This obsession I seem to have found for egg custard tarts has to stop. I can feel my waistline increasing with every bite. But the taste of a good sweet shortcut pastry crumbling in my mouth and the custard melting is too much for me to resist.
I have searched high and low for the perfect tart. Finally after tasting most of the tarts that Hong Kong has to offer, I have found it, but to get me there I have had to eat some real bad ones.
The main problem was the pastry, a lot of shops do not cook the pastry properly, therefore leaving it raw. (I had the same problem at Leiths many a time).
There are two main types of base for custard tarts I have found, are 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. This actually turned out to be good 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 produced the best ones. They always sell out their supply of egg tarts by mid afternoon. This is always a good sign. The pastry was always cooked well and the custard filling was a delight to eat, and at only HK$2.50. A bloody 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.
The new shop isn't that far from the old, which is really annoying that it took me so long to find it.
Their tarts are a bit more expensive at HK$4.50, but boy are they worth it. The pastry is a joy on the senses. Cooked to perfection, crumbly and sweet, and the custard has a slight wobble in the centre. It really is a work of perfection.
They were originally famous for their doughnuts, which are good but (for me) they lack a filling.
Also they have a white egg tart, the filling for these is made up of egg whites. Personally I did not like them, I found them a tad salty.
Now all I have to do, is start doing some belly exercises so I can continue to eat enormous amounts of these delightful Hong Kong deserts.
Heaven pure bloody heaven.