The origins of pastel de nata, an egg tart popular in Lusophone countries, can be traced to the now-defunct Hieronymites Monastery in Portugal. Egg whites were used in the old Catholic tradition to starch priestly vestments, which led to a surplus of yolks. Instead of discarding them, the monks used the yolks to create egg tarts and other sweet treats.
Following the 1820 Liberal Revolution in Portugal that led to the monastery’s closure, the monks sold the recipe for the egg tart to a nearby sugar refinery – which then established the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém in 1837. The bakery is still open to this day, thanks to the descendants of the owners of the original sugar refinery. Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém, which sells 20,000 egg tarts daily, celebrated its 185th anniversary in 2022.
It’s not surprising that pasteis de nata also gained ground in Macau, the longest-held Portuguese colony before it was returned to the People’s Republic of China in 1999. Briton “Lord” Andrew Stow (1955-2006) is responsible for the popularity of the egg tart in the special administrative region, through his Lord Stow’s Bakery established in 1989. The Macanese bakery entered the Philippine market 10 years later, with presences in standalone locations and mall kiosks.
After my lunch at Mr. Ube, I checked out Lord Stow’s Bakery – located along Tomas Morato Avenue – to have a much-needed coffee break. The rather heavy meal I had made me feel sleepy, so this was rather timely.
Just Simple Bakehouse was responsible for bringing in the Lord Stow’s Bakery franchise from Macau in 1999. This branch in Tomas Morato Avenue is one of three standalone branches in Metro Manila. However, it has more mall kiosks – which works for the business since most patrons order their egg tarts for takeaway.
There weren’t many customers during my visit, which meant that I basically had the place to myself. Aside from the signature egg tarts, Lord Stow’s Bakery also offered soups, pasta dishes, sandwiches, and cakes. It also sold various delicacies such as fish crackers, ladyfinger biscuits, candies, and more.
Lord Stow’s Signature Egg Tarts cost P56 a piece, but a box of four will cost P220. I ate in and ordered the four, alongside a cup of its Brewed Coffee (P150). The staff member who served my orders even included containers of creamer and sugar, which were left untouched.
The first thing I noticed that these tarts were slightly smaller in size and had more compact tart shells than the ones from Madeleine’s Original Portuguese Egg Tart in Singapore. During my 2017 visit, me and my former partner ordered a box from the establishment – which was right across the street from where we stayed. The ones from Madeleine’s were rather flaky and easily crumbled, but the ones from Lord Stow’s retained their shape.
At first bite, however, I found that the egg custard was sweet and rich – making a cup of brewed coffee without sugar a necessity. Besides, the Wikipedia entry for pasteis de nata mentions that tarts are “often accompanied with bica, a strong espresso coffee.” The custard’s richness also contrasted with the compact tart shell that the brisk coffee ultimately washed down.
I organized my things and marked some items in my itinerary as complete while I was at Lord Stow’s Bakery. I also noticed several customers come and go, but none of them stayed for long. They simply purchased other items and then immediately left.
I decided to pack up at around 3:30 in the afternoon, awake and fully satisfied with my snack of egg tarts and coffee. Thank you, Lord Stow’s Bakery, for giving me a taste of Macau.
Visit the official website of Lord Stow’s Bakery and check out the Philippine franchise’s Facebook page and Instagram profile more updates and promotions.
Until the next review, bon appetit!
Lord Stow’s Bakery
G/F Dallas Square Building,
168 Tomas Morato Avenue,
Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City 1103
34 thoughts on “359 – On The Lord Stow’s Bakery Experience”
Love the interesting history lesson. They don’t LOOK like they’d be that sweet, but cool you could trade that off for no coffee sweetener. I love trying new things. Fun you got to do this. 🙂
Thank you, Betsy! This was actually back in November of last year 😅 Our bosses gave us Friday and Saturday off, which corresponded to Thanksgiving and Black Friday on Central Time. My job follows US holidays, and from the looks of it — we won’t have any long weekend until Memorial Day.
I’ve been wanting to visit this place for some time now, and thankfully I got the chance to do so. Luckily, Lord Stow’s Bakery was just a short distance away from where I had lunch!
Lucky you! 🙂
Thank you very much for sharing the very interesting story of pastel de nata. I already knew “strange” uses for egg whites (like using them instead of hair gel and such), but I’ve never heard of the monastery story. Very interesting, though. 😁
We have small, flat egg tarts here in my place, too, but they are far from what you can enjoy. 😞
But since ours are already very delicious and very sweet, yours must be absolutely spectacular! 🤩
No problem! 😊 Let me share you another one.
During the Spanish colonial period, many of the old churches in the Philippines were made using adobe rock carved from hills. These were then bonded using a mix of lime, egg whites (duck eggs were preferred), sand, water and other ingredients to make an antique version of concrete.
