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Ready for this Jelly: The best Cantonese desserts in Hong Kong

Forget the after-dinner expectation when it comes to Cantonese dessert — theses options are good any time of day. Mango pomelo sago, anyone?

First things first! You must learn the two magic words: “糖水” (tong sui). Now, your journey to a brimming bowl of sweet, soupy dessert begins.

What makes Cantonese dessert in Hong Kong so easy to love is its range. There’s something for every kind of sweet — or savoury, if that’s what you prefer — dessert cravings, a world of flavours influenced by a cast of ingredients not typically thought about in the same wavelength as desserts: beans, herbs and tofu. From grandma’s family recipe to modern dessert houses crafting up with new-and-newer takes, Cantonese dessert reaches far and beyond the well-known egg tarts, French toasts and peanut butter-slathered egg waffles.

There’s icy cold tofu puddings, fruity grass jellies to nourishing bowls of heart-warming soups that’ll instil various healthy benefits and others that just taste really good. Here is our specially curated list, leading with our MMMs Awards winners — special shoutout to our exclusive awards sponsor, foodpanda — dedicated to the best Cantonese desserts in Hong Kong.

(Please note: Due to current social distancing restrictions, individual venues may be temporarily closed or working on adjusted schedules. Please contact restaurants in advance to confirm.)

Where to find the best Cantonese desserts in Hong Kong:

Dragon-i

MMMs Awards Eaters’ Choice Winner

Decadent desserts may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Dragon-i, Wyndham Street’s long-time nightlife destination, but it’s also a favourite for foodies, who mean it when they recommend the delicious dim sum, and a sago that will satisfy any sweet tooth.

Dragon-i, The Centrium, 60 Wyndham St, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3110 1222

order on foodpanda

China Tang

MMMs Awards Winner

You’ll recognize the Tang clan’s various brands easily, and their Peking Duck usually steals the show, but wait! Leave some room for dessert as their double boiled milk pudding really rounds off the night.

China Tang, various locations including Shops 411-413. 4/F Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2522 2148

order on foodpanda

Miss Lee

MMMs Awards Winner

Miss Lee focuses on modern Chinese vegetarian cuisine that embodies timeless Hong Kong flavours featuring an inclusive menu that is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Their tangerine peel custard pudding serves as a tangy, zesty finish after a wholesome meal.

Miss Lee, G/F, The Wellington, 198 Wellington St, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2881 1811

order on foodpanda

Auntie Sweet

MMMs Awards Winner

What’s a Hong Kong dessert venue without the classic “Tofu-Fa”? Auntie Sweet’s signature dessert begets lines galore, but if something fruitier is your style, their mango pancakes also slaps.

Auntie Sweet, G/F, 13 Tsing Fung St, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 9794 9452

order on foodpanda

Kai Kai Dessert

MMMs Awards Winner

Serving up the most classic Cantonese desserts, Kai Kai’s famous bowls are displayed in an adorable spread of easy-to-identify illustrations. Favourites include the black sesame soup with glutinous dumplings and their egg white with almond concoction.

Kai Kai Dessert, 29 Ning Po St, Jordan, Hong Kong, +852 2384 3862

order on foodpanda

Yung Kee

MMMs Awards Winner

Yung Kee’s recent revamp has only meant bigger and greater things for the brand. Their roast meats will always be a classic, but they certainly don’t sleep on the dessert options either.

Yung Kee, Yung Kee Building, Wellington St, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2522 1624

order on foodpanda

More Cantonese dessert favourites we love:

  • Honeymoon Dessert: Started with humble beginnings in sleepy Sai Kung, Honeymoon Dessert wildly expanded across Asia with its reigning signature: mango pancakes. While they have since expanded to a range of desserts from black sesame soup to glutinous rice balls and creamy almond tea, they still dutifully wrap and fold over 14,000 pancakes a day.
  • Ming Kee Dessert: You’ll find Ming Kee Dessert scattered over various neighbourhoods in the city, that’s because they are a well-loved destination serving classic, age-old recipes. Sweet potato soup and grass jelly are said to be popular favourites.
  • Kei Kee Dessert: More affectionately known by locals as B-Zai (B仔涼粉), Kei Kee Dessert in Yuen Long found fame from its heaping bowls of cool grass jelly met with a rainbow assortment of fresh fruits: mango, melons, lychee and whatever your heart desires. When you eventually get ushered in, go for the traditional almond soup and mango cheung fun, too.
  • Fook Yuen: Everyone comes to Fook Yuen for the one thing this dessert house does best: tong yuen (湯圓), or glutinous rice balls. It’s what you should be coming here for too; pick the classic black sesame.
  • Lung King Heen: The three-Michelin star, fine-dining spot might be better known for its savoury dishes, but there’s one sweet dessert loyal patrons have named as signature, a Lung Keen Heen surprise: mango pomelo sago. It’s made with generous cubes of sweet mangoes dunked a creamy coconut milk and mango-blended mix of fresh pomelo, chewy sago and silky mango pudding.
  • Tei Mou Koon Dessert: 1990-founded Tei Mou Koon Dessert has been a longtime Kowloon City stalwart. Locals will tell you it’s all because of their heart-warming selection of authentic dessert soups that are all extremely smooth and creamy. Come for the walnut and sesame soup, and don’t skip on ordering a side of the sesame and peanut glutinous rice balls.
  • Kung Wo Beancurd Factory: The dessert menu at Kung Wo Beancurd Factory serves one dessert and one dessert only: Tofu-fa, or tofu pudding, made using a refined recipe which grinds up soy beans of their own. The pudding is smooth and rich with earthy soy bean flavours. Get the soy milk too, while you’re here.
  • Yan Wo Dou Bun Chong: Yan Wo also specialises in soy-made dishes. For the sweet section, it’s another singular but very satisfying serve of tofu pudding that’s been perfected for over 60 years. Scoop over a spoonful of classic yellow sugar, or for something different, black sesame paste and herbal jelly.
  • Luk Lam Dessert: At any given moment, there is likely a growing queue stationed outