Six brand new Chinese New Year cakes for you to try in Hong Kong for the Year of the Dog
Local chefs have been flexing their creative muscles again for Lunar New Year, testing new ingredients and combinations to bring you puddings that are sure to get the Year of the Dog off to a delicious start
Lunar New Year is just around the corner and the tradition of eating new year pudding or neen goh – whose auspicious meaning of “higher year” conveys the hope of better grades, promotions, more opportunities and prosperity in the new year – will see almost everyone having at least a bite or two.
A typical new year pudding features glutinous rice mixed with cane sugar, but creative chefs like to come up with new flavours and this year is no exception.
In no particular order, here are six new year puddings making their debut to celebrate the Year of the Dog.
1. Macadamia nut and red date (HK$268) at Hoi King Heen
Chinese executive chef Leung Fai-hung is always thinking of new ideas. One year he came up with a sweet potato and sugar cane pudding that was very colourful and delicious too. This year he has created a macadamia nut and red date pudding, using macadamia nuts from Australia and red dates from China. He chose these two ingredients not only for their taste, but also their nutritional values.
B2/F, InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong, 70 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, tel: 2731 2883
2. Durian flavour (HK$128/six pieces) at MoMo Cafe, Marriott Courtyard Sha Tin
MoMo Cafe had the Year of the Dog in mind when their culinary team created these paw-print-shaped puddings. Durian lovers will enjoy the D24 durian sourced from Malaysia, known for its creamy texture.
The durian-flavoured puddings come in the Golden Box Set, while customers can also try other flavours including roselle and plum, chrysanthemum and American ginseng, yuzu, and matcha.
2/F, Courtyard by Marriott Hong Kong Sha Tin, 1 On Ping Street, Sha Tin, tel: 3940 8788
3. Rose sugar and honey locust fruit pudding (HK$278) at Shang Palace, Kowloon Shangri-La
This two-Michelin-starred restaurant always comes up with creative pudding flavours for the Lunar New Year and this year, I’ve been told that one which will be popular is the rose sugar and honey locust fruit pudding. The Yunnan rose sugar helps boost metabolism and blood circulation, while honey locust fruit is known for cleansing the liver and is good for the eyes. Other creations available are American ginseng, fig and honey, and red date and olive nut.
Lower Level 1, Kowloon Shangri-La, 64 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, tel: 2733 8483
4. Pineapple pudding (HK$188) at the Peninsula Boutique
The Peninsula Boutique prides itself on using freshly ground glutinous rice flour, making its puddings known for their texture and flavour. Besides offering traditional new year puddings and ones flavoured with osmanthus, the new one this year is pineapple flavour for a sweet, citrus taste.
The Peninsula Arcade, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2696 6969
5. Aloe vera pudding with lotus root and jasmine (HK$388) at Lung King Heen
Chan Yan-tak, the Chinese executive chef at the Four Seasons Hong Kong, has come up with a light and textural option for the Year of the Dog. His creation of aloe vera infused with jasmine tea flavour is refreshing, and the crunchy lotus root adds some texture too. As well as able to be eaten chilled, it can also be steamed and pan-fried.
4/F, Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central, tel: 3196 8708
6. Deluxe low sugar red date pudding (HK$288) at The Royal Garden Chinese Restaurant
For those who are concerned about eating too much confectionery during the holidays, The Royal Garden features a pudding that will keep the sugar levels in check. The deluxe low sugar red date pudding is made from premium dates from Xinjiang that Chinese executive chef Ho Wai-sing has peeled and diced before adding into the pudding mixture.
Be careful what you eat at Lunar New Year – it could make or break you in 2018, according to Chinese food symbolism
The dates not only taste delicious, but are also full of vitamins, calcium and protein. Other new flavours include dried citrus peel with red bean and lotus seed, and ginger.
B2, The Royal Garden, 69 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, tel: 2733 2045