Pastéis de Belém The World's Most Famous Egg Tart Pastry

Pastéis de Belém is Lisbon’s most famous and, without comparison, the most visited pastel de nata shop. According to local sources, as much as 30.000 egg tart pastries leave the oven here every day. From the shop opens in the early morning at 10 o’clock, the queues are endless until they close again in the evening. The tiny shop front hides a much larger seating area than you’d expect inside, consisting of multiple rooms with a total of several hundred seats.

People queuing up already at 10 o'clock when they open
People queuing up already at 10 o’clock when they open

A Secret Family Recipe

What makes them some of the best in the city? A secret family recipe that has been passed down from one generation to the next since 1837. Pastéis de Belém are considered by some to be the original pastéis de nata – but they consistently call them pastéis de Belém. The exact measurements and baking processes are known by only six people, who have sworn to keep it to themselves until a new baker needs to be taught the tricks. Apparently, it does involve a lot of butter, though.

The world famous pastéis de nata
The world famous pastéis de nata
Seating space for hundreds of customers
Seating space for hundreds of customers
Enjoy with powdered sugar and cinnamon, or plain like we did
Enjoy with powdered sugar and cinnamon, or plain like we did

Visit the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

While you’re in the neighborhood for some sweet treats, I strongly recommend paying a visit to the spectacular cathedral and monastery Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Not only to admire the remarkable construction work, however, but also because this is where the history of the pastéis de Belém began. The nuns would need endless amounts of egg whites to starch their uniforms, so the monastery would use egg yolks to bake pastries. Later on, the monks opened up a shop nearby to earn some extra money. That shop is Pastéis de Belém.

Inside the church
Inside the church
Inside the Monastery
Inside the Monastery
The monastery
The monastery

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

The final resting place of Vasco da Gama
The final resting place of Vasco da Gama

Anders Husa

I am Anders Husa – a foodie living in Oslo. I eat at the best restaurants in Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm and the major food destinations in the world. I share my foodie stories here.

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