ady and I were lucky to get a table with a view.
Our order.
Cafe Latte for Ady.
And the Cafe Nero for me, which is the first time I tasted an espresso with
lemon. It was quite good. I should make that at home some time.
My first bite blew me away. It was soooo good. The egg tart was nice and
warm, but the crust was buttery, crisp and very light!
Weirdly, they also have a take away counter a few steps away,
beside the Grand Canal.
This shop had more store.
Lord Stow's has been in the business for the last 25 years!
They even have the post card and bear to prove it.
Lord Stow's Rating:  
Egg Custard: 1.5 out of 2 because it was good, but I've had better
Crust: 2 out of 2 because it was what made this the best egg tart I've ever tried (at the time I tasted it, and we had this first)
Accessibility: .5 out of 1 because they now have a branch at The Venetian, but it's still not accessible if you spend your stay on the main island.
Total: 4 out of 5

2. Maragaret's Cafe e Nata
Margaret's is named as the place to get the best egg tarts in Macau, which is explained by the fact that Margaret was rumored to be the ex-wife of Andrew, Lord Stow himself. You can read about Lord Stow's history here, it mentions his wife Margaret Wong - but not that they became main competitors in Macau's Portuguese Egg Tart market.

Margaret's is located in one of the small streets a block away from
Sintra Hotel and the Grand Lisboa.
However, they only have 1 branch and they don't open on Wednesdays.
You sort of get the feeling that they just focus on making good egg tarts, and not really much on customer service as the people will come for the egg tarts anyway.
The Cafe was busy, but you didn't really need to line up long.

However, photography is STRICTLY prohibited inside the store, and the lady was so scary, I didn't dare attempt to take stolen shots.  Ordering is like participating in a factory line. You order from the scary lady cashier, then you pay and you're given a receipt. Then you go to the lady serving egg tarts fresh from the baking trays, show her your receipt and get your food. If you also ordered a drink, don't forget to get your receipt back so that you can show it to another lady preparing drinks, then she throws away your receipt so you can't claim anything any more.

If I remember correctly, 1 egg tart is 8MOP (1 MOP cheaper than all the others), but you can buy 6 egg tarts for 45MOP, and this is the only place I remember that gives a discount if you buy a box of 6.
Ady and I had breakfast here on Thursday because they were closed the
day before.
Literally translated, Cafe e Nata means coffee and
cream. An apt name for their main offerings.
It looked normal enough.
But the taste... oh so good as well!!! Again, it's the crust that makes it taste
heavenly! Totally believable that Margaret of Margaret's is Andrew's
ex-wife Margaret Wong, if only for the similarity in the crust!
The main difference of the egg custard is this one is much fluffier.
It was so good, we bought a box of 6 to bring to my
aunt's family in Hong Kong, and it still tasted so good
(without reheating) for breakfast the next day.
We weren't really full with breakfast, and one of their staff said their
Baked Cheesecake was good, so we tried it, but it's nothing to write home about.

Some of my stolen shots from afar so scary lady won't see me:
They also have a salad station and sandwich bar.
They also sell an assortment of bread.
For me, this place is the best!
Margaret's Rating:  
Egg Custard: 2 out of 2 because it was the best I've tried in taste and in consistency. It kept well too and tasted just as good the day after.
Crust: 2 out of 2 because it was what made this the best egg tart I've ever tried - just like Lord Stow's (at the time I tasted it, I tried all the rest)
Accessibility: .5 out of 1 because they only have 1 branch, and are closed on Wednesday, so if you come to Macau for a day trip on the wrong day, you're totally missing out.
Total: 4.5 out of 5

To summarize, this is what I think:

Lord Stow's and Margaret's are almost equally good, so since they are on different islands, I'd say go for the one that is closest to you. However, Koi Kei is a total waste of calories, now that I know what's out there, so I think it's just for people who don't know any better. just saying.

Pasteleria Koi Kei
visit link for branches in Macau

Lord Stow's Bakery and Cafe
The Venetian Macao
Estrada da Baia de Nossa Senhora da Esperanca

Margaret's Cafe e Nata
17a Rua Alm Costa Cabral
Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro

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