It’s flaky, tasty and unforgettable. Melts in your mouth goodness the way egg tarts should be. But it’s not from Lord Stow’s Bakery but from arch competitor and ex-wife’s Margaret’s Cafe e Nata (translates to coffee and cream). It’s dessert with its share of intrigues.
I was invited by the Macau Government Tourism Office-Philippines (MGTO) together with other travel writers and bloggers for a familiarization tour to this interesting place last May and it was a beautiful experience with its cuisine, glitz and old world charm. It might have been a union that’s for the books. Lord Stow opened his bakery with his wife Margaret (nee Wong) in 1989 and since then, they have popularized the egg tart craze that has expanded way beyond Macau’s borders even reaching the Philippines.
Egg tarts are rather ubiquitous. Other than the rather pricey cost, it is actually a custard ala crème brûlée but instead of the regular tart shell, it is inside a puff pastry shell, small and round and just enough for a few bites. Its also creamy and with crunch that once inside the mouth, the different contrasts of textures and tastes come into full being that it really is one of the best gustatory experience. That is if you know where to get the best ones.
But unions are not always meant to last. The couple divorced in 1997 and Margaret got the branch that was put up in the business district of Macau (Andrew’s Lord Stow’s Bakery is in Coloane Island) and affixed her name.
Finding the Cafe e Nata [tel. (853) 710 032] at Ma Tung Ling Lane in central Macau is an adventure in itself. Tucked outside of the main road, in an alley that is dominated by dilapidated buildings near Av. do Infante D. Henrique and Av. de Joao IV with a small sign. Another alternative is to look for Hotel Sintra and just ask around for directions.
Margaret’s version is lighter. Less sweet but the puff pastry more flaky. Some afficionados swear that this is better than Lord Stow’s which is sweeter and with a pastry shell that is doughy.
When at the cafe, it can be overwhelming as it is indeed crowded with people spilling out and all tables taken. Sometimes, perhaps because of the tense atmosphere, the owner and attendants can get strict and snap but its all part of the Cafe e Nata experience.
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