Pastéis de Belém is one of the must-visit sites in Belem Neighborhood in Lisbon Portugal. It is not a museum or monument but a bakery shop and their signature pastries are Portuguese tarts. If you love Portuguese Egg tarts in Macau, this one here tastes even better.
Expect Long Queue
The line to order is very long but it is still worth the wait. Most of the customers are tourists around the world.
Pastel de Belem
You can find Portuguese tarts all over Portugal but this bakery shop is unique, made according to their secret recipe. The tarts are always served warm straight out from the oven that’s why it is different from other bakeries. The skin is crispy and the tart is soft and custardy. You can eat it without any sprinkle on top or you can sprinkle it up with cinnamon powder & sugar. Personally, I prefer to eat it with the original flavor because it is already quite sweet for me so there is no need to sprinkle more of the sugar on top.
The browned patches on top are a result of the baking process so need not to worry too much. A piece of the Portuguese tart cost Euro 1.10, one is always not enough. You may want to order two.
20,000 tarts daily at the Secret Room
The bakery cafe sells at least 20,000 Portuguese tarts per day. There is a window where you can peep into and see the Pastries are made. All pastries are made mostly by hands according to the traditional processes with their secret recipe for more than 100 years ago.
Pastéis de Belém is unique and it was elected as one of the 7 Wonders of Gastronomy of Portugal. Right now, the owners still do not intend to franchise out more shops. Hence there is only one Pastéis de Belém in the world.
Antique in the Cafe
Some of the antiques can be found displayed on a corner of the bakery cafe.
Pastel de Nata vs Pastel de Belém
Are they the same thing? If you asked me I say yes, they tasted the same as I can’t tell the difference. But Pastel de Belem is only available here at Pastéis de Belém bakery in Belem. Only the Portuguese tart here can be named as Pastel de Belem. The other Portuguese tarts that you find at Lisbon or all over Portugal is called Pastel de Nata.
The bakery first started in the 17th century by Catholic monks at the nearby Jeronimos Monastery. During the olden days, the monks and nuns usually made cookies and pastries to made money. At the time, convents and monasteries used large quantities of egg-whites for starching clothes so the unwanted egg yolks were then used for pastries and cakes.
Beautiful tiles all over the cafe
Seating up to 400 people
Many would just grab and go as the queue is very long but there are also beautifully restored dining rooms in blue and white tiles also known as the azulejos. The wait isn’t that long (about 10-20 mins) as the turnover of customers is quite fast. Customers come and go, have a very quick bite with coffee then hurried to the tourists’ attraction.
Other then Pastel de Belem
Beside pastel de Belem, it also other specialties that you may want to try. However, Bolo-rei; the traditional Portuguese Chrismas cake only available during the Christmas period.
Pasteis de Belem is located in Bele Neighborhood and very near to the historical sites, so I highly recommend anyone to go in and check out the ambiance and the whole experience.