我最愛的香港甜品 – my top Hong Kong desserts

As you might remember, my relationship with the US was like a friendzone, there was something that I like about the States, but it didn’t ‘click’ at the end. One of the things I loved about image (10)living in the USA was the variety of food I could eat. Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Hawaiian, Jamaican, Korean, French, American – you name it, I can point you where to eat it.
Did I mention the amount of Hong Kong-style cafes and dessert places was really satisfying? Huge Cantonese community and lot’s of Hong Kong international students made it possible. I wanted goodies, I had them.

Since we moved to Ireland, specifically to Limerick, we hardly can eat any Asian food that is not made by me. Why? Because I make it more ‘real’ than the restaurants here. The food is OK, but they usually add too much sauce, it’s always too salty. And did I mention they have a combo where they add both rice and french fries?

Now you can imagine how we are craving for some good Hong Kong food. We’re like 8 or 10 weeks ahead our trip and we probably already have studied like 50% of foodie blogs. I won’t lie to you – the main purpose of our trip is food, I dream about clay pot or a sizzling pork chops on my cow-shaped dish. I know the more correct answer should be ‘Oh, I want to meet my Readers’ or ‘See our dear friends we haven’t seen in a year’ but let’s face it – FEEDERS BEFORE READERS. I know it’s probably the lamest thing you’ve heard in a while, but1966325_220288218161643_1458958659_o give me a point for trying.

But I wouldn’t be myself if I haven’t forced Sing to look up some desserts. Even he loves HK-style desserts, because they usually are not as sweet as western ones, have different kinds of flavors like red beans, green tea etc. Gosh, I already feel all those extra kilograms coming, but once a year I can treat myself.

For those who are unfamiliar with local desserts, we made a list of our top Hong Kong desserts. These are the must try, doesn’t matter if it’s your first time or fiftieth time. And by ‘dessert’ I mean ‘anything sweet’ because Sing and I had a discussion what is and what is not a dessert so we just stick to my awesome definition. Because I love anything that’s sweet.

砵仔糕 – Put chai ko

It is said that put chai ko has its origins in Taishan, but it’s extremely popular in Hong Kong and that’s one of my husband’s childhood memories. The cake is made from white or brown sugar, long-grain rice flour with a little wheat starch or cornstarch; it’s made by steaming the batter until it’s cooked through and left to cool down to the room temperature. It used to be served in aluminium (or porcelain) bowls, but we got the ones sold in bags. You should eat them by sticking two skewers in.  I love the plain white with beans!

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雞蛋仔 – Egg waffle 

There’s not a single person who wouldn’t love it. Even my friend who for some reason hates going to HK-cafes loves it! It can be served with some fruits or sweet sauces (if you go to a cafe), but mostly it’s eaten plain – it’s already delicious! It was ever ranked #1 Hong Kong street snack and if I have a chance I just stuff my face with it, trying to eat as much as I can before Sing reaches for the waffle. You know that new song by Rihanna ‘Bi*ch better have my money’? I’m more like ‘Bi*ch better have my waffle’ – that’s how much I don’t want to share the waffle with my very own husband. I actually should make a T-shirt like that for myself.
Anyway, egg waffles are made from a sweet, egg-rich batter that is cooked on a hot griddle, a special frying pan with small round cells (you can get one for yourself on eBay!). The batter is poured over the pan and heated forming small waffle bubbles. I like them plain with their original taste, but in some places you can get them in a variety of flavours such as chocolate, green-tea, ginger, etc.

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豆腐花 – sweet tofu pudding

There are many types of tofu and many ways to prepare it – mapo tofu, pickled tofu, my husband’s favorite stinky tofu. It all depends where you try it, in Northern China it’s usually served with soy sauce, in Taiwan, on the other hand it is served with sweet toppings like cooked peanuts, adzuki beans, cooked oatmeal, tapioca, mung beans, and a syrup flavored with ginger or almond. During the summer, douhua is served with crushed ice; in the winter, it is served warm. But since we talk about Hong Kong we should mention the Cantonese version (although I think I would love the Taiwanese one as well). This version is served with sweet ginger or clear syrup, or a mixture with black bean paste (Sing gives both thumbs up) , you can also find a version with coconut milk which is personally my favorite. Traditionally it is made in wooden bucket, which is sold a木桶豆腐花 as part of dim sum.

