This obsession I seem to have found for egg custard tarts has to stop. I can see my waistline increasing with every bite. But the taste of a good sweet shortcut pastry crumbling in my mouth and the taste of the custard melting is too much to resist.
I have searched high and low for the perfect tart. At last I have found it, but to get me there I have had to eat some real bad ones. The main problem is the pastry, a lot of shops do not cook the pastry properly and some of it is raw. (I had the same problem at Leiths many a time).
There are two main types of base for custard tarts. Short crust pastry and puff pastry. Both made with lard if not mass produced.
Unfortunately we never got to have any of the puff pastry variety. Now this was not through want of trying, believe me. Which is actually pretty god as I am a real big fan of sweet short crust pastry.
For quite a while I thought that the Yun Ye Bakery on Aberdeen Street were the best ones. They always sell out their supply of egg tarts by mid afternoon. Which is always a god sign. The pastry was always cooked well and the custard filling was a delight to eat, and at only HK$2.50. A bargain.
Then it happened, I came across Tai Cheong, which closed down from its original shop back in 2005, prompting queues of people about 100 strong in a mad last month long dash to buy their tarts. Their new shop isn't that far from the old. Still has a queue but not as long as before. Their tarts are a bit more expensive at HK$4.50, but boy are they worth it. The pastry is a joy on the sense. Cooked to perfection, crumbly and sweet, and the custard has a slight wobble in the centre. It really is a delight.
They were originally famous for their doughnuts, which are good but (for me) lacks a filling. They also do a white egg tart. Which the filling is made of egg whites. Personally I did not like them, I found them a tad salty.
Now all I have to do now, is start doing some belly exercises so I can continue to eat enormous amounts of these delightful Hong Kong deserts.