Macanese Egg Tarts and Other Street Treats

Central Macau is full of food stalls selling a variety of Macanese and Cantonese treats. It's possible to spend an entire day eating without resting your feet, though resting your feet has its own merits, of course. The street in front of the Forteleza de Monte is especially appealing, and one of the first spots you'll see is Pastelaria Koi Kei, buzzing with pastry hounds.

For days before coming to Macau I had been daydreaming of Macanese egg tarts, also known as Portuguese-style egg tarts. Koi Kei keeps them in a warming oven in the front of the store, and for 6 patacas (75 cents) you can have a hot and fragrant egg tart of your very own. Whereas Cantonese egg tarts (sweetened egg custard inside a flaky shell) are tasty enough, the Macanese version goes one step further with a caramelized top, not unlike crème brûlée. The top isn't delicate enough to crack with a spoon, but the entire tart is good enough to be gobbled up in seconds.

Koi Kei was also handing out samples of its almond cookies, tastier than what I've been able to find on mainland China. Varieties include almond cookies with whole walnuts, with egg yolk, even with shredded pork jerky. And speaking of jerky, the store was handing out free samples of that too. Eager customers bought bags of jerky - spicy, regular, pork, beef - by the kilo.

Wandering further we saw a line in front of a smoothie shop that specialized in drinks with large chunks of fruit inside. Craving fresh fruit, we joined the line. What the mango smoothie lacked in liquid, it more than made up for in the fresh pieces of watermelon, kiwi, mango, and dragonfruit.

And who can resist roasted chestnuts when they are being roasted in front of you in a metal cylinder over a roaring fire? Even in Macau on a warm fall day, hot chestnuts sounded like a good idea. At first a crowd gathered around the chestnut-roaster, until he said "These things are going to pop." They stood a bit further back, until the chestnuts coming out of the barrel really did pop with the force and reach of small firecrackers. We kept walking backwards, but still straining forward to see. A woman who walked by shielded her baby from the hot flying chestnut bits.

As soon as the chestnut-roaster wiped his forehead and took off his goggles, the crowd rushed forward to buy a bag of hot roasted chestnuts. "Be careful," he warned us. "Wait 5 minutes, at the very least." We heard the sounds of popping chestnuts in other people's bags. At least there were other street vendors to watch while we waited.

Pastelaria Koi Kei
Rua Felcidade 70-72
(853) 28938102