i need to finish my hong kong travelogue bah.. so my travels took me to macau next. and to be honest, i didn’t enjoy macau’s food much because i was sick for most parts of the macau leg, essentially with the foodie’s nightmare – a nose block and no sense of smell. for people who don’t know yet (count yourself fortunate), our perception of flavor and taste comes from both our sense of smell and taste. you need both to really taste your food. lose your sense of smell, and well.. you seemingly lose that prelude, the mental preparation/imagery of the food you are about to taste (since i assume the smell hits you first) and somehow that really impacts how you perceive your food.
in other words, i was a pretty sad camper in macau.
but thankfully, my second day in macau was slightly better, to which i instantly headed out to search for legendary portuguese egg tarts.
thanks to this website, i narrowed down my choices to the two supposed portuguese egg tarts – Lord Stow’s Bakery and Magaret’s Cafe e Nata. By virtue of location (Lord Stow is on Coloane Island whereas Magaret’s Cafe is right in Macau Island itself), i chose to track down Magaret’s Cafe e Nata. It’s by no means an easy place to find, being tucked away in a small quadrangle that is fenced away by high rise buildings around, but for general bearings, its near the super-ostentatious Grand Lisboa Casino/Hotel.
[a small aside regarding Grand Lisboa Casino, i was really amused by just how ostentatious and gaudy the building and decorations were. everything was decked out in gleaming shiny gold and red carpeting, with copious, overflowing accents of fake, gaudy diamonds lining mirrors, lift doors and the likes. its like a bejewelled factory. and its a little insight perhaps into the predominant psyche of the noveau riche in China nowadays, the prevalent mentality being that of "I'm rich and I want everyone to know I'm rich. I'll rub it in their faces so hard that they have no doubt they're dealing with a person of much money".
my friend gigi also mentioned how the feng shui of Grand Lisboa Casino was masterfully done, such that the building architecture resembled that of a golden arrow pointing downwards into the ground, metaphorically inviting money to be dumped into the casino and also to crush all money dreams of the patrons who enter. (coincidentally, the adjacent Casino Lisboa can be said to be shaped like a bird-cage to trap patrons and their money within.) wowzers.]
ok back to egg-tarts.. FOCUS.
so portuguese egg tarts differ from the common egg tarts mainly due to the filling within the pastry – whilst normal egg tarts have this egg-yolk+milk concoction, portuguese egg tarts have the additional burnt sugar layer, almost as though some one added the additional creme brulee touch to traditional egg tarts. of course, with that, the portuguese egg tarts taste sweeter and crispier that the normal counterparts.
The Magarita’s Cafe e Nata egg tart is really something, as evidenced by the long queues stretching out of the shop into the alleyway. the pastry surrounding it is light, crispy and layered whilst the filling has this semi-burnt, sweet, creme brulee flavor that’s really quite irresistible. whilst other places like ko kei also sell egg tarts, magarita’s egg tarts trump over them based on the crispness of the pastry and the creamy goodness of the filling. go try it.
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MACAU PORTUGUESE EGG TARTS
Lord Stow’s Bakery | 1 Rua do Tassara, Coloane Island, Macau
Magarita Cafe E Nata | Gum Loi Building, Rua Almirante Costa Cabral, Macau Island, Macau
*p.s.: i realised the website suggested you to satisfy your portuguese egg tarts with kfc egg tarts, which made me nearly balk. DO NOT EAT KFC egg tarts – this congealed, oily mess of a confectionery is of no comparison to an actual portuguese egg tart. i had the misfortune of eating one and felt quite ill looking at the amount of oil dripping out.