Shaved ice, steamed egg milk, ice cream – cool down in summer with iced treats from four of the best dessert shops in Hong Kong
Mango shaved ice cream, fruit-flavoured shaved ice imported from Japan, fruity milk shake custard, liquid nitrogen ice cream – where to go for some of ht best cooling treats as summer gets hotter and stickier
It’s only the end of July, and the weather in Hong Kong will continue to range from hot to hotter for at least a couple more months. Cooling iced desserts are a great antidote to the summer heat and humidity, and here are a few places that give these cold treats an Asian twist.
1. Chung Kee
This popular Chinese dessert franchise started out in Sham Shui Po, West Kowloon, in 1981 and has been expanding ever since. Chung Kee now operates 13 branches across the city, mostly in Kowloon and the New Territories. The franchise is known for its glutinous rice flour dumplings and fruit-flavoured jelly.
The store manager of the founding branch in Sham Shui Po says the chain’s shaved ice creams are also a draw for customers, with the mango flavour being the most popular. The shaved ice cream, made using a special machine, is light and delicate, and melts quickly on the tongue. Chung Kee also serves regular ice cream.
Chung Kee, multiple locations including Smiling Plaza, 162-188 Un Chau Street, Shum Shui Po, tel: 2387 7819
2. Shari Shari Kakigori House
Kakigori – shaved ice flavoured with syrups and other ingredients – is wildly popular in Japan. Shingo Take has brought the dessert to Hong Kong with his Shari Shari Kakigori House, first to Causeway Bay, which he opened two years ago, and then to Central last year.
Take uses home-made syrups and flavoured pastes, and is so obsessive about quality that he even imports his ice from Japan. He says Hong Kong water, which contains chlorine and calcium, isn’t as pure as Japanese water.
“Kakigori is distinctive from other Asian shaved ice in that it is fluffier and softer,” says Take, who makes seasonal syrup flavours such as sakura, available in cherry blossom season between March and May, and a creamy Japanese sweet sake, sold in winter. The current summer favourite is mango lassi, but Take says his matcha cream and strawberry flavours are also popular.
Shari Shari Kakigori House, 14 Haven Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2529 1223; 47 Staunton Street, SoHo, tel: 2661 2347
3. Cong Sao Star Dessert
It’s not unusual to see a queue of customers outside any of the branches of Cong Sao Star Desserts, which specialises in fruit-based treats. The dessert chain also serves classic Chinese desserts such as steamed egg milk or sesame tong sui (sweet soup).
The fruity desserts that make up the bulk of the menu are varied, and the ones that appeal to customers looking for an ice-cold treat include mango milk shake custard, which uses imported mangoes, and longan sorbet.
Cong Sao Star Dessert, multiple locations including 11 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2278 2622;
23 Tai Wong St East, Wan Chai, tel: 3580 0819
4. Lab Made
Its scientific theme complemented by staff wearing T-shirts with white lab coats printed on them, Lab Made is a favourite place for ice cream in Tai Hang. Instead of churning the ice cream in a machine, it’s frozen in minutes with the help of liquid nitrogen.
The shop opened in 2012, and store manager Lance Law says that since then, they’ve offered more than 150 flavours. He says the most popular – and a mainstay of the selection of four flavours offered daily – is sea salt gelato topped with caramel.
“‘Ice cream reinvented’ is our slogan, and this means using a more innovative way of producing it. Our customers can treat it as an interactive experience – enjoying their ice cream while watching how it is made,” Law says.
Lab Made, 6 Brown Street, Tai Hang, tel: 2670 0071