Lately, I’ve been noticing the footprints Portuguese left on the cuisines around the world. Today, I learned from @joeybatsnyc that Chinese egg tarts originated in pastéis de nata, Portuguese tart. He sells them at @JoeyBatsCafe. That makes sense given that Chinese traditionally did not make tarts (as far as I know). He also told me that the origin of tempura is Portugal. Sure enough, Wikipedia explains that the Japanese never thought to use batter before deep-frying until Portuguese introduced the idea to them in the late 16th century.
I also noticed that cha chaan tengs (Hong Kong style cafes) serve “Baked Chicken Portuguese Style.” I have one more: a hugely popular dessert in Japan called “castella” which was also introduced by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century. It’s a long rectangular sponge cake, a common gift item. According to Wikipedia, the original is called “Pão de Castela” which means “bread from Castile.” Perhaps @JoeyBatsCafe can just sell the original versions of everything. He said his tarts are popular among Chinese customers. He even has a Chinese sign outside (swipe to see). So, how does pastéis de nata taste? I will probably upset some Chinese people but, it’s better than any Chinese egg tarts I’ve had. A common complaint that I’ve heard about Chinese egg tarts is that they taste too “eggy,” which is true. My theory is that Chinese cooks didn’t know what custard was, so they literally made “egg” tarts; they didn’t bother separating the yolk from the egg white. Given that Europe has a much longer history of perfecting custard, it would make sense that their version would taste more refined. And, Joey’s flaky crust too is better than that of any egg tarts I’ve had.
Now, I’m curious to try the original castella. That may be better than the Japanese version too.
#pasteisdenata #portugal #PortugueseFood #custard #tart #nyceats #nycfoodie #eggtart #desserts #sweets
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