Hong Kong Egg Tarts…Heavenly Taste in the Palm of Your Hand
Such a modest. little thing, the egg tart. It looks so simple. Yet, it is complex both in taste and texture, and the skills needed to do it well are far greater than that of many other baked goods. But fortunately for us, the many lucky consumers of these little pies of happiness, it is easy to eat them. Step one is (as with most things) finding out where the best egg tarts in Hong Kong can be found. Since you are reading this, I’ve got you covered. And for more ideas of what to do around town see this great list of low cost and fun things to do in HK.
Pursuit of Egg Tart Perfection
The first (and maybe most important) thing to know about egg tart enjoyment is that one should always eat egg tarts when they are still warm and fresh (right out of the oven is best) and given the popularity of these little treasures, at many of these bakeries you can often find piping hot egg tarts any time of the day.
So, what makes a good egg tart? Obviously, balance is an essential component in cooking of all kinds, and egg tarts are no exception. Like any pie, both the filling and crust shell are critical. The filling of a good egg tart will look smooth and shiny and will be creamy and moist on the tongue. The tart crust generally come in two varieties: cookie base and pastry base. The cookie variety, at its best, will be crumbly but not dry. A good pastry variety will be flaky and crispy. Both will complement the filling, combining a sweet, eggy and buttery flavor.
There are many places to find good egg tarts in Hong Kong and you should feel free to explore since this wonderful, warm, deliciousness can usually be had for HK$10 or less. But the following are some of my favorites.
Great Hong Kong Egg Tarts
I know there will be a lot of debate about which Hong Kong bakery truly makes the best egg tart. There are many excellent choices throughout Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. But we have to start somewhere and the following are all great options. Okay, here we go.
Tai Cheong Bakery – 35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central (and other locations)
The biggest and the best (many would say)… This is the standard by which many judge other egg tarts. Some highlight their cookie-style crust but their egg filling is consistently delicious. It’s hard to avoid the tourists at the Lyndhurst Terrace location, but the upside of the constant turnover is that the egg tarts are usually just out of the oven, from morning to night! If you happen by one of the many other locations (I’m here at the 106 Wan Chai Rd shop) the recipe is the same and sometimes the lines are too!
Happy Cake Shop – G/F, No. 106 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai
This is my pineapple bun go-to but they are also a locals-only secret source for amazing egg tarts. Happy Cake Shop is a Hong Kong-style bakery that’s been around for over three decades. Before knowing better, we called it the ‘old man bakery’ because the original owner still bakes there (and often serves behind the counter). In the 1970s, owner Wong Siu-ping came to Hong Kong from Shenzhen as an illegal immigrant seeking a better life. He found work with a local baker, eventually mastered his skills and saved up to buy a business of his own.
In 1979 he took over the bakery at his current location and Happy Cake Shop was born. The layout, ovens and storefront have changed very little from those days and everything is still baked on site. However, Wong hasn’t passed his skills on to his children and he is nearing retirement age. So, you better hurry over and have a taste of authentic Hong Kong.
Bonus: take away some of their butterfly puff pastry ‘palmier‘ as well.
Kam Fung Cafe – G/F, No.41 Spring Garden Lane, Wanchai (also in Causeway Bay)
This place is legendary among Hong Kongers; some would say superior to Tai Cheong. Serious egg tart fanatics will buy them by the box and the lines outside Kam Fung show their commitment to this local favorite that’s also known for their pineapple bun. This traditional HK cafe has a full menu but focus on the breakfast items (if any), or just enjoy your egg tarts with a classic Hong Kong milk tea. Should you have any doubt that Kam Fung is ‘on the map’ when it comes to egg tarts, you can even see the little sweeties (and the queue) in Google Street Views! [https://goo.gl/maps/EjenG94qnTQ2 ]
Macau Restaurant – 27 Lock Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
The Macau Restaurant, in TST, offers (you guessed it) Macau-style Portuguese egg tarts. This is an egg white custard that is lighter than the typical Hong Kong egg tart. The light, silky texture, balances well with the tasty shortcrust. This is one way to get a taste of Macau, if you cannot get there in person. If you can get over to Macau, however…
Egg Tarts in Macau
An obvious distinguishing feature of the Macau style egg tart is its slightly burnt top. They are often somewhat misshapen when compared to their Hong Kong cousins. However, they look just as attractive to your tongue!
Koi Kei – Rua do Cunha, No.11-13, R/C, Taipa, Macau (and other locations)
Koi Kei is a chain of bakeries in Macau that are best known for their almond cookies (highly
recommended), . Koi Kei’s version of the Macau egg tart has a firm filling and consistent, well-balanced and flaky shell. If you hope to bring some home, your best bet is Koi Kei.
Lord Stow’s Bakery – 1 Rua do Tassara, Coloane, Macau (Original Shop)
Lord Stow’s is a Macau legend but many don’t realize that these Portuguese egg tarts were originally created by an Englishman. These delicious tarts almost have the appearance of crème brulee, with creamier than most filling in a puffy crust. Some say this is the best egg tart they have ever eaten, anywhere. Learn more about the origins of Lord Stow’s Bakery, and taste them for yourself at the original location in the historic Coloane Village.