150409 圓山台灣料理 76-即撞豆腐花                                                    (pic source garycwm.blogspot.ie)

燉蛋 – steamed egg dessert

There’s a chance you ate some steamed eggs in your life. I often make a Korean version of steamed eggs, it’s really fast, easy and tasty. And with a slight change of the ingredients you can get my runner-up in a dessert competition. You can make it yourself at home in minutes! You know you made it well if the texture is soft, silky, similar to soft tofu. I’m sure you can find plenty of recipes online, I stick with this one (click here) and I always recommend it to my friends. Therefore I recommend it to you!

10107600586_127.0.0.1_1098252340572                                                    (pic source food.ulifestyle.com.hk)

番薯糖水 – sweet potato soup

I hate it, it should never be on MY list, but Sing threaten me with silent days if I don’t put it here as ‘the best ever dessert’. So I put it, here you go. I’m probably the only person who doesn’t like it, even Momzilla can eat it all day (of course the hot version, cold is bad for your stomach and you die – her logic). The recipe is simple, you just boil the sweet potatoes (depends on a type you use, I use the orange color one, our old landlord’s wife uses the purple one) for a long time with rock sugar and ginger (although I don’t add ginger, usually because I just forget). With its simple recipe and large crop supply, sweet potato soup is one of the most accessible and affordable tong sui.

IMG_2060                                                    (pic source tongpakfu.com.hk)

And since we mentioned tong sui

There’s no Hong Kong dessert post without tong sui (糖水). It literally means sugar/sweet water and it’s a general term for any sweet, warm soup or custard served as a dessert. Tong sui are a Cantonese specialty and are rarely found in other regional cuisines . because non-Cantonese-speaking communities don’t generally recognize, soupy desserts generally are not recognized as a therefore the term ‘tong sui’ is not used. In Hong Kong and Malaysia, there are often stalls which are just to sell different types of desserts, Sing sometimes points it out as ‘See, there’s no dessert in menu because after a meal we just go to a dessert place’. These dessert stalls have also gained prominence in oversees communities, in San Francisco Bay Area we had many different tong sui to eat at. Sadly, tong sui no more. Another great slogan for a T-shirt.
Types of desserts you can find there: sago, red bean soup, mung bean soup, black sesame soup, sweet almond soup etc. – there’s no way you won’t find anything that would suit your taste.

CusFB_TongShuiLo_Dessert_L02B                       (pic source 179.hk/CusFB_TongShuiLo_Dessert_SC.htm)

Which one you have tried or wish to try? Maybe you have your favorite (not necessarily) Hong Kong dessert? Share your experience and favorite spots. And I hope you gained some weight just by reading about those goodies!

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78 thoughts on “我最愛的香港甜品 – my top Hong Kong desserts

    1. I heard of something called Ener-G Egg Replacer – maybe if it’s not too pricey it can be a nice substitute when you make home waffles 😀 I admire you for keeping your diet, I tried not to eat meat (not even quit eggs or milk) but my strong will is not that strong haha 🙂

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  1. Gai daan zai are one of my favourites too! There’s another great waffle, looks flatter, and squarer, that gets folded up with peanut butter and condensed milk. It’s so yummy!

    Where’s all the Chinese bakery goods? I admit that I am almost physically unable to turn down a pineapple bun, especially if it’s got custard in it. And my boyfriend is all about the egg tarts. After living in Hong Kong, I see that Hong Kongers like sweets just as much as Europeans or Americans, whatever they say!

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    1. I leave egg tarts for Macau, let them claim the tarts haha 🙂 as for bakery – there’s just too many of them, my post would be 40 A4 pages long haha 🙂 sponge cake, pineapple bun with milk tea… but during summer time I like soupy desserts served cold, I love all types of buns but sometimes my throat feels too dry. Oh God, I’m so hungry right now thanks to you haha 🙂

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      1. The Macanese ones are different though! (and theirs are technically Portuguese…so they get nothing…) They’ve got the caramalization on the top. I think I might prefer them to the HK style, but of course HK style is good too.

        =) No cold soup! It’s bad for your health! =P My MIL says I’m we’re not supposed to eat too many lychees, or drink too much green tea. All bad for health….sometimes I can’t keep track of all the rules!

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        1. I heard they are different, too, but then when I think of any Macau dessert other than the tart I can’t think of anything so I just let Macau people have them 😀
          no cold, exactly 😀 but I don’t care, my MIL got into a huge fight with Sing when we went to Shanghai, it felt like 40C outside so I wanted to drink cold water but she, for some reason, knew I was on my period therefore cold drinks are twice as bad as they were normally! I didn’t care and got a cold drink and she kept complaining to Sing for an hour how we’re not going to have babies because of that one glass of cold water ;D

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          1. haha. just promise to boil some extra hung zou tong (red date soup) for that time of the month. It might placate her. I’m lucky that if MIL ever says something totally out of superstition like that, Kelvin will just tell her she’s wrong and tell me to continue what I’m doing.

