6 Best Korean Desserts in Hong Kong
K-pop, K-drama and now K-desserts—bring it on, says Joanne Lee, who samples the best of the SAR’s Korean dessert offerings
You don’t need to be Einstein to understand the “hot summer = cold beer” equation, but Norayo K Café brings it to another level with two popular booze-based Korean treats. The “Blue Lime-Lemon Rita”—essentially a citrus-based slushie mixed with tequila—is especially eye-catching, thanks to the upside-down bottle of Corona suspended from the top of the glass. Yes, it sounds crazy, but the sweet-sour base stays at the bottom while the beer floats on the top. As you drink the base, more Corona slowly flows in and the drink gradually turns beautifully greenish-blue, as you turn beautifully tipsy. Meanwhile, the mango “sulbing” shaved ice is comprised of ice, soju and mango, topped with roasted almond chips for a refreshing, boozy concoction.
2/F, Southgate Commercial Centre, 29 Granville Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 9695-1591.
Nice Ice Baby
While not new in town, Hanbing is nevertheless a must-try for Korean dessert lovers: It’s all about the “snow ice,” a crumbly version of traditional shaved ice. Mango snow ice is the shop’s best-seller, but the blueberry cheesecake snow ice is also worth-trying—the tart dried blueberries balance out the sweetness of the vanilla ice cream and blueberry sauce. Watermelon snow ice, recently added to the restaurant’s seasonal menu, is also worth ordering—ice-cold red watermelon balls topped with fluffy, sweet shaved ice made of milk frozen under low temperature. The ice melts quickly, turning a lovely pink shade as it mixes with the watermelon juice. It’s only on the menu until the end of August, so grab some watermelon action while you can.
Shop 4201K-4202K, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, 3791-2653.
Too much of a good thing at Hanbing? Snow way
The Real Deal
Don’t be deceived by Bingo Korean Dessert Café’s low-key exterior—a ton of tasty Korean treats lurk within, watermelon shaved ice being one of its most popular. Shaved ice mixed with condensed milk and watermelon balls are put inside half a watermelon, which is then topped with ice cream in cones, and chocolate sauce drizzled over for good measure. Don’t forget to order injeolmi toast, which is essentially a warm rice cake sandwich covered with ice cream. The rich cinnamon and soybean powder on the toast offers an authentic Korean dessert experience. The café is planning to add a bibimbap (Korean mixed rice) style dessert, topped with grapes, banana, kiwi and blueberry, sweet red bean paste and ice cream. Yum.
Shop A, G/F, Kimberly Mansion, 15 Austin Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2739-0633.
Be a watermelon man at Bingo
Pass the Poppers
Korean honeycomb ice cream was all the rage in the city last year. While this is still going strong, Grandy Mary offers a variation—”honey poppers,” little sweet jelly balls that burst in the mouth. Opt for ice cream or frozen yogurt soft serve, and jazz it up with your favored ingredients. Honey poppers not enough? Get it with a side of honeycomb instead. The shop also offers popular options such as popcorn soft serve, sundaes and ice cream macarons.
Shop 1, G/F, Sun Shine Building, 6G Belcher’s Street, Shek Tong Tsui, 6879-8888.
If you’re looking for the classic ice cream cone, you’ve come to the wrong place. While Bingco offers awesome vanilla and chocolate ice cream, plus a weekly special which includes conventional flavors (green tea, chocolate mint) and less conventional ones (Chinese medicine?). The cones themselves are long, J-shaped tubes made from corn which Bingco imports from Korea and bakes itself. A popular street dessert in K-Land, the corn cones are packed with ice cream which spills out of either end: Fast slurping required.
Shop A, G/F, 60 Bute St., Mong Kok, 2217-8528; Shop A2, G/F, 3 Lau Sin St., Tin Hau, 2701-9006.
Bingco: We know, but just go with it
The Color Purple
Keen to jump on the purple sweet potato craze that’s hitting the city, Sai Ying Pun’s Seoulmate Café has come up with a purple potato range for its dessert menu. The “Purpling Potato Cheesecake” is our favorite—lavender-colored pastry topped with more purple potato. The “Purpling Potato Ajumma” is essentially toast filled with rice cake, topped with a scoop of ice cream, purple potato powder and nuts. Remember to grab a “Purpling Potato Latte” to complete your meal—the drink is light in flavor but with a rich taste of purple potato, just in case you haven’t had enough yet. Skin looking slightly puce? It’ll pass.
G/F, 83 Third St., Sai Ying Pun, 2104-3788.