Why Are Macao’s Portuguese Egg Tarts The Best In The World?

They're pretty darn egg-cellent!

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When you think of Macao, these 2 things instantly come to mind: casinos and egg tarts

Image via BBC, Wikipedia

Macao, also spelled Macau, is a small peninsula in mainland China, across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong. Casino and egg tarts are only two of the many attractions available in Macao.

What else does the island have to offer? Discover for yourself in these roadshows across Malaysia:
- IOI City Putrajaya (23 - 24 April)
- Ipoh (7 & 8 May)
- Gurney Plaza, Penang (14 & 15 May)

But we all know the real star here is Macao's Portuguese egg tarts, which are in a whole different class of their own

Egg tarts, in general, are pretty darn amazing, but none can be compared to these little heavenly pastry delights found in Macao. With buttery, flaky crust and smooth, creamy egg custard, and a caramelised top - it's definitely a killer combo and the perfect snack to indulge in!

Image via 9 to 5 Travel

Who ‘made’ these tarts in the first place? Andrew Stow, an ex-pharmacist turned baker, conceived this magical culinary creation over 2 decades ago.

The late Andrew Stow is the inventor of the distinctive recipe of Macao's famous Portuguese egg tarts, otherwise also known as Andrew's Egg Tart. Known for his unbridled energy, boisterous humour and personality, Stow didn't originally move to Macao to be a baker.

He was an industrial pharmacist, then a corporate trainee. It wasn’t until late 1988 that he opened up a bakery with his wife, Margaret Wong. Thus, was born Lord Stow’s Bakery in Coloane Village, Macao. The arrival of his daughter later in 1990 was what sparked the interest in Stow to create his own egg tart recipe.

Andrew Stow passed away in late 2006 from a sudden asthma attack.

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What sets the famous Macao egg tarts apart from the rest is the special recipe created by Stow. They're made using a hybrid of the English and Portuguese egg custard tarts.

It was the traditional Portuguese egg tart recipe, Pasteis de Belem, which sparked Stow’s interest. He wasn’t a big fan of the tart filling however, and gave his own twist to the traditional recipe.

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The result was a Portuguese-English hybrid – with a custard that’s more like the English version, and a light, flaky shell and caramelised top that stays true to the Portuguese pastel de nata – thought by historians to be invented by the 18th-century monks of the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon’s Belém parish.

English egg custard tart.

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Pasteis de Belem.

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Dubbed as Andrew’s Egg Tart, the unique spin on the plain ol' egg tarts were such a hit. Soon, they became an icon of Macao.

And by all accounts, Stow has found success. Despite initial hurdles – “the Portuguese turned their noses up because they weren’t authentic enough and the Chinese thought the [caramelised] black spots on top would make them sick,” Stow's sister Eileen explained – today the company sells 13,500 to 14,000 tarts a day.

The original location – a peeling beige façade surrounded by two-storey, European-style buildings splashed in lively shades of turquoise, sunny yellows and pastel pinks – continues to draw queues of locals and travellers alike.

Andrew Stow's sister, Eileen.

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It's a must to try the egg tarts when one is in Macao, especially the ones from none other than Lord Stow's Bakery, which sells nearly 14,000 tarts daily

The original Lord Stow's Bakery sits in Coloane, Macao, complete with its old school charm.

Address: 1 Rua do Tassara, Coloane, Macao

Lord Stow’s Bakery outlets are also found in several other locations across Macao. See the full list of outlets here.

The original outlet in Coloane, Macao.

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However, it's also been said that Margaret's Café e Nata is a close contender for some pretty good egg tarts

Margaret’s Café is the main rival to Lord Stow’s Bakery, and is also a top choice amongst locals and travellers alike. This popular café located near the Lisboa Casino can be tricky to find, as it’s tucked away in a hidden alley. If anything, ask a local and they’ll be able to help you out!

Gum Loi Building, Rua Alm Costa Cabral R/C
Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, Macau

Suddenly, your usual order of egg tarts from a local dim sum joint just doesn’t cut it anymore, right? We know the feels...

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Although crossing 'trying Macao egg tarts' off your bucket list might sound ridiculous but with pastry this good, it's worth all the effort!

You're just a short few hours flight away from tasting what pastry dreams are made of! Still need more convincing? Head over to these Macao roadshows across Malaysia for that final push! ;)

- IOI City Putrajaya (23 - 24 April)
- Ipoh (7 & 8 May)
- Gurney Plaza, Penang (14 & 15 May)

P.S. If you were wondering why all the road names are so European, it’s because Macao isn’t just home to the best egg tarts

Macau is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) -- as is Hong Kong -- and is governed under the "one country, two systems" principal, which was the brainchild of late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping.

Although no longer a colony, Portuguese is still an official language and the Portuguese influence can be seen everywhere from blue tiled street signs to tiled floors and beautiful gardens.
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While those egg tarts are works of art, can we interest you in some art of a different form?