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  2. I guess I havent tried any of those mentioned so far. In Xi’an they got their very own sweet desserts from which several I really like and others not so much. I guess its time for me to go to HK someday soon 🙂

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  3. Your post is just amazing, and so is your whole blog, I found out about it just a few days ago and I can’t stop reading you ! You’re so funny and all the content is always amazingly detailed, and I must tell you that you are doing here a fantastic job with that sweeeeeet post !! Also – and that’s the little worrying part for me – I have myself lived in China for 7 years, including Guangzhou (Canton) for 6 years, and I’m now wondering how on earth have I not tasted as many dishes as you did ?!!! Although I was quite well integrated among Chinese/Cantonese friends, but I really wonder what happened that they didn’t show me more than just the basics ! Anyway, for sure i’ll keep following you, and as I can see you now live in Europe, if you happen to come by Nice (French Riviera), I’ll be more than happy to meet you and Sing and hear you guys talking about Hong-Kong and more !

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  4. I like all desserts! Hehe. But I guess my favourites are 糖水 as I see that 西迷露 is considered one of those! I also love mango crepes. Every time I go to HK I go to eat desserts in a small place in an alley close to Jordan subway stop. They are delicious!

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  5. Looks good – although, sadly, not gluten-free! The ones that I used to (yes, too far away now!) enjoy, but have no idea what they are called – it’s a glutinous rice ball, filled with red bean paste, or sesame. They are sooo addictive! Any idea what I’m talking about? haha!

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  6. not a fan of lots of Hong Kong desserts but I love freshly steamed EGG CUSTARD BUNS! I’ve tried buying them here from Asian supermarkets but its just not the same as the fresh ones we ate at dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong.

    I can’t imagine sweet potato soup as a dessert, but I love western sweet potato soup when its all pureed and comes with some nutmeg or paprika seasoning to make it nice and warming in winter.

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  7. I LOVE sweet tofu pudding. Sometimes they put ginger syrup on top, but my mum makes an almond flavoured version that’s already deliciously sweet.

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  8. I do like any tofu dessert –as long as they lay off too much sugar. I tend to buy pineapple custard bun…but someone mentioned steamed ones which sounds yummy.
    Guess when I tend to have the sweet soups, etc…at Chinese wedding receptions here in Canada.

    Here in Vancouver, it’s rather fascinating the number of local Asian-Canadians at top gourmet European patisseries for a coffee and cake slice. https://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/romanticizing-the-best-asian-craze-for-european-desserts/ This may be something for you to observe as you travel worldwide outside of Asia where there are a lot of locals of Asian descent living there.

    To me the HK desserts all seem sort of the same in a nice way ….very light on the palate, greater food palate affinity for softer/jelly-like like textures and not much deep fried desserts….a good thing.

    However I don’t find the dessert taste in terms of profile …as complex as an elegant gourmet European cake or flan.

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  9. The sweet tofu pudding with coconut milk sounds good! But then anything coconut I love! To be honest, I don’t eat many desserts now. I’m happy with some mango or medjool dates! Lemon cake however I won’t say no to (but if it has eggs in, yes I’ll say no!)!

    Looking forward to your Hong Kong travels!

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  10. I remember there used to be a franchise that was quite popular in Malaysia called 记得食 and they sold the best tong sui in Malaysia, ever! I loved their 芒果捞 (mango and sago) and 炸两, OMG!!

    But I think they closed down, nowadays people become poorer and has less money to spend on desserts, so their business cannot keep up. 😦

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  11. Wow, many of these are my favourite,except the durian flvour. 豆腐花 is definitely a must, especially after a hike. Well for some of my friends that will be Qingdao beer and 豆腐花 🙂

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  12. Just want to say thanks for liking my HK posts! Great post about the desserts, we haven’t had Gai daan jai yet but we have been to yuen long to have the black jelly fruit bowl for $72, I’d suggest if you go, you take at least 4 hungry people with you!

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  13. There’s a great place for tofu fa in sham shui po. It’s really close to the MTR exit A though and if you don’t mind the most traditional and old (no air con) restaurants. this is by far the best tofu fa i’ve ever had!

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