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Ultimate bagel sandwich showdown

Who makes Hong Kong’s best bagel sandwich?

By Time Out Hong Kong |
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Montreal or Manhattan it ain’t, but Hong Kong has started to up its bagel game. Now you don’t have to look far for good lox and a thick, filling schmear. But which bagel bakery makes the best sandwich these days? Determined to find out once and for all, we put Hong Kong’s most popular bagel shops to the test.

The rules: the Time Out Hong Kong taste-testers ordered from Deliveroo, as every good office work does, and only went for bagel sandwiches listed as ‘popular’ on the app. For variety’s sake, we opted not to go for the crowd favourite – the lox sandwich – across the board. The only stipulation when it came to bagel choice was that it couldn’t be plain. Poppy seed, sesame seed, salt, everything, even – gasp! – cinnamon raisin were all fair game.

RECOMMENDED: Get baked at Hong Kong’s best local bakeries.

Who makes Hong Kong’s best bagel sandwich?

Restaurants, Bakeries

Bagels Alley (The winner)

icon-location-pin Central

The sandwich: Smoked Salmon ($70) – Norwegian smoked salmon, capers, red onion, rocket and cream cheese.

The taste: “They do have an unfair advantage in that we’re eating lox,” remarked one person on the panel. Valid point. But the lox sandwich is on point despite our panel’s baked-in biases. Dare we say it’s the best in the city. It has the right ratio of smoky, silky salmon and toppings to bagel (poppy seed). The capers are the size of pearl onions and offer the perfect salty bite to cut through the oily fish and cream cheese.  

The verdict: This bagel hits the right marks in a lot of ways, although it doesn’t have that sought-after golden brown exterior, which means something went awry in the production process. Still, if you’re looking for high-quality bagels and killer lox, this is your winner.  

Bagel Factory

The sandwich: Cracking Chicken ($78) – US chicken breast, smashed avocado, rocket salad, tomato and Sriracha sauce.

The taste: First, the positive: the chicken is moist and tender. Sadly, there isn’t much else good to say about this sandwich. One person commented: “This isn’t a bagel – it’s a hamburger bun. And even for a hamburger bun it’s mediocre.” The tomato slice looks like wet salami, the Sriracha sauce overpowers all the other flavours and the moisture from the sauce, avocado and tomato makes the bagel (sesame seed) disintegrate into a slimy mess. 

The verdict: We’ve already said too much.

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Restaurants, American

R&R Bagels (Runner-up)

icon-location-pin Central

The sandwich: Avocado Feta ($75) – smashed avocado, feta cheese, arugula, a squeeze of lemon juice and cream cheese. 

The taste: One person described it as: ‘I live in LA, my bagel must come with avocado’. The toppings are the colour of green goddess dressing and would indeed seem to be popular among the after-yoga types strolling out of Pure. The bagel itself (everything) has the crisp exterior you’re looking for, but sadly that crunch yields to a dense, chewy interior. It’s also on the small side – not big enough to prevent the bright, tangy, savoury mess from oozing out the sides as you gnaw your way through the sandwich.

The verdict: This isn’t Manhattan, folks. Lower those expectations and you’ll be satisfied with your sandwich.

Restaurants, Bakeries

Schragels

icon-location-pin Sheung Wan

The sandwich: The SchReuben ($90) – brown mustard, beef pastrami, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese.

The taste: Forgive us for nit-picking, but a Reuben sandwich is supposed to be made of corned beef and Russian dressing rather than pastrami and brown mustard. Looking past that little quibble, this sandwich is absolutely fire. The bagel (sesame seed) “just looks better than the others,” noted one taste-tester. It’s crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and the perfect vessel for the salty cured meat. We wish it came with a little more kraut, but such is life.

The verdict: The sandwiches won’t disappoint, but schwhat’s up with the schilly names, guys?

Bagel, meet coffee

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