We only planned for a short stay in Macau. Macau is small, after all, covering about 11.4 square miles. It figured that it should only take us a brief period of Hun-like touring to see all there is to see. But, with our departure day looming, it seemed that there was stuff remaining to see, even with our prior days efforts. Maybe just because Macau is small you expect to see everything.
Thus, before returning to Hong Kong, we hatched a plan. On our departure day, we’d get our hotel’s pliable front desk to arrange for a taxi driver to give us a car quick tour of the “distant reaches” of Macau before taking us to the ferry terminal. In Macau, the taxis aren’t particularly expensive and there’s not that much territory to cover. The plan seemed reasonable.
In action the plan worked better than expected. Not only did our host at the hotel communicate our desires with the taxi driver in Chinese, she also suggested that we stop at Lord Stow’s Bakery in the Coloane Town Square for Portuguese egg tarts. The Coloane Town Square is at the extreme end of Macau. We would be able to claim to have seen “all” of Macau.
In the taxi, we crossed one of Macau’s wave shaped bridges to the “islands.” When the bridge ended we were on the island of Taipa. Taipa has been fused to the next island, Coloane, by a large swath of reclaimed land. The newly created land, named Cotai, is being actively filled by Las Vegas style development, including a copy of the Vegas Strip’s Venetian Hotel Casino. In the taxi, past the casinos, it was a different world altogether. We were soon at Coloane’s quiet town square. It seems that few tourist reach this far edge of Macau.
Lord Stow’s is an unassuming shop tucked in just off the square. Certainly we would have missed this if we hadn’t been properly advised. Inside the pastry shop Becky purchased a box of hot out of the oven egg tarts for $5.60 US. That’s a lot of money in Macau. We could have had about 37 of Loja de Comidas Sio Seong Hoi’s stupendous pot stickers for the same price. Not that we’d need to make a choice. We would always have both.
And we thought that the egg tarts that we had at Hong Kong’s Tai Cheong Bakery were the bomb. Indeed, customers queue up in the street waiting to buy the egg tarts at the Tai Cheong Bakery branch we visited in Hong Kong. But we were dead wrong. The egg tarts we had at Lord Stow’s are better. Lord Stow’s tarts are one of the best things we had in China.
Before we sampled our first Lord Stow tart, we gave one to our taxi driver. He inhaled it in an instant. In the taxi we gambled that the posted no eating sign did not apply to the egg tarts, particularly after we bribed the driver, so we dug into the box. The remaining five tarts in the box were gone before we covered the short distance to Macau’s peninsula and the ferry terminal.
Lord Stow’s pastry gems have a perfectly flaky crust. The warm custard filling is impossibly eggy, slightly spiced, a little fluffy, and perfectly sweetened. The baking process leaves the tops of the small pies caramelized. In the mouth the warm tarts are rich, creamy, and mouth filling.
We discussed having the driver turn back for another box but that seemed too ostentatious. Sometimes taking the high ground is a mistake. And perhaps we shouldn’t have given one of our precious tarts to the taxi driver before trying them. We will have to live with these blunders for a long time.
Lord Stow’s tarts just can’t be good for you, though. They must be loaded with every saturated fat and all the cholesterol imaginable. Why else would they be so good? Why else would they be so yellow? But, ironically, the Macanese people have the longest life expectancy in the world. We figure that this means that Lord Stow’s babies cannot be that bad for you after all. Next time, we will order a dozen. OK, make that two dozen. They may even be good for us. Why take the high road?
Somehow the thought of returning for another batch of tarts never went away, even when we were back in Hong Kong. With the round trip ferry coasting about $40 USD, they’re definitely worth a trip to Macau to pick up a few dozen.