Quarantine life and social distancing have given rise to the art of home-baked bread. Yet for those of us unwilling to nurture a temperamental sourdough starter, wait hours for the dough to proof or simply don’t have the luxury of baking appliances like an oven, we can always rely on the experts for a decent loaf.
In Hong Kong, we’re fortunate to have seen more and more exceptional Western-style bakeries opening over the past five years, joining the crowd of beloved Chinese-style bakeries that churn out local favourites such as egg tarts and pineapple buns.
Here are some of the bakeries we turn to for a proper sourdough loaf, crisp croissant or indulgent pastry any day of the week:
Best for: pastries
This industrial-style bakery – Foodie Forks 2018 Editors’ Choice Best Café – was founded by Swiss pastry chef Grégoire Michaud, whose more than 25 years of experience baking includes a stint at the Four Seasons. His pastries are all exceptional – buttery croissants, flaky tarts and sugar-sweet buns – while sourdough, milk rolls and pain de mie can be bought plain or smothered with avocado, creamy roasted mushrooms and melted Gruyère for brunch in Wanchai. Bakehouse’s à-la-carte menu lists an extensive array of delightful dishes that are best enjoyed in-house – just be prepared to queue. Now open in SoHo!
SoHo: 5 Staunton Street, Central
Wanchai: 14 Tai Wong Street East
Dang Wen Li by Dominique Ansel
Best for: luxury desserts
The name Dang Wen Li is a playful nod to “Dominique” in Cantonese, perfectly encapsulating the unique, Hong Kong-themed collection created by French pastry chef Dominique Ansel. His first Hong Kong location is strong on cute Hong Kong-inspired cakes and made-to-order desserts, but it also features a solid range of viennoiserie baked on-site. The pain au chocolat and kouign amann are essential purchases, but the mochi peanut chausson is a creative option that’s available only in Hong Kong.
Read Jen’s suggestions on what to order.
Shop OTG63A, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 3–27 Canton Road, TST, 2613 8618
Best for: speciality loaves
Proof is an artisanal bakery on a leafy cul-de-sac in Happy Valley selling freshly made sourdough bread, pastries, cinnamon rolls and more. It’s a pocket-sized wheat haven that lists its daily offerings on a chalkboard menu outside, with a few speciality loaves and extra-sweet treats available at the weekend. Everything is made on-site each day by its bakers, using no preservatives, additives, improvers or stabilisers, and all its surplus products go to charity.
14 Tsun Yuen Street, Happy Valley, 6542 9788
Best for: bread
A true local legend, Kwok Cheung Li (known affectionately as KC) set up Levain Bakery in 2009, selling European-style artisanal bread and pastries. The sourdough uses 100% levain, which is rare in Hong Kong even now, but even more so when they first started – a testament to KC’s dedication to the craft. Apart from the signature sourdough, Levain’s baguettes and pastries made with French butter are popular items. The brand recently opened a new bakery in Discovery Bay, but you can also find them at PMQ and at the space they share with Coco Espresso in Wanchai.
Shops around town; click here for locations
Best for: croissants
From seasoned pastry chefs (and husband-and-wife team) Camille and Dominique, who trained at Michelin-starred institutions in Paris, Plumcot is a Tai Hang-based artisanal bakery. It’s named after a plum-apricot fruit hybrid that the duo say embodies a harmonious mix of different things, just like their shop that opened in 2017, which serves up breads, pastries and ice cream in a variety of flavours. The most popular items are the delicate croissants, which sell out quickly, especially at the weekend. Plumcot was the recipient of the Foodie Forks 2019 Editors’ Choice Best Desserts award.
10A Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang
Best for: plant-based pastries
Bien Caramélisé specialises in 100%-plant-based French-style pastries. This vegan patisserie offers everything from millefeuilles and tarts to gluten-free eclairs and more. It’s eco-conscious and uses sustainably sourced ingredients, considering the environment at every step of the baking and selling process. If you’re looking to incorporate more greens into your diet, try starting with dessert!
Shop D, 1/F, Hentiff Building, 160 Prince Edward Road West, Mongkok, 5239 5198
Best for: huge (6 inch!) cookies
Cookie Vission dishes up decadent, gooey cookies of joy in a myriad of unique flavours. While signature crowd-pleasers are oatmeal raisin and triple chocolate, its recent London Fog flavour is described as a rich Earl Grey cookie with melted chocolate chips, Madagascan vanilla ganache and a vanilla crumb finish. Alternatively, the matcha white chocolate macadamia cookie is a decadent and hefty explosion of matcha goodness.
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