But the use of egg whites resulted in a surplus of yolks. Instead of wasting the yolks, Filipinas of that period made egg-based desserts such as tocino del cielo — which were introduced by Spanish nuns sent to the Philippines. Over time, the recipe for this was adjusted with the addition of milk from local water buffaloes — eventually becoming leche flan, the Filipino version of creme caramel. 🍮
Wow, that‘s another very interesting piece of culinary history. 🤩 Thanks Monch. 🙏
For a moment, I just asked myself whether there could have been a „smell problem“ with the fresh concrete in hot temperatures. 🤔
Sorry if I noticed just now — I looked up the version of egg tart over there in Bali, and it does sound delectable with the egg custard and condensed milk! 😋
Such an interesting history for such a sweet little thing
Indeed. It also shows that people can find ways to use ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away, in this case egg yolks.
My sister (who lives in Macau) knew the original “Lord” Stow. Sadly he passed away but his name lives on. The outlet in Market Market BGC is where I pick them up when I crave for them.
That’s interesting, Nes! I hope she had good memories of Andrew.
Now that you mentioned it, I do remember that branch! I’d always pass by it whenever I visit Taguig. I usually park at SM Aura and walk along the stretch of Market Market — then cross at Serendra towards High Street.
Also, I noticed that Lord Stow’s has branches inside Ayala Malls — there’s one in Trinoma, and one each at Glorietta and Greenbelt. Robinsons Magnolia has one, too. Thank you for stopping by, Nes!
The pastry does look really thick. The ones you get in Portugal are thinner and you can clearly see the layers of pastry. It does make it messy, as you mention, but I suppose it also makes them lighter and focuses you on the filling. Mind you, I would gladly eat one of those in your photo, right now. We usually sprinkle them with cinnamon, on top.
Thank you for stopping by and sharing your take, Ana!
Though, permit me to ask — do you guys usually sprinkle the pasteis with cocoa powder? I do remember seeing a post from another blogger I follow, where she had the tarts with it.
I never heard of using cocoa powder. It’s mostly cinnamon powder, though some people use icing sugar instead.
I see; thank you! I guess that was the blogger’s own twist.
I love these little pastries and eat them often but had never thought of the back story- how interesting! We in the UK have a British sort of take, an egg custard tart. Made with a sweet but more solid pastry and sprinkled with nutmeg. Cheerful comfort food!
Thank you for sharing, Helen! So you guys dust it with nutmeg, while the Portuguese version makes use of cinnamon — just like what Ana mentioned. Really fantastic to read about how the egg tarts vary with every different country.
We love the crispy crust in combination with the creamy custard! The custard contains cinnamon and you could sprinkle powder on the Pasteis just before serving. We prefer them as they are.
Thank you for your take!
I grew up in a city with a large Portuguese population, and going to the Portuguese bakery for their amazing breads (and of course, the egg custard tarts!) was a treat. I never knew the origin story of these tarts. Thank you for sharing!
You’re welcome, Deb! Glad that this post of mine relived your wonderful memories of these treats!
Sarap! These egg tarts look really good! Thank you for the history lesson and review. Coffee with these tarts sounds great!
They sure are! Do check this out if you find yourself along Tomas Morato in Quezon City (this is located near the corner of Morato and A. Roces, beside the McDonalds outlet).
There are also other standalone Lord Stow’s bakeries in Banawe (QC) and Binondo (Manila), the latter being located beside a Mr. Ube branch behind Binondo Church.
Also, many thanks for following The Monching’s Guide!
Love egg tarts and love adding a sprinkle of cinnamon when I eat them. What a fun history lesson and can’t wait to see what other eats you taste 🙂
Thank you for stopping by, Janet! So it’s mostly either cinnamon or nutmeg, not cocoa powder haha!
Thank you so much for sharing! I didn’t know this. We would love to try someday!
Welcome! I hope you get to check this place out when you visit Manila.
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Great Story. One of my favorite tarts! Now I know how it all began! Well done! 🙂
Thank you for your comment, and thank you for stopping by! 😊 Even those egg tarts are likewise popular in Hong Kong now.
No kidding. I can see that. Thank you again for the additional info!
I love the egg tarts from Lord Stow’s bakery. Sadly we don’t have it here in the province. In 2021 though, I did get hold of some egg tarts from a local baker, but the quality and texture was nothing like Lord Stow’s. Luckily I was able to (again) enjoy some of their egg tarts when I finally visited home in October.
I’ve also been told that Portugal’s egg tarts are heavenly. I await a future visit to Portugal to have that bite of heaven.
I do hope you get to return to Manila for those egg tarts and, fingers crossed, you get to fly to Portugal after three years of the pandemic!