Every few days our team will scour Shanghai’s dining scene for scrumptious dishes that’ll fill your belly without emptying your savings. Not to discriminate, we’ll search everywhere from bicycle carts to chic venues with twenty-course tasting menus, knowing that any spot could have the next Dish of the Day.
Christmas is in the air and many of us are craving holiday baked goods that will thaw our frozen capillaries and restore rosiness to our cheeks. And while Shanghai doesn’t abound in gingerbread men or cookie Santas, you can find yuletide warmth in the Portuguese egg tarts at Lillian Cake Shop (4RMB).
A brief history: Portuguese egg tarts originated at a monastery in Lisbon, but later arrived in a Portuguese colony in Macau, then at Dim Sum restaurants in Hong Kong, and finally the mainland.
They consist of a small pail-shaped crust containing a banana-yellow egg custard lightly seared on top like crème brûlée. Perfect pastries such as the ones at Lillian’s sport flaky, airy, slightly fluffy crusts resembling an apple turnover’s, and molten custard which combines the textures of mousse and jello.
Our favorite aspect of portuguese egg tarts is how non-artificial they are. Instead of typical sweets with cloying, bikini-pink frosting, pre-frozen flour, and a crust that crumbles like a sand castle you get a scratch-made pastry whose sweetness almost seems to occur naturally in the egg and crust.
Shlep a six-pack of these guys home, crank up the heat, and tuck in.
Lillian Cake Shop – Subway B2 level, 939 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu, Subway B2 Level, Paris Spring Mall (淮海中路939号, 近陕西南路). Tel: (0)21-6474-1399. Hours: 7:30am-10pm daily.
Last time on Dish of the Day: Hairy crab @ Tongchuan Road Seafood Market
See a complete list of our Dish of the Day series here.
Have a recommendation for Dish of the Day? Let Shanghaiist’s food editor Benjamin Cost know at [email protected]!