Custard tarts were introduced in Hong Kong in the 1940s by cha chaan tengs and western cafes and to compete with dim sum restaurants particularly for yum cha. It later evolved to become egg tarts today. At the time, egg tarts were twice the size of today's tarts. During the 1950s and 1960s when the economy started taking off, Luk Jyu took the lead with the mini-egg tart.. ''Casa Pastéis de Belém'' was the first pastry shop outside of the convent to sell this pastry in 1837, and it is now a popular pastry in every pastry shop around the world owned by Portuguese descendants.
The Portuguese-style egg tarts known in Macau originated from Lord Stow's Café in Coloane, owned by a Briton named Andrew Stow. Stow modified the recipe of pastel de nata using techniques of making English custard tarts . It has since become available at numerous bakeries, as well as Macau-style restaurants and Chinese, Hong Kong and Taiwan branches of the KFC restaurant chain. There was a craze in Singapore and Taiwan in the late 1990s.