Daily Digest • Feb 09, 2017
The Hong Kong style egg tart is a staple in dim sum restaurants, cha chaan tengs, and local Cantonese bakeries. Its history stems back to the early 1920s in Guangzhou and is said to be a hybrid between the British custard tart, western fruit tart, and Cantonese-style steamed egg pudding. The egg custard is a mixture of egg, milk, and sugar while the tart crust is traditionally made with lard because butter was too expensive. Check out our favorite variations of the egg tart below.
Egg Tart 蛋撻
The traditional egg tart is normally enjoyed fresh from the oven while it’s piping hot or during a serious dim sum session. This egg tart in particular features a cookie crust. While more old school style bakeries continue to use lard, Hong Kong’s famous Tai Cheong Bakery (approved by British Governor Chris Patten) has made this buttery cookie crust a tourist attraction.
Flaky Crust Egg Tart 酥皮蛋撻
Similar to the cookie crust, the flaky crust egg tart uses a dough that features many layers. The texture is comparable to croissant dough as it’s a bit heavier than filo dough. It’s considered to be one of the three jewels of Hong Kong cafe culture (the other two being the pineapple bun with butter and milk tea). The flaky tarts from Kam Fung Cafe still use lard and have customers lining up in the morning every day.
Egg White Tart 蛋白撻
Other flavored egg tarts have developed over the years with everything from matcha egg tarts to bird’s nest egg tarts. Egg white tarts are geared towards the health conscious since they don’t use yolks in the custard. Different bakery chains have their own take to give a little variety to the traditional tart. This particular one from Arome Bakery is an egg white custard mixed with Hokkaido milk.
Portuguese Egg Tart 葡撻
The Portuguese egg tart from Hong Kong is an export of the Macanese. Based on the pastel de Belem of Lisbon (a tart with a paler filling which used corn flour) and English custard tart, the Macanese style Portuguese Egg Tart features a flaky, filo type crust. While their recipe is slightly different than the Pastel de Nata from Portuga, they still also have an egg custard center that is slightly burnt and crispy from the brûléed top. Macau’s famous Lord Stowe’s has been churning out tarts since 1989 with an outlet in Causeway Bay.