This iconic local sweet treat is enjoyed by Hongkongers of all ages, and is commonly found in cha chaan tengs, dim sum restaurants, and bakeries. While there are several theories as to how the Hong Kong tarts came about, it is widely accepted that it was created as a more affordable option to the British custard tart. The traditional British dessert is much larger, served in slices, and is usually also spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon.
Under British rule, the pastry we now know and love began popping up in cha chaan tengs and restaurants in Western department stores. The key differences are the use of lard in making a flaky crust, instead of the traditional shortbread crust in the original, and also incorporating flavours tailored to local tastes, such as eliminating nutmeg and introducing evaporated milk in the filling.