Hong Kong has got us covered when it comes to desserts and confectionary. With access to both fantastic local bakeries and some of the best international bakers and pastry chefs around, we’re never more than a few metres away from a spot to satisfy a craving for something sugary. We’ve narrowed down the sweets selection to six of the most popular baked goods in our fair city.
There are many incarnations of this rich and creamy baked (and sometimes unbaked) dessert, from American-style with its distinct graham cracker crust and liberal use of sour cream to the lighter and airier Japanese and other Asian varieties. Cheesecake is our choice when we’re jonesing for something sweet but not sugar-coma sweet, if you catch our drift.
BAKE Cheese Tart
The queues haven’t died down at this import from Hokkaido, Japan. Though technically not a cake, we would be remiss not to include BAKE on our list. The buttery, perfectly golden crust of their mini tarts, which is double-baked for maximum crispness, is filled with a heavenly soft cheese ‘lava’ that oozes out at first bite. The combined effect of crust plus filling is unbeatable.
Shop 10, B2/F, Sogo, 555 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay
Though we’re perplexed about the spelling, there’s nothing confusing about this brand’s scrumptious array of gourmet cheesecakes. An amalgamation of Japanese and Western baking styles, the range is stunning in both looks and taste. Take your pick from the traditional, souffle-like Kyoto white cheesecake, the Hong Kong cheesecake flavoured with condensed milk and peanut butter, the crustless Rio de Janeiro blueberry cheesecake and many more.
Shop 625, 6/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, 2504 5500
NYC’s celebrated bakery has recently expanded to HK, bringing with it its elegant Gâteau Nuage. We’re keen on this elegant update on the classic cheesecake, covered with a thin layer of sweetened sour cream within a cinnamon-infused graham cracker crust. It’s subtly sweet and lighter than more traditional versions. Yuzu cheesecake is another of Lady M’s winning offerings. The addition of Japanese yuzu brings a refreshing tang to cut through the richness, and the vanilla sponge base is as light as air.
Shop C, 1–3 Cleveland Street, Food Street, Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay, 2861 1866
Recently unveiled in ifc mall, this Japanese baker is making waves on our shores for its addictive Double Fromage, adorably packaged in a wooden box that looks like it contains a block of Camembert, not a cake. There are two layers to this confection: a light and smooth no-bake layer above a denser, richer baked cheesecake. The entire cheesecake round is covered with a fine layer of sponge cake crumbs. The Chocolat Double kicks it up even further with the addition of chocolate.
Shop 1033, Level 1, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, 2465 7203
Ms B's Cakery
Sweets queen Bonnae Gokson’s swish boutiques showcase a range of showstopping gateaux, including two American-inspired cheesecakes that are perfect for the holiday season: NYC apple cheesecake and coffee crumble cheesecake. They’re both rich, lush and decadent, our requirements for festive noshing.
39 Gough Street, Central, 2815 8303
Not much beats the aroma of a batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Though they’re relatively quick and simple to make, most Hong Kongers don’t have the luxury of an oven in their kitchens. Instead, we turn to one of these bakeries when we’re in need of a homemade cookie fix (tip: in the hunt for the best cookies, the nose knows!).
We tried our first Cookieboy last year at Quarry Bay’s Tong Chong Street Market, and we were hooked. Founded by pastry chef Ryan Zimmer, who formerly headed up the pastry team at JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong, Cookieboy’s cookies are soft, chewy and utterly delicious. For us, it’s a toss-up between the classic chocolate chunk and peanut butter varieties, but innovative seasonal flavours such as matcha and apple pie are also available. Order online to have them delivered straight to your door for some serious midnight munching.
Whenever we pass one of the Cookies Quartet shops – and there are many scattered around town – we can’t resist popping in for a sneaky taste or two; the cookies are all helpfully displayed in tasting jars for sampling to your heart’s content. The flavours are seemingly endless, so we recommend hitting up our favourites first: sea salt chocolate, coffee and walnut and blueberry. The crispy, delicate palmiers are also recommended.
Founder Joyce Cheng wears many hats – not only is she a talented singer and actress, but she also began her baking career a few years back armed with only a hand mixer and a camera to document her creations. Joyce’s dedication has paid off, with Homie Cookies baking up some of the finest cookies around – the website boldly proclaims they’re better than your mama’s and we have to agree. We love their tongue-in-cheek names (think Keyser Soze, John Lemon and Rude Boy) and their innovative flavour combinations. For instance, the Bhangra combines dark chocolate and chilli for a taste explosion. Elephant Grounds use Homie Cookies to craft their out-of-this-world ice cream sandwiches too.
