Hong Kong’s best sweet soups
No visit to Kowloon City is complete without popping into Chiu Chow Hop Shing for a post-meal dessert. The 50-years-old institution dishes out traditional sweet soups from Chiu Chow. It can be dizzying for first-timers deciding what to get from the exhaustive dessert menu, but you can’t go wrong with the signature lotus seed and dried persimmon sweet soup or the bean curd sheet and water-chestnut soup with egg (pictured).
This North Point dive has a queue forming every evening just for its glutinous rice ball dumplings (aka tong yuen). Take a nibble and the chewy exterior bursts with sesame or peanut filling. Slurp them with the accompanying soup flavoured with rock sugar and ginger. Don’t miss other treats like red bean soup, steamed milk custard or tofu pudding with mixed fruit. It's cheap as chips too with five rice ball dumplings going for less than $15.
For the perfect winter warmer, nothing beats a helping of some steaming hot, black sesame soup. This thick, charcoal-coloured wonder is a great antidote to winter chills and is the perfect sweet ending to any meal. Gai Gai Dessert, which has been Michelin-recommended for three consecutive years, is lauded for its take on sweet soups and it gives you the option to add glutinous rice balls for extra texture. Other desserts also worth ordering here include the gingery sweet potato soup and walnut soup.
There’s a wealth of fantastic street food and authentic local cuisine to be found in Sham Shui Po. One place to stop is neighbourhood favourite Luk Lam Dessert. Having been in business for more than 30 years, Luk Lam is regarded as one of the best dessert shops in town and serves rarer sweet soups like one made with chestnut during autumn and winter. Crumbs of chestnut are added to the rich dish, for depth of texture with every slurp. If you have room, try the signature tofu pudding too.
This Kowloon spot has been serving the famous Macanese assorted bean sweet soup dessert, ja ja, for a century now. It follows an authentic recipe that uses sago, red beans, red kidney beans, green beans, taro and other ingredients. It can get pretty chewy when you dig in. Alternatively, go for the sweet potato soup or one of the huge variety of sago soups. Take your pick of mango, watermelon, taro, coconut and more. During summer, a helping of the signature grass jelly is incredibly refreshing.
Founded during the same early colonial period when the British barracks were first established in Sai Ying Pun, Yuen Kee has been refining its sang ji sheng (mulberry mistletoe) tea with lotus seed and egg recipe for some 160 years. The clear browny soup lingers in your mouth with a light and nourishing sweetness. Yuen Kee takes its desserts seriously – all the seeds’ piths are still removed by hand!
Also known as Leaf Dessert, this slope-side eatery has consistently attracted diners every day thanks to its classic Chinese desserts like glutinous rice balls with peanuts and coconut in syrup. A popular spot for some late-night meals and to satisfy any sweet cravings after dinner or drinks. Its signature green bean soups and black sesame sweet soups are great during winters.