Tarts - What's All the Fuss About?

would you line up for hours for a tart?

Whenever I happened to be at Orchard I would make a beeline to Takashimaya's Basement Food Hall before catching my train.  I would go to Fancy Delight Bakery outlet, buy a box of my favourite egg tart flavours; green tea, apple cinnamon, cheese and original for $ 5.80.  If I could help myself and not have one for dessert when I got home, I would save them for Saturday morning coffee.

Recently, in early July, I was feeling like I had not had one of those dainty egg tarts for some time and made up my mind that diets are good to start on a Monday and not on the weekend, so I did the usual detour to indulge in my secret desire. To my horror I saw a long line-up at the spot where I bought my Fancy Delights. The line-up stretched outside and spilled into the lobby. I made my way through and saw it wasn't for my Fancy Delight cups of joy, but for Tai Cheong Bakery, a new outlet from Hong Kong!

So what happened to my bakery? The girl in the shop next to it told me they had moved out. I was heartbroken! I was not going to line up and waste my Friday night.  So I kept an eye on the shop every time I passed and saw the same thing. A very long, never ending queue. In August I was there at 3:55pm and the line-up wasn’t so daunting as most people were still at work. So I lined up and I thought I would zip through and see what all the hoopla is about. I asked a few of the ladies in the line if they had an amazing magical tart they were willing to wait for so long and all said it was their first time!

So many of the people waiting were doing so mostly out of curiosity than diehard fans of HK food I assumed.

After waiting for a while the line wasn't moving.  A few ladies and I were getting a bit antsy. Why wasn't the line moving? There was one staff managing the line! We agreed that crowd managing was a waste of her time. Her time could have been better utilised behind the counter. The area is cordoned off and people obediently wait. The other staff also were not expediting as in a normal busy place.  I am not blaming them, but whoever is the manager has got a cunning plan! He thinks, ‘let me create an illusion that this place is always busy so keep the line going slowly and let the people line up’. Brilliant idea!

As I found out there was only one lady in my group who had had the tarts before and when asked why do you like them," because they taste good," was her reply. I got to the front and to the cashier at 16:45 as you see from my receipt! There were conditions of sale as well. I could not buy only one to try. OK I waited this long I better get four. Minimum is a set of 4 for $7.60 and maximum of four boxes per person. I paid then waited again for the tarts to get packed and given to me. Too much waiting! I got home and I tried one. It was " nice" just like the lady who stood in front of me declared. I don't profess to be an expert in tart comparison, but actually it was "just" nice!

This Saturday I finally made my way to Nex Shopping Mall and found my Fancy Delight Bakery outlet where I bought two boxes of tarts. One to keep for breakfast and one to take to my friends for dessert. I positively prefer them as they are not doughy, or flaky, the fillings have just the right smoothness. The tarts do not crumble when you cut or have a bite and they don't leave an eggy after taste! One little tart has a lot of flavour and it is satisfying. The selection of flavours is impressive. The price is very reasonable.

Tai Cheong's tarts are fine but there are a lot of other places offering similar tarts. They are delicious to have when fresh out of the oven, a bit expensive and definitely nothing to write home about -- nothing so exceptional that I would ever again wait for an hour for.

Fancy Delight Bakery NEX Shopping Mall at 23 Serangoon Central, #03-K21,  Monday to Sunday 11.00am - 10.00pm

Tai Cheong Bakery, Takashimaya Basement  Food Hall

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
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