The perfect liu sha croissant would be a Franken pastry cobbled together from the top scoring croissants in a blind taste test by The Sunday Times.
It would have the intense salted egg yolk flavour of the custard by Italian deli chain Da Paolo Gastronomia, the sexy flow of the custard from fusion cafe Kokomama Marketplace and be encased in the crisp and buttery pastry from Antoinette.
The taste test by The Sunday Times to find the best salted egg yolk croissant of the six available here found that none of them were perfect.
But those by Antoinette, Da Paolo Gastronomia and Kokomama were the top scorers.
The other croissants were from Black & Ink, Flavour Flings and Bridge cafe.
The panel comprised Straits Times food editor Tan Hsueh Yun, food critic Wong Ah Yoke and Bjorn Shen, chef-owner of Middle Eastern restaurant Artichoke and casual Thai eatery Bird Bird.
The croissants were assessed on the quality of the pastry and the flavour and texture of the salted egg yolk custard. Each of the three elements were scored on a scale of one to five.
The panellists thought some of the croissants were bread like and chewy, while the custard filling in some were either too milky or sweet. Others were stodgy and did not flow.
Chef Shen, who had not tried a salted egg yolk croissant before the taste test, says: “This taste test shows that we still have some way to go in creating a well-rounded product.”
Ranked according to taste test results
Where: Three outlets including 30 Penhas Road and 02-33 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road; various opening hours; go to www.antoinette.com.sg
Price: $6.50+ for takeaway, $6.50++ for dine-in, pre-order required for orders of20 or more
Flavour of custard: 2.3/5
Texture of custard: 3.3/5
Mr Wong says: “I like the crispy ends and the pastry has a balanced butteriness, but the sweetness of the custard is overwhelming and its texture can be smoother.”
Chef Shen says of the filling: “It tastes like a sweet lotus paste or red bean paste and its thick consistency reminds me of mashed potato.”
2. DA PAOLO GASTRONOMIA
Where: Six outlets including 01-01 Cluny Court, 501 Bukit Timah Road and B1-K8 Paragon, 290 Orchard Road; various opening hours; go to dapaolo.com.sg
Flavour of custard: 4/5
Texture of custard: 2.7/5
Ms Tan says: “The custard has the strongest salted egg yolk flavour of the lot and there is a good balance of sweet and savoury. However, the pastry is too heavy and bread-like.”
Chef Shen says: “The pastry has a nice, elastic texture and the flavour of the custard is miles ahead of the rest in delivering the salted egg yolk taste.”
3. KOKOMAMA MARKETPLACE
Where: 01-01 School of the Arts, 1 Zubir Said Drive; tel: 6835-7898; open: 11am to 10.30pm (Mondayto Thursday), 11am to 11pm (Friday and Saturday); 11am to10pm(Sunday); go towww.kokomama.sg
Flavour of custard: 1.5/5
Texture of custard: 3.7/5
Mr Wong says: “I don’t like the custard as it tastes like curry and is very salty, but it is creamy and oozes out beautifully.”
Ms Tan says: “The pastry has a good crunch and is buttery, the custard is properly emulsified and has a great consistency. But it tastes nothing like salted egg.
4. BLACK & INK
Where: 168 Changi Road; tel: 9620-1022; open:10amto7pm(Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday),10amto 9pm, (Friday and Saturday), closed on Monday and Tuesday; go to www.facebook.com/blackandink
Price: $5.50, only 20 croissants available daily
Flavour of custard: 2.2/5
Texture of custard: 2.2/5
Ms Tan says: “The croissant looks good until you eat it. It feels like a cop-out to slice it in half and spoon in the custard. You don’t get the surprise of an oozy filling.”
Mr Wong says: “The croissant is dry and not buttery and it seems the recipe is tweaked to suit the heaviness of the filling.”
5. FLAVOUR FLINGS
Where: Block 121 Hougang Avenue 1, 01-1348; tel: 6286-0051; open: 11am to4pmand 5.30 to 7pm(Monday,Wednesday to Friday);9amto 4pmand 5.30 to7pm(Saturday);9amto4pm and 5.30 to9pm(Sunday); closed on Tuesday
Price: $7.50, available from 5.30pm, takeaway only; available for dine-in from April 1
Flavour of custard: 2/5
Texture of custard: 1.7/5
Chef Shen says: “The inside of the pastry is papery, but the flavour of the custard is quite balanced.”
Mr Wong says: “The pastry is too chewy and the filling tastes like a very thick custard with no particular flavour.”
6. BRIDGE CAFE
Where:31 Seah Street; tel: 6333-4453; open: 3 to 11pm (Tuesday to Thursday),3pm to1am (Friday), 11am to 1am (Saturday), 11am to5pm (Sunday), closed on Monday; go to www.dineatbridge.com.sg
Price: $5.90, sold from 3 to6pm on weekdays and from 11amon weekends
Flavour of custard: 1.7/5
Texture of custard: 2.2/5
Chef Shen says: “The pastry tastes like a choux pastry, but it is good that I can feel the grease from the butter when I am tearing the pastry.The custard is not distinctive– it is neither sweet nor salty.”
Ms Tan says: “The filling has a vague milkiness, but no salted egg yolk flavour.”