In 2009 I was visiting the Mall of Asia in Manila for my eighth or ninth time. I was meandering around, not having a clue as to where I was in the overall realm of what is this incredible Mall.
Being a foodie, I was paying attention to all of the restaurants and little kiosks proffering tidbits of sweet and savory items. I came upon this particular kiosk that had what seemed to be one main item. Little custards that looked like crème brûlée, sort of, but in a pastry tart shell.
Being fond of crème brûlée, my interest was piqued. I ordered one. I took my little package and walked on my wondering way, flitting about the Mall here and there like a butterfly on an endless trip to nowhere.
At some point, I sat down and opened my treat. It was still a little warm.
I took a bite.
I was, metaphorically speaking, knocked off my feet.
To say that I was transported to the heavens, surrounded by bright white light and singing Angels, would not be far from the truth
I immediately started walking around trying to find that place again so that I could buy some more.
To no avail.
To those of you familiar with the Mall of Asia, you know how absolutely easy it is to get lost.
Wehile I had a wonderful shopping day there, I was more than a little disappointed when I left, knowing that I had had something that I would remember forever, and had not a clue as to what it was.
When I returned to the US, I went on a Google quest to locate the name of that little kiosk.
What I discovered was Lord Stow's bakery.
Now, Lord Stow's first location was, and is, in Macau. When they were discovered, their reputation traveled like wildfire, and soon branches were popping up here and there in Southeast Asia.
One of those locations is at the Mall of Asia in Manila.
What was it that I had, you might ask?
A Lord Stow's Portuguese egg tart.
That's what I had.
I made a point that on my next visit to Southeast Asia, I was going to hit up Lord Stow's yet once again.
Last year, December 2011, was just that time. My first stop was Hong Kong. I had planned on checking out the Lord Stow's location at the Excelsior on Hong Kong Island, but I did not have time.
So, I had to wait until I was in Manila, which was right before Christmas.
I was only there for a couple of days and only able to go to MOA one time. Upon arrival, the first thing I did was set out to locate that Lord Stow's kiosk. I remembered that it was upstairs and somewhere near the overlook to the ice skating rink. So I found my way there and started asking questions. I was soon pointed in the right direction and found the object of my desire.
There they were, all lined up on racks in a warmed counter, just waiting for me to pick one.
I did, and right then and there I ate it.
One tart, at that time, was 45 pesos (about one US dollar), 4 for 165, 6 for 245, and 12 for 460 pesos.
Now I need to say that while I was in Hong Kong, I sampled every egg tart that I came across. And that was quite a few. Some of them were good, some of them not so good, only one even began to come close, but it was a distant close.
Okay so now back to Lord Stow's in Manila. I took the little delightful delectable delicacy out of its wrapping, took a bite and once aga....
A feeling of dizzy detachment from my body...
Yep, I was there again...
There is nothing that equals Lord Stow's egg tarts. The pastry is so short and delicate that it is almost, but not quite, puff pastry.
And it's buttery. Really buttery.
The actual custard is warm and its consistency is such that had it anymore liquid, it would not hold together - it's just right.
As soon as you take a bite, the custard literally melts in your mouth and the crispy yet delicate pastry dissolves. The resulting marriage of the custard, pastry, and your mouth, is an indescribably delicious gastronomical experience.
Before I left that day, I located the actual bakeshop, which is somewhere on the lower level - I don't know where beyond that. You can go to the Mall of Asia website and look at their directory.
I had one more.
I could've eaten 10 more, but, my metabolism is not such that my body would take kindly to such an overload.
If you're in Manila, you really need to experience the Mall of Asia. And while you're there - I beg of you – please try Lord Stow's egg tarts.
You'll be hooked.
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