Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Apr 6, 2011 09:28 AM

Portugese egg tarts (nata) vs. Chinese egg tarts

Am curious, what are the differences between the two aside from the obvious brulee-ing of the top in nata? Am debating trying to make them at home but I'm Chinese and the bf is Portugese so not sure who's got the "better" version. ;)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The egg tart in Macau, former Portguese colony, hence the Portugese style egg tart (Po Sik DaanTaat or Po Taat in Cantonese), is the one you are thinking of.

    The Cantonese style egg tart (daan taat) seen in some dim sum restaurants and Hong Kong style bakeries, is more of an inspiration from the British custard tart, and is a Hong Kong/Canton invention.

    5 Replies
    1. re: K K

      Thanks for the link! Looks like both are puff pastry style crusts, do you think there's much difference in flavouring of the custard? I don't remember as it's been a while since I've had either. Looks like a broiler or a blow torch could give me the nice caramelized top on the Portugese versions.

      1. re: bdachow

        I think traditionally the custard in Chinese egg tarts were not spiced like the Portugese version, but that's certainly not the case anymore. The other difference, as you've mentioned, is that the Portugese tarts have a creme brulee look about them with a caramelized top surface.

        Other than that, they're both pretty much just an awesome thing to behold and eat.

        Oh, and lest I forget, Portugese tarts are generally bigger than their Chinese/Cantonese counterparts, which is never a bad thing.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          It appears the Po Taat is based on the Portugese egg tart of pastel de nata or pastel de Belém, and was brought over by a Brit named Andrew Stow in 1989 to Macau, who modified the custard receipe (supposedly less sugar if you can believe it) and it was a huge sensation. Kind of interesting that it was fairly recent, unlike the Hong Kong egg tart that dates back to Southern China/Guangzhou at department stores in the 1920s (which then trickled down to Hong Kong), where it was used as a gimmick to entice shoppers into department stores.

          Andrew would later divorced his wife in 1997 and afterwards she opened up her own Maca Portugese egg tart shops (Cafe e Nata Margaret's) to great success, even partnering with Kentucky Fried Chicken (which explains the last 5 years where Maca Portugese egg tarts were found at KFCs in Taipei). Margaret's is I believe the place where Samantha Brown had hers (on her Travel Channel episode to Hong Kong and Macau).

          1. re: K K

            Thanks for the interesting history. I first heard about KFC egg tarts at least 10 years ago. Lines out the door in Taipei whenever they rolled out new seasonal egg tarts(with the brulee style top).

            I did not realize the Portuguese style egg tart was such a recent innovation.

            1. re: huaqiao

              I'm not sure what it is, but I find that the brulee'd custards to be a lot more rich and heavier in flavor (and calorific) than any HK style egg tart I've ever had.

              I too am puzzled a bit why the Maca Portugese egg tart has such a short history, considering that the Portugese have been in Macau for quite some time with the bacalhau/salted cod dishes and numerous other influences.

    2. The original comment has been removed