First there was the bubble tea wars, the floss bun wars, the coffee bun wars and now, the tart wars.
The Singapore Tart Wars officially came around in July or August this year when Tai Cheong bakery from Hong Kong and Bake from Hokkaido came here to open branches. However I was blissfully unaware at the time, thank goodness for my heart and cholesterol. It was only in November when I was researching some places of interest my short trip to Hong Kong that uncovered Tai Cheong Bakery which is touted as the best egg tarts in the world. Then at around the same time, BAKE opened their second branch at Westgate mall, a place that I frequent quite often. The long queue intrigued my curiosity but as I am usually a queue-avoider, I decided to come back when the “craze” had died down.
So just two weeks ago, I was in Hong Kong and came upon Tai Cheong by chance. (I will try to do another post about my HK trip soon after this.)
Let’s not beat about the bush, Hong Kong’s Tai Cheong Egg Tarts were as every bit as delicious as they were raved about. They truly deserve the title of “Best Egg Tarts in the World”.
How do Singapore’s tarts compare?
Frankly, I have been very skeptical about branches opened overseas as it is hard to maintain the quality of ingredients found in their origin country.
However this review is based on one tart to another in Singapore, not versus their originals.
Just today, I finally got to try BAKE cheese tarts. The queue on a weekday night was short and that was nice. First of, I think they are very expensive at $3.50 per piece. However being truly Singaporean, the actual question is: “Is it worth its hefty price tag”?
My thoughts are: “No”.
After having my first mouthful, I found the cheese filling very light and fluffy which is probably where it got its fame but, the experience was marred by a very hard and crunchy crust. As you can see, it looks rather burnt but it didn’t taste burnt. Unfortunately for BAKE, I think that I would not pay more than $2.50 for this based on the flavour alone. The cheese filling gets sweeter and sweeter with every bite and after having one cheese tart, I didn’t feel like having for another. That was weird because it usually takes me a lot of willpower not to eat all the delicious things.
When I had my first egg tart in Hong Kong, my mind was completely blown away so the Singapore version had a lot to live up to.
The queue outside Tai Cheong Takashimaya on a Sunday afternoon was a patience-tester. It took us 40 mins before we could finally order just 8 egg tarts but I was craving after having the Hong Kong egg tarts just days ago so that kind of drove us a little crazy. After ordering, we drove home immediately with the warm tarts in the box, which was a mistake. When I got home, the box was soaked with condensation. That didn’t bode well for the egg tarts.
Without further ado, we had an egg tart immediately. Surprisingly, it was still warm and more importantly, the crust was crumbly and crispy and not soggy. It was amazing. The egg custard is smooth and together with the buttery crust, it had such a well balanced flavour between sweetness and saltiness. Perhaps if I had it fresh on the spot it would taste just about 10% better but I didn’t have any problems with it at all.
I wanted more and more. In fact, my mouth is watering right now just thinking about it.
Honestly from the bottom of my heart and for the sake of your pocket, you can get two delicious egg tarts for one so-so cheese tart and that should be enough to win the tart wars. Of course it could also be a matter of flavour preferences but I’d rather queue at Tai Cheong than at BAKE.
Finally I’m so psyched that Tai Cheong is opening a traditional Cha Chan Teng at Holland Village. You bet I’ll be there:
31 Lorong Liput Singapore 277742
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 110pm (Sun – Thurs), 8:30am – 1am (Fri , Sat, Eve PH)