Lord Stow’s Bakery in Macau has possibly one of the greatest tasting egg tarts in the world. Founded in 1989 by an Englishman named Andrew Stow, he has ironically taken the taste of Portuguese egg tarts to a level that the Portuguese themselves in Macau weren’t able to. Lord Stow’s Bakery is better known amongst locals as Andrew’s Egg Tarts (安德魯餅店 ān dé lǔ bǐng diàn), so don’t try asking a local taxi driver to take you to Lord Stow’s Bakery.
This is finally our last article on food from our Macau and Hong Kong trip! And we do save the best for last. Lord Stow’s Bakery from Macau wins our ‘The Ultimate Taste’ award, together with Australia Dairy Company’s scrambled eggs and Mak An Kee’s wanton noodles – the latter two being establishments from Hong Kong.
Of the 43 food items that we reviewed here from Hong Kong and Macau, only three were good enough to get this classification. We did not come to this decision lightly, and after our experience of trying egg tarts from no less than six famous egg tart establishments across Hong Kong and Macau, it was actually an easy decision. Lord Stow’s egg tarts are just that good.
One Englishman’s ideas in a Portuguese Colony
Andrew Stow got his nickname ‘Lord Stow’ when he managed Hyatt’s Alfonso’s Restaurant in the 1980s, which was Macau’s leading Portuguese restaurant at the time. He was dubbed ‘Lord Stow’ by the local Portuguese as he was an Englishman ‘lording over’ them. The Lord Stow story is not a story about a delicious recipe with a rich tradition passed down through centuries – this is a story about how someone with the right ideas, skills and a bit of luck was able to create a recipe that is so unique and delicious that it exploded into a movement that has lasted for more than two decades.
Andrew Stow opened Lord Stow’s Bakery on Coloane Island in Macau on 15 September 1989. He wanted to bring in the popular Portuguese ‘Pasteis de Nata’, the Portuguese egg tart originating from Lisbon in Portugal, back in 1837. Andrew’s pharmaceutical background helped him with his experiments for the perfect Portuguese egg tart recipe. He dispensed with the typical methods and added some English culinary ideas. The outcome was simply brilliant – Andrew’s egg tarts have the special x-factor that will draw you to want to get them again and again. In little time, Lord Stow’s Bakery became a tourist attraction and he was able to open his first international branch in Hong Kong in 1997.
The rest is history. Lord Stow sadly passed away in 2006 from an asthma attack and the bakery is currently run by his daughter, Audrey Stow and his sister, Eileen Stow.
Planning for your visit to Lord Stow’s Bakery
Lord Stow’s Bakery has seven outlets in Macau. Unfortunately their main outlet is located at Coloane Village in Macau, which is quite a distance away from everything else. Most travellers will spend exactly one day in Macau. You will have to plan your time accordingly and decide whether the additional one hour of travelling and taxi cost is worth travelling to their main outlet. On hindsight, we would have made the pilgrimage to their main outlet had we known how good their egg tarts would be.
We ended up getting our egg tarts from the Lord Stow’s Bakery & Cafe at The Venetian, which is a mega casino resort famous for its casino and its shopping space at The Grand Canal Shoppes. The latter is a huge labyrinth of high-end luxury shops with breathtaking views and gondola rides. Check out the travel blog of our day trip to Macau and see the spectacular photos that we took inside The Venetian.
Lord Stow’s Bakery Portuguese Egg Tarts
This is it! The delicious Portuguese egg tarts from Lord Stow’s Bakery. If you notice the brown patches on the custard, that is actually caramelised milk protein (casein). The custard and the pastry are not burnt, but casein gets caramelised at a lower temperature, giving a crème brûlée-like appearance to the custard.
If you have never tried a Portuguese egg tart, here is a quick taste comparison chart against the regular egg tarts:
Taste Comparison Chart
Regular Egg Tarts
Portuguese Egg Tarts
|Crumbly, powdery-like pastry crust||Flaky, layered pastry crust|
|Uniform, unbroken and firm custard layer||Soft and fluffy custard layer, closer to bread or cheese|
|Usually the dual taste of custard and pastry||Explosion of flavours from the partially caramelized top layer together with the soft fluffy custard and the flaky pastry|
After trying famous egg tarts from six establishments around Hong Kong and Macau, what we can say for certain is that there is a very strong correlation between taste and temperature. Yes, the egg tart must be eaten piping hot for the maximum gastronomic pleasure. We were lucky enough to be able to try most of the egg tarts during our trip either piping hot or very warm.
That said, the Portuguese egg tarts from Lord Stow’s Bakery stand head and shoulders above the others at the piping hot temperature range. They have a unique caramelised sweet taste that goes together with the fluffy custard and flaky pastry and it is simply perfect. They blow away the competition by a country mile. It almost never gets better than this and we rate these Portuguese egg tarts 4.8/5. It is even better than our usual super delicious accolade, and we bestow the ultimate taste title on these delicious Portuguese egg tarts. If you missed the pictures above, these tarts are priced at MOP$10 each.
To reiterate, these egg tarts MUST be eaten at the piping hot temperature for the best taste. If you eat them at room temperate or even just slightly warm the taste rating plunges dramatically. The included brochure has some reheating instructions and suggested temperature points. However, in my opinion there is nothing better than trial and error. I tested the egg tarts in the oven and the taste is at its most brilliant just before the crust gets burnt and you can see some bubbling at the custard. For my oven this was a toasting of between 4-4.5 minutes. It is specific, any less and it is not hot enough, any more and the crust gets burnt.
Yes, they tasted nicer back in Singapore after being refrigerated multiple times than at the bakery itself. The key is the piping hot temperature.
We thought that these Portuguese egg tarts were really nice when we tried them at the bakery. So we ended up buying 12 pieces in two boxes back to Singapore. They spent some time in the refrigerator at our Hong Kong hotel, as well as some time in the airplane’s overhead compartment. After that ordeal, it was back to the refrigerator in Singapore. We toasted them after that, not really expecting much.
We were blown away.
On hindsight, we would have bought maybe four or five boxes from their main outlet in Coloane Village. In the grand scheme of things, the only food item that I’ve tried in the entire world that would clearly rate higher than these egg tarts is the roast duck from the Four Seasons Chinese Restaurant in Bayswater, London. The branch in Singapore isn’t as good unfortunately.
That’s all the food from us for Hong Kong and Macau. We will be starting our reviews of Singapore food soon, look forward to those!