Handmade desserts are the coolest things
Hongkongers have a taste for classy, handmade desserts. Here's the scoop on the city's favourite new confections
Ice lollies bring back a lot of fond childhood memories on a hot summer's day. They recall fun if unsuccessful home-made attempts owing to our obsession with checking the freezer every 10 minutes. Considering the fact that the entire culinary world is working to resurrect handcrafted and all-natural products; it is not surprising how well-received Lola's Ice Pops (lolasicepops.com) has been since it debuted at the Island East Market.
One-year-old Lola's is the brainchild of three young mums who met through their children's playgroup. Their icy treats include the refreshing cantaloupe-yuzu-lime and the creamy green tea latte with red beans, and are sold at The Bottle Shop in Sai Kung, Mavericks on Pui O beach and PMQ's Night Market. They are popular with children and adults alike especially after their collaboration with Central's Common Room to launch several "boozeicles" infused with sake, volka and Frangelico in June.
Inspired by New York's thriving food truck scene, Hong Kong-born, New York-bred Eddie Chan jumped on the bandwagon of gourmet lollies with N*ice Pops (nicepops.hk) three months ago. With his creative background and collaborations with street artists such as 4get, Stern Rockwell, Zoie Lam of Zlism and Cara To (alias Caratoes), Chan is marketing his N*ice Pops treats as something edgy and sexy.
There are videos on YouTube showing them making their icepops and the street artists painting the N*ice Pops kitchen in Ap Lei Chau. Designers have also created one-of-a-kind freezers for pop-ups and retailers, including Cocktail Jojo in Wan Chai and Ho Lok store in Big Wave Bay. Chan's inventive recipes are inspired by Mexican paletas, seasonal cocktails and healthy juices. They include Gosling's rum with caramel and burnt pineapple, and berry-kiwi-balsamic. Granita-style crushed ice desserts will be added to the menu soon. Vanessa Yung
Classic French pastries
Move over macarons - traditional French pastries are taking the city by storm. The crowds are now flocking to places such as Dalloyau and Angelina to enjoy a sit-down indulgence of delicious cakes with history.
Dalloyau (shop 403, 4/F Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 3185 8330) has a company pedigree that dates back more than 340 years to when Charles Dalloyau supplied pastries and cakes to King Louis XIV. Come here for the famed opera cake, named after the Opéra Garnier in Paris. It's a dense cake with layers of chocolate ganache, coffee cream and a base of joconde biscuit. The Dalloyau is nutty heaven with almond meringue and praline cream, covered with crushed caramelised hazelnut. A lighter option is the mango and passion fruit mousse or the intensely flavoured lemon tart filled with lemon curd.
Angelina (shop 3025, 3/F Lane Crawford, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, tel: 3188 0842) was started in 1903 by Austrian confectioner Antoine Rumpelmayer. It was named after his daughter-in-law.
One of its signature desserts is the Mont-Blanc, featuring a meringue base and Chantilly cream, covered with chestnut cream vermicelli. Another classic is the chocolate éclair, a choux pastry oblong filled with chocolate crème pâtissière and topped with crisp dark chocolate.
A citrus option is the lemon tart topped with vanilla marshmallows, while a fun option is the Paris-New York, where choux pastry is filled with a pecan praline light cream and topped with crunchy pecan praline.
For the afternoon tea set both outlets work on a first come, first served basis. You have a better chance of getting a seat in the evening, just pray that your favourite pastries haven't sold out by then. Bernice Chan
Giving customers a wide choice should be a priority for any eatery that wants to turn a profit. But there are two new dessert shops that each specialise in only one fruit. You will be surprised by the multifarious uses the mango and durian are put to by the outlets in Yuen Long and Tsim Sha Tsui.
Musang King (shop D, Lee Fat House, 5 Yan Lok Square, Yuen Long, tel: 2402 3039) imports the Musang King, the most expensive and desired of all durian, from Malaysia. Although it's only in season in June, the shop stores the fruit at minus 18 degrees Celsius, so fans can enjoy the delicacy year round. Most dessert shops use D24 durian, which is famous for its smooth flesh. Musang King has a much stronger flavour than the D24 and the shop uses it in egg puddings, puffs, mochis, pancakes, ice cream, crêpes, strudels and mooncakes. In spite of its remote location, the Yuen Long shop has queues of customers long after the sun goes down. Due to its popularity, the owners have just opened an outlet in Causeway Bay (28-30 Haven Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2618 9032).
MangoChaCha (shop 5, 33-35 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2723 2777) uses the crimson Irwin mango from Taiwan to make soufflés, puff rolls, waffles, nuomici, toast and roll cakes. Sea salt is widely available at the shop to bring out the flavour of the mango, which is famous for its mild, pleasant and sweet aroma. Other products include mango jam, wine, facial masks and vinegar. Elaine Yau
Honeycomb soft serve
Forget about frozen yogurt or liquid nitrogen ice cream. The hottest frozen treat in town right now is fresh milk soft serve topped with a slab of oozy honeycomb. The craze, started by Softree in Korea and later Honey Creme in Taiwan, has hit Hong Kong with two independent shops opening in Hung Hom and Mong Kok.
Honey Granny (shop B3, Whampoa Estate Tak Man Building, 29 Tak Man Street, Hung Hom, tel: 9081 5675) imports honeycomb from Nantou in Taiwan, which is soaked in longan honey for two weeks for a more layered flavour. The light and airy ice cream is made with New Zealand milk to a South Korean recipe.
The founders of Honey Sparkling (shop 8, 2 Kwong Wah Street, Mong Kok, tel: 3489 2928) also own a fashion brand and are keen to support local businesses, ensure the freshness of their honeycomb by sourcing from a bee farm in Yuen Long. For a rich and smooth texture, they use the extra thick Hokkaido 3.6 milk in their ice cream, which is also available in a matcha flavour. Their menu is slightly more extensive with a larger range of toppings, house-made sauces and honey-based drinks. Neither shop uses stabilisers and the honeycomb is cut to order to ensure the comb loses no honey before it is put on your ice cream. Be prepared to wait in line at both shops, especially after dinnertime. Honey Granny is planning to open shops in Kowloon City, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay. Vanessa Yung