Photo credit: Fat Les
Where do dan tahts come from? The official origin story has been debated by different chefs and culinary experts. Some say it came from the influence of other cultures. Some say that it originated in Hong Kong. What we know for certain, is that there is no certainty of a conclusive origin.
Photo credit: Wayside Violet
One common belief of the origin of the delicious tarts references the colonisation of Hong Kong by the British, as egg custard tarts are well founded in British bakery. Early Hong Kong-ers could have discovered this goodness and adopted the egg tarts with a local twist.
Photo credit: Flickr
Another story mentions the Portuguese colonisation of Macau. The Portuguese have a tart with egg called the pastel de bata. As Hong Kong shares influences from Macau (and vice versa); some people speculate that the influence of the Portuguese’s pastel de nata indirectly caused the creation of the egg tart. Where did pastel de nata come from, you may ask? Pastel de nata came from the monks in Portugal. They used egg whites to starch clothes like nuns’ habits. When the Liberal Revolution of 1820 came around, the monks used egg whites to create puff pastries instead to make money. This resulted in the creation of the pastel de nata.
Photo credit: Choo Yut Shing
Despite the debate on our beloved dan tahts' original, we do know that they were popularised in the 1940s by local cha-chaan-tengs (Hong Kong's version of all-day diners) which serve up inexpensive comfort food.
Photo credit: Misa Miisa
If you’re starting to get a craving for dan taht, many bakeries in Hong Kong serve these wonderful delights. The best time to catch them is in the afternoon, when bakeries dish them out hot from the oven and in time for afternoon tea. Here are a few well known bakeries that have made dan that legendary:
Tai Cheong Bakery (one of the many branches):
35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
G/F & Mezz Floor, 176-178 Hennessy Rd., Wan Chai
1B-1D, G/F, Way Wah Centre, Sha Tin