Worldwide icon-chevron-right Asia icon-chevron-right Hong Kong icon-chevron-right Desserts from around the world you didn’t know existed in Hong Kong
Manakamana Nepali Restaurant
Photograph: Facebook/Manakamana Nepali Restaurant

Desserts from around the world you didn’t know existed in Hong Kong

Extraordinary flavours we didn’t know we needed, until now!

By Time Out Hong Kong
Advertising

Tired of staying home and can’t wait to travel again? We know, us too! Thankfully, travel restrictions can't stop us from exploring our very own food paradise in Hong Kong. In fact, there are some desserts from around the world that you may not have even heard of, yet here they are, right on our doorsteps. So, whether you’re reminiscing your last trip to the other side of the globe, or just looking to challenge your taste buds, forget about your instant noodles for a second and transport yourself beyond the city with this flight of unusual desserts. By Elaine Wong

RECOMMENDED: Travelling to another culinary destination is easier than you think in Hong Kong. We’ve got ‘tickets’ to take you to IndiaIndonesia and even a guide to travel back in time for traditional Chinese dishes.

Desserts from around the world and where you can find them in Hong Kong

Kwai Yue Cake Shop
Kwai Yue Cake Shop
Photograph: Elaine Wong

Chiu Chow mooncakes

Shopping Bakeries Kowloon City

Mooncake season comes along every September, but that's not enough for die-hard mooncake lovers. The good news is that Kwai Yue Zai, a speciality cake shop in Kowloon City, makes mooncakes of the flaky Chiu Chow kind all year round, as well as other cakes, sweets, pastries, and buns. While these mooncakes contain fillings similar to those in Cantonese ones, such as lotus seed and red bean paste, they don’t look or taste like conventional mooncakes. Taro is the most traditional flavour for these mooncakes, which are wrapped in layer upon layer of thin, crispy, and buttery pastry. So, for something a little less predictable to share with the family this year, consider grabbing a box of four assorted Chiu Chow mooncakes for about $300.

Coffee in the Sand
Coffee in the Sand
Photograph: Elaine Wong

Turkish kunefe

Restaurants Islands District

Having relocated from Mong Kok to the much more secluded neighbourhood of Ma Wan, Coffee on the Sand attracts curious patrons, as well as coffee enthusiasts. Aside from offering Turkish coffee, which is brewed in a cezve (Turkish coffee pot) half-buried in a pot of sand, and an assortment of award-winning coffee beans, the cafe also has a special baked dessert on the menu called kunefe, a Turkish ‘pancake’ made from crispy dough, cheese, and syrup, which is common in the Mediterranean city of Antakya. Grab a spoonful of vanilla ice-cream, then have a bite of the stretchy cheese, coated with crunchy, vermicelli-like strands of kadayif dough for an eruption in texture, highlighted by a surprisingly smooth combination of flavours. Inspired by Turkish and Hong Kong culture, the people behind this shop are constantly coming up with new menu ideas and creations, and they're also passionate about coffee. If you’re ever in the area, don’t miss out on this hidden gem.

Advertising
Zahrabel Dining Club
Zahrabel Dining Club
Photograph: Elaine Wong

Baklava

Restaurants Wan Chai

One of the most popular desserts in the Middle East and Central Asia, baklava has remained in the hearts of many. It’s not hard to see why, what with the crunchiness of honeyed nuts and the paper-thin layers of filo pastry, together in sweet harmony. Fortunately, we don’t have to travel across the continent to have a taste of baklava and instead can pop on over Wan Chai's Zahrabel Dining Club. Apart from its most sought-after pistachio baklava ($80) – which consists of a rather generous amount of pistachios – Zahrabel’s very own creation of Lebanese-inspired date fingers are also worth a try. Pair these with a complimentary cup of Lebanese mint tea or coffee, and you’re set for a perfect evening.

Manakamana Nepali Restaurant
Manakamana Nepali Restaurant
Photograph: Elaine Wong

Gulab jamun and kulfi

Restaurants Nepali Jordan

Brace yourself for the sweetest item on this list – nope, they’re not doughnut holes – these are gulab jamun ($35), deep-fried dough balls made with khoya (milk solids) which originates from the Indian subcontinent and offered at Manakamana Nepali Restaurant in Hong Kong. To counter the powerful flavours of Indian curry, gulab jamun is soaked in an aromatic syrup and made to be extra treacly. For those that prefer a more refreshing dessert, a scoop of Manakamana’s homemade kulfi (Indian-Nepali ice-cream) ($38) is the perfect item to cool down with. Though be warned that kulfi can also be quite filling as it is made from condensed milk, resulting in a much denser version of ice-cream. While kulfi is not readily available at Manakamana right at this moment due to disrupted imports, it is expected to make a grand return within the next few weeks.

Advertising
Bean Mountain
Bean Mountain
Photograph: Facebook/Bean Mountain

Ching ming jai puddings

Shopping Specialist food and drink Causeway Bay

Ching ming jai might sound harmless enough, that is until you realise it’s also known as ‘gai si tang cha guo’ in Cantonese, which literally translates to ‘chicken poo vine tea cake’… But fret not – despite its unique name, ‘chicken poo vine’ is actually just the informal term for pederia scandens, a plant recognised by Chinese medicine to have detoxifying and anti-inflammatory benefits. Although ching ming jai puddings used to be served during Ching Ming Festival, and later as a common snack for kids, the intense labour required to make these steamed rice cakes have made it commercially unviable, hence only a handful of shops still sell them in the city now. While most people follow the village recipes by adding peanuts and other stuffing, Bean Mountain is one of the few stores that stick to the traditional Hakka recipe of no filling, allowing the subtle salty-sweet aromas from the plant to come through. On a side note, ching ming jai may not be readily available at Bean Mountain since the weather and ongoing pandemic have currently affected the sourcing of pederia scandens. In which case, you can opt for their hee pan go (Hakka rice cake) and other cha guo (pudding cakes). All the cakes here are available at $20 for three pieces.

Hello sweet tooth! More desserts to try below.

Recommended

    You may also like

      Advertising