Of all the things that I look forward to when planning a trip to Hong Kong, sampling desserts at one of the many dessert shops is high on my list. Luckily there are plenty of great dessert shops in and around Causeway Bay where I can get my fix after a good meal and/or while Mrs A|T shops.
View Hong Kong 2012 Dessert Tour in a larger map
While Hong Kong has all kinds of dessert places, I prefer to seek out some of the more traditional Hong Kong style sweets that are difficult to find or replicate anywhere else in the world. Unlike western desserts that are usually cream based and very sweet, Hong Kong desserts are typically very light and only cost a few dollars per serving (in US or Canadian dollars) which means that you can easily go dessert hopping after a meal and not feel guilty.
Two of the most traditional Hong Kong Desserts are Dun Lai and Tofu-fa. Dun Lai is a steamed milk pudding and is a favorite of Mrs A|T since she has a soy allergy. It’s a little firmer than a custard and is typically sweetened only very lightly. Our favorite place to have this is at the Yee Shun Milk Company in Causeway bay. Traditionally Dun Lai is served flavored with ginger, but at Yee Shun they have many options including coffee and chocolate flavors. It can also be served hot or cold.
Tofu-fa is a tofu based pudding. To many westerners used to Tofu being served with savory sauces the idea of a tofu based dessert may seem strange, but it is worth trying. Tofu-fa is made with the softest possible form of tofu, where it pretty much barely holds together. A decent jiggle of the bowl with start to break it up. In this form the tofu has almost no flavor but an amazing silky texture that makes an amazing dessert when paired with any kind of sweet liquid. There are many great places to get this dessert in Hong Kong but my favorite is Yan Wo Dou Bun Chong also in Causeway Bay. Like Dun Lai, the Tofu-fa is served hot or cold and is traditionally paired with a ginger sugar syrup or just a plain simple sugar syrup.
Another place that is well known for Tofu-fa is Auntie Sweet near the Tin Hau MTR station, but what they are famous for are their durian based desserts. I tried out their signature dish which is cold tofu-fa with a durian sauce and fresh durian fruit on top. Durian is infamous for its pungent scent that people may love or hate. The smell is so strong and offensive to some that it is banned in many places. The flavor and texture can range from soft and sweet with an almond flavor to firmer and garlicy/gingery. Unfortunately the one I had at Auntie Sweet (on the right) was very much on the garlic and gingery side and I didn’t really enjoy it that much.
Auntie Sweet also serves the contemporary tapioca and jelly style of dessert. These desserts are typically made with grass jelly, coconut jelly, or tapioca served with fruit and fruit purée or juice. One of the most popular places for these desserts is Honeymoon Dessert which has become so famous that it has grown to a full chain of dessert shops. There are two in Causeway Bay, a full sit-down restaurant version at the World Trade Center mall and a counter service version at the Times Square mall food court. My favorite dish from Honeymoon is mango and sweet black sticky rice in coconut milk.
While the quality and value of the desserts at Honeymoon are still very good, being a chain makes it a little less hip so we also checked out a couple of small shops. One of them, Cong Sao, is located next to the Holiday Inn Express near Times Square Mall in Causeway Bay. This place serves slightly more modern and stylish versions of the fruit desserts. This watermelon and tapoica dessert is very refreshing on a hot and humid Hong Kong evening.
Another place that we loved is Xiao Tian Gu near the Tin Hau MTR station. Xiao Tian Gu is in a bit of an industrial area where a number of new little restaurants and dessert places are opening up. This was my favorite of all the fruit dessert places. While the presentation of this mango and coconut tapioca dessert isn’t fancy, the tapioca has just the right amount of al dente bite to it.
I’ll follow-this map up with mini reviews of each shop. Be sure to check back soon for updates! For now be sure to check out the other spots from my Hong Kong Eatinery.
This post was submitted to Travel Photo Thursday hosted by Budget Travelers Sandbox.
Now that’s my kind of vacation!
Great post… OK, I’ll have the mango and coconut tapioca, thanks! Not so sure about durian sauce from the smell of that fruit, as I experienced it back in Australia with Vietnamese friends who simply love it!
It looks so yammy 🙂
I had no idea that Hong Kong had so many dessert options, they all look delicious!
And this doesn’t even include the amazing western and asian bakeries!
A rich variety of dessert options which all look yummy. It’d be difficult to have just one!
Luckily you don’t have to have just one. My family laughs at me when I insist on going to multiple places for dessert, but then no one ever says no.
I wasn’t aware Hong Kong was known for its desserts! I’m not the biggest dessert fan, but I do like seeking out traditional and local foods.
I know, right? I used to think about French pastries when I thought of dessert, but now my favorite desserts are from Hong Kong and London. Hey, I think I just found a possible link there.
What a great comprehensive list!
Your Hong Kong “eatinerary” is so much fun. I’ll have the tapioca!
Oh my, they look so delicious even that durian based dessert. I love visiting Asian pastry shops and bakeries. If I ever go to Hong Kong, you are my go-to source, Ryan! (especially for food) The mango and coconut tapioca dessert sounds so good!
I’m happy to help. That’s what I’m here for! 🙂
That is so interesting! I need to make a note of these for when we go again to Hong Kong. We usually eat Western treats when we are in China as we never seem to be able to find any Chinese. Thanks for the tips!
You had me at “dessert.” The mango tapioca looked especially delicious.
I really must get back to Hong Kong. I remember trying the tofu-fa, and loved it.
Teresa (alias Bluedolphin_Stefania) here. Thanks for the interesting as well as photos of Hong Kong desserts. Wow! It is great that you have tried out all these desserts where I only have been to one or two being there for 3 months but do not know how to get around. Besides, my Mum was with me so it is kinda difficult to scout around.
Have a greata weekend.
P.S. So this on Google+ site.
I loved the dessert places in Causeway Bay! I went to one that had this yellow soup-looking one with tapioca balls in it, mango flavour. So yummy!