Friday, November 01, 2013

Last Stop in Porto: Pasteis de Nata and the Mirror Taximeter

Who has not heard of or tasted the famous Portuguese Egg Tart or Custard Cup? Well if you have not, then it is about time to check them out.

The best Portuguese Pasteis de Nata (also called Pastel de Nata) though is only found in Portugal. Of course, this could not have been some whimsical statement that I have just self-invented, but this is a statement that I have truly experienced after having tasted this endearing pastry in Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore where they are also famous. The Portuguese had settlements in Asia, and particularly in Macau they have managed to spread the popularity of this delicacy to great heights. I have seen hordes of tourists carrying boxes of this pastry. Suffice to say, the bakeries there do not come close to the pasteis de natas in Portugal. The Macau versions though were very, very good… perhaps the closest my taste buds can relate to, to the real Portuguese version in Portugal.

Pasteis de Nata | Pastel de Nata

The original ones are not only succelent but the dough is flaky and crisp and the custard chewy and a bit gooey. This is just soooo good.

However, if you are to ask the allies of Portuguese discriminating foodie enthusiasts, I am sure they will say that the best pasteis de nata can only be found in Lisbon at specialty pastry shops in Belem. This is definitely a Lisbon delicacy but it doesn’t matter, Porto is selling them as well.

Having said all these, I am now drooling, haha! Naturally my last stop in Porto is to indulge in the most-awaited pasteis de nata treat and buy a box of them as well at the airport as my coming home gift for the Dutchman. I love to pamper him with food =)

State of the Art Technology - Mirror Taximeter

This is my cab ride from my museum hotel to Porto Airport. What is so special about this cab and the ride is its METER. It is so state of the art high technology that at first I was lost wondering where the darn taxi meter was. I do not like surprises and I hate cheating cabbies, but then I realised that the taxi meter is integrated into the car’s center mirror. WOW. That is one piece of cool high-fallutin technology there!

Left hand number is the price in Euros and the right hand number is the actual kilometres driven. The driver did not tell me since he barely spoke English, I just made my assumptions and I was indeed correct. SO COOL!

I did a quick online research and it looks like German and Irish companies, as well as UK ones are pioneering the sales of this product.

Last Meal in Porto & a Takeaway

And so finally, I have half an hour to enjoy my last meal in Porto, a light evening meal. KLM serves cheese sandwiches during the 2-hour flight Porto to Amsterdam which I tend to ignore as I am not into young Gouda cheese (I love ripe and stinky cheeses) so might as well have a Portuguese meal. A little presunto sandwich paired with a glass of red wine, and a pasteis de nata as my dessert.

When I arrived home and presented the pastry to the Dutchman as our evening snack, he cannot contain his greediness and excitement after the first bite, he finished it in a few seconds and wanted another one.

‘Zeg, dit is erg lekker joh! Wat is dit voor een ding?’ Haha!

I’m not a pastry baker or expert but the egg tarts or custard cups in Portugal are very succulent and smooth. It must have something to do with adding a generous amount of eggs into the mix, waving in some Portuguese magical hands and sprinkling oodles of southern European love =)

If you want to experiment this pastry at home, try googling the recipe.

This ends my Porto and Douro, Portugal travel diaries.

Travel Period: March 2013
Destination: Porto (Grande Porto), Portugal

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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