Hong Kong Snacks
Andrea Kan goes in search of Hong Kong’s lesser-eaten snacks.
Tired of Hong Kong’s never-ending obsession with the next big ramen place, or yet another perfect egg tart? Try these mouth-watering, quintessentially Hong Kong snacks, which deserve much more attention.
If you like Crème Brûlée, try… Baked Sago Pudding
A traditional dessert commonly available in Chinese tea houses, these puddings are an Asian take on the crème brûlée. Piping hot and full of custard, sago and lotus paste, it’s a prime representative of Hong Kong’s unique East-meets-West ethos. Popular dessert shop Lotus Garden Desserts does this dish justice.
61 Sing Woo Rd., Happy Valley, 2891-5569.
If you like Milk Tea, try… Red Bean Ice
Red bean ice is a refreshing summer drink that’s a popular favorite among sugar-craving local schoolchildren. It’s made with red azuki beans, evaporated milk and rock sugar syrup, often topped with vanilla ice cream. Kwong Shing Café, a well-maintained old-school café founded in the 1960s, uses only top-quality beans and tops its drink with an impressive scoop of hand-crushed ice.
10 San Shing Avenue, Shek Wu Hui, Sheung Shui, New Territories, 2670-4501.
If you like Fishballs, try… Tea Eggs
Made by cracking a soft-boiled egg and re-boiling it for several hours in a mixture of black tea leaves, soy sauce and spices, tea eggs are a fragrant and flavorful snack. Hung Fook Tong, a Chinese herbal tea store founded more than 25 years ago, serves darn good tea eggs on-the-go.
Shop 23, Euro Trade Center, 21-23 Des Voeux Rd. Central, 2810-7987.
If you like Wife Cakes, try… Walnut Cookies
A retro bite eaten in Chinese New Year, walnut cookies are essentially balls of buttery goodness. Light and airy in texture, golden brown in color and mildly walnutty in taste, they’re (in our opinion) much better than any Western counterpart. Pat Sin Bakery, founded in the 1960s and still dearly loved by district residents, freshly bakes their famous Chinese walnut cookies in-store every day.
G/F, 197 Nam Cheong St., Sham Shui Po, 2729-9440.
If you like Pineapple Buns, try… Custard Piggy Buns
Essentially a Hong Kong equivalent of the French baguette, Piggy Buns are found throughout local bakeries and restaurants. They are shaped like a bread roll and commonly served crisply toasted, cut in half and slathered with thick layers of butter and condensed milk (hence the “custard”). The ubiquitous Tsui Wah serves an excellent rendition of this all-time favorite.
Various locations including 15 Wellington St., Central, 2525-6338.
If you like Egg Waffles, try… Egg Rolls
Crispy, fragrant and simply delicious, egg rolls are a favorite when it comes to holiday gift-giving. These sweet biscuits are normally made using butter, egg, flour and sugar, and only come in a few flavor variations. Duck Shing Ho’s egg rolls, especially their coconut-flavored ones, are renowned as Hong Kong’s best. Preservative-free and home-baked daily, they sell out within hours of opening every morning. If queuing for ages as the sun rises isn’t your thing, you can call to reserve an order.
G/F, 64 Java Rd., North Point, 2571-5049.
If you like Iced Lemon Tea, try… Hot Coke with Ginger and Lemon
This drink is a popular local remedy for colds and sore throats. No longer cold and fizzy, boiled coke—coupled with a punch of spiciness from the ginger and a hint of tartness from the lemon—makes for a syrupy sweet and effective throat-coater. Head to Wing Wa Café on your search for this soothing panacea.
106A Cha Kwo Ling Main St., Yau Tong.
If you like Egg Tarts, try… Bowl Pudding
They may look dull, but bowl pudding is a must-try. They used to be sold by hawkers on the streets, but these days you’re more likely to find them in restaurants. Soft and chewy in texture, Kwan Kee Store’s put chai go (as they’re called in Canto) are one of the best in town and are sold the old-fashioned way, in small palm-sized porcelain pots turned out onto bamboo skewers for easy eating.
115-117 Fuk Wa St., Sham Shui Po, 2720-5543.