The Egg Tart Bamboozle
By: Ashley Chu
Hello hello! Thanks for reading and welcome to Spring 2022! Coming back from a jam-packed Fall, get ready for all the exciting 2022 experiences and memories to come SWEsters! :)
We have so much in store this semester!
Welcome Week is happening next week, led by our amazing membership and intersocietal officers, Yeiji and Sarah. We’ll be having a Picnic on the Glade on 2/1 3:30–4:30PM, a Big C Sunset Hike on 2/2 4:30–5:30PM, and finally our GM on 2/4 from 5–6:30PM (Snacks will be provided).
Our early committee applications for Corporate, Outreach, Academic, Overnight Host Program, and Mentorship are currently open and close February 3rd @ 11:59PM PT. Regular applications for all other committees will open 2/4 and close 2/12 @ 11:59PM PT. View committee descriptions here and apply at our application form.
Be sure to check out the SWalendar for more details.
Yay now let’s talks about egg tarts!
Sitting in restaurants lined with red velvet, the lazy susan circling round-and-round, and dim sum carts bustling around, made me feel at home as I waited. The golden, flaky puff pastry and melty custard’s arrival offers a moment of bliss to the eye. The egg tart.
Anyone who knows me, knows one thing about me — I love egg tarts. For my birthday, I had something better than cake: 20 egg tarts total in hand (don’t worry I shared 🤧).
I don’t know where it began — my love for egg tarts. Maybe it was the runs to Oakland Chinatown with my mom when I was in elementary school, and the friendly faces at the bakery who saw me grow from a tiny bean to a slightly taller sprout. Or the smells of a fresh tray of egg tarts coming out from the oven. Or the pink boxes daintily wrapping the egg tarts like presents on Christmas Day. It’s still a mystery to me when it began, but nonetheless, one of my favorite treats for when I’m sad, happy, or just want a taste of home.
My relationship with egg tarts is a multi-faceted one, one rooted with myself internally and externally.
As an Asian American coming from several generations of Asian American backgrounds, I’ve never felt “right” or “Asian enough” for my identity. I don’t know Mandarin or Cantonese, never really celebrated Lunar New Year religiously, and could never distinguish whether I was American or Chinese, since I never saw identities like mine portrayed on the big screen as a kid — it was either one or the other.
Egg tarts were the bridge that allowed me to bridge the gap between my two worlds. I’ve always prided myself on egg tarts as an essential representation of my heritage and culture. The buttery puff pastry cradled the melty interior, even reminded me a bit of the personalities of my own family. However, I soon learned that there was another layer to egg tarts.
Taking a Portuguese art and culture class for the first time, I learned of “Portuguese Egg Tarts”. “Interesting…”, I thought to myself.
To my bewilderment, I soon learned that egg tarts were not in fact begun in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, or anywhere in Asia, but rather, from Portugal. I felt like my childhood had been cheated. I couldn’t help but feel others taking schadenfreude in my shocking realization.
What I soon realized though, was that similar to me, with this cross identity of being Asian or American, my childhood egg tarts had a similar conflict, deriving from one place, but belonging to another. It’s bewildering how mirroring reflections exist right in front of you.
My shock was soon absorbed when I tried Sheng Kee’s version of a Portuguese Egg Tart, but I’ve still yet to try one in Portugal (hopefully one day soon).
Anyways, I love egg tarts and you should too! I challenge you to try out a Portuguese version and the Hong Kong version and report back to me with your thoughts :D
If you’re a fellow foodie, come join our Slack and make sure to share your daily eats in #swe-at (yes it sounds like sweat :’))
SWE’s also having a book talk with Abigail Hing Wen, author of Loveboat, Taipei, who goes into similar topics if you’re interested on February 10 at 4:30PM at 290 HMMB.
Sidenote, If you’re curious about my top places to get egg tarts here’s my S-tier spots 😌 (go support a Chinatown near you 😋):
- Golden Gate Bakery (SF)
- Fay Da Bakery (NYC)
- Napoleon Bakery (Oakland)
And if you’re trying to make them, check this out (tbh for puff pastry it’s prob easier to buy it at a store)