Kiosk 6A, LCX, Level 3, Ocean Terminal, Harbour Road, 17 Canton Road, TST
This American-style dessert company is run by two kindred spirits who share a love of baking. Their Salted Sister chocolate chip cookie (with just a hint of salt to elevate the chocolate flavour) is a firm fave, but we’re also on board with the vegan Good Sister chocolate cookie and the Milky Mama oatmeal chocolate chip lactation cookie. Their whoopee pie is the ultimate indulgence: whipped peanut butter or Oreo sandwiched between two chocolate cake cookies. Peel Street Espresso Bar in SoHo and R&R Bagels in Central feature some of these sisterly goodies or you can order online.
A children’s birthday party stalwart, the once-humble cupcake has risen to much loftier heights these past few years, now gracing weddings and black-tie events, passed around on silver trays. We love their small size (we can eat two without feeling like we’re overindulging) and cupcake bakers’ ability to be wildly creative with their cake and icing flavours. With the cupcake craze showing no signs of abating, follow the crumbs for our top picks.
Opened about five years ago in Sheung Wan by the folks behind NYC’s ChikaLicious dessert bar, this popular cupcakery has since expanded to Admiralty and Wanchai. With the Wanchai shop not far from Foodie’s office, it’s become one of our go-to spots for a late afternoon pick-me-up. The flavours – from smores to pandan – are irresistible and the presentation is as pretty as a picture.
G/F Shop A, 136 Queen's Road East, Wanchai, 2234 0088
First there was Sift. Other cupcake shops may come and go, but for almost a decade now, Sift continues to pack in the punters eager to sample their elegant little cakes: the cake base is light and moist and the icing is rich without being cloying. Sift offers a wide array of both traditional and creative flavours, but for for us it’s all about the classic red velvet with its dreamy cream cheese frosting – we’re told Sift bakes up thousands each day.
If you’re hankering for a cupcake but not the guilt that follows your snack session, Sweet Secrets is the answer. In addition to the classic options, they offer equally delicious gluten-free and eggless varieties, as well as hand-sculpted speciality-themed cupcakes. Sweet Secrets’ mini cupcakes are perfect for kids’ birthday parties, while their cupcake towers would bring the wow factor to any and all events.
35 Graham Street, Central, 2545 8886
A relatively new addition to the HK cupcake scene, Twelve Cupcakes is a Singapore-based cupcakery that has given longer-standing bakeries a serious run for their money. The cakes themselves are beauties and taste just as good as they look, but what’s most appealing to us is the variety, with six daily classic flavours (strawberry chocolate, cookies ’n’ cream, salted caramel, vanilla, red velvet and chocolate), plus a weekly rotating range of six more experimental varieties such as apple caramel cinnamon, green tea honey, maple pancake and Horlicks Tim Tam.
With the sad demise of Munchies in Sheung Wan, we’ve had to broaden our horizons in an attempt to find a doughnut maker who can compete. These rounds of fried dough, many with holes in the centre, are popular the world over. Some versions are filled with the likes of jam, cream or custard, while ring doughnuts are usually glazed or iced. The addition of yeast makes doughnuts as airy as clouds, but old-fashioned, denser cake doughnuts are delightful as well.
We stumbled across Buttery Factory one day while hitting up the shops in CWB, and we left on a sugar high. Buttery’s doughnuts are attention seekers, with bold flavours and decorations. There are smores doughnuts plastered in mini marshmallows, cereal and milk doughnuts, doughnuts crowned with a whole egg tart and Oreo doughnuts that appear to be topped with at least half a dozen of the little suckers – you get the idea. Some of them even come with a syringe filled with flavoured liquid to inject into your doughnut, Dr Frankenstein style.
Shop 264, 2/F, Causeway Place, 2–10 Great George Street, Causeway Bay, 6696 3826
CIAK – In the Kitchen
Opened in partnership with three-Michelin- starred chef Umberto Bombana, this stylish casual Italian spot bakes up mighty fine bombolone, an Italian sugar-dusted doughnut that’s filled with heavenly vanilla-flecked custard cream. They may offer only one variety, but it’s a humdinger.
Shop 327–333, 3/F, The Landmark, 15 Queen's Road Central, Central, 2522 8869
The Mandarin Cake Shop
All Yves Matthey's cakes and pastries are first rate, but if it’s a doughnut you’re after, look no further than the pastry chef’s custard doughnut. The doughnut itself is light and pillowy soft, encasing a thick, golden yellow custard that brings to mind the best of British puddings.
M/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road, Central, 2825 4008
World-Wide House: Dunkin’ Donuts & J.CO Coffee & Donuts
This is more a tip than an outright recommendation of a doughnut spot. We can’t tell you when they’ll arrive each week from Manila (Friday seems to be a winner), but each week they do: boxes and boxes of the USA’s infamous Dunkin’ Donuts and those from Indonesian chain J.CO, crafted in a very similar style. Head to the first floor and ask around – you’ll be pointed in the right direction, trust us.
