long before the cronut, there was the egg custard (pronounced “dàn tà”). this hybrid handheld sweet—which is like a crème brûlée mixed with a croissant—originally hailed from portugal and came to china in the 1940s via macau, a former portuguese colony.
today they occupy the shelves of bakeries, street side stalls, and dim sum carts across the country and, in shanghai at least, the locals pick them up morning, noon, and night. taste one and it’s easy to see why: slightly savory and somewhat sweet, they are incredible.
my favorite is to be found at lillian bakery, one of lisbon’s best pastry shops which has locations across shanghai. (their custards are spiked with a delicious amount of vanilla.)