19 Des Voeux Road Central, Central
Update: J.CO Coffee & Donuts have recently unveiled their very first standalone shop in HK! Head to 55 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, to bask in the doughnut glow.
The current it girl/boy of the pastry world, the eclair is a classic French choux pastry confection, oblong in shape, containing a creamy filling and iced. Like the cupcake before it, we’re fans of the eclair for the seemingly endless number of filling and frosting varieties.
This elegantly cosy little café – with one of the most relaxing al fresco areas around – bakes up stellar eclairs, perfect with a cup of their slow-drip coffee, cold-brewed in a grand, intricate contraption called the Gothicism Steam Punk. The sweet eclairs, such as salted caramel, chilli chocolate, banoffee and purple sweet potato, are worthy contenders, but we actually prefer the savoury versions, including ham and Parmesan and garlic basil. There’s slightly less guilt involved and they are just as delicious.
8–12 South Lane, Shek Tong Tsui, 2656 3198
FAUCHON Paris Le Café
Legendary French patisserie and gourmet food purveyor FAUCHON, boasting dozens of outlets around the world, recently set up its first HK café in Sha Tin’s New Town Plaza. The hot-pink-accented decor is decidedly feminine, and it’s a great choice for afternoon tea in particular. FAUCHON’s range of gorgeous eclairs is iconic, but none more so than the Religieuse. This two-in-one affair (a mini eclair perched atop a standard-sized choux pastry) is filled with a rich chocolate cream and glazed with smooth, glistening dark chocolate.
Shop 408 and 410, Level 4, New Town Plaza Phase 1, 18 Sha Tin Centre Street, Sha Tin, 2237 1515
L'Eclair de Génie
Founder Christophe Adam is the driving force behind the city’s eclair phenomenon, and his L’Eclair de Génie boutiques, which are popping up hither and yon in the 852 and around the world, have become our go-to spots for indulging our eclair addiction. Signature flavours, such as No 3 Vanille Pecan Nut and No 22 Passion Crispy Raspberry, definitely rock our world, but we’re also always up for one of the eclair maker’s fab monthly and seasonal offerings. Mini eclairs are available, as are personalised eclairs complete with names, logos or pictures that would make a fun birthday or baby shower treat.
Maison Eric Kayser
This French baker has established a popular following in Hong Kong, mostly thanks to the ooh-la-la croissants, baguettes and rustic breads on offer, but we also adore the patisserie, particularly the eclairs, which taste just like they do in Paris. Go for classic flavours like chocolate, coffee and vanilla.
248 Queen’s Road East, Wanchai, 3107 1380
HK’s love affair with the macaron shows no signs of abating. Supremely Instagrammable owing to their petite size and rainbow hues, we need only indulge in a single macaron for a sugar-fuelled hit. Macarons’ basic ingredients list – egg white, caster and confectioners’ sugars, ground almonds and food colouring – belies how notoriously difficult they are to perfect. The ideal texture is a unique combination of crispy shell with chewy centre. No one does a macaron better than the French, and thus all our recommendations are French patisseries – and by coincidence, most have locations in Harbour City, which has become the epicentre for macaron lovers. For each, we’ve nominated our favourite flavours.
For pure uniqueness, Dalloyau’s Truffe Noire takes the cake (or macaron, in this case). Chocolate ganache is enhanced by the aroma and flavour of black truffle: a match made in culinary heaven.
Shop 3220, Level 3, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, TST, 3185 8330
A chocolatier at his core, Jean-Paul Hévin also offers a selection of mouth-watering macarons. Our choice is the simple-is-beautiful Amer dark chocolate, which was voted the best macaron in Paris a few years back. Bite into the crisp dark chocolate shell and your palate will be hit with JPH’s decadently creamy chocolate ganache.
Shop 212, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, TST, 2735 3268
Tied for joint heavyweight in the world of macarons, chic Ladurée with its signature pale green gift boxes showcases two macaron flavours that win us over time and time again: the fragrant rose, all pink and girlie, and the more masculine salted butter caramel, providing that timeless combination of savoury and sweet.
Shop 3224, Level 3, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, 17 Canton Road, TST, 2175 5028
Pierre Hermé Paris
Many proclaim Monsieur Hermé the 'Picasso of Pastries', and it’s easy to see why. The patissier’s pastel-hued macarons are almost too pretty too eat – almost. PH offers beautiful classics, but it’s the innovative varieties that make us smile, like the Arabesque (apricot and pistachio) and the Eastern-inspired Imagine (green tea and black sesame).
Shop 1019C, Level 1, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, 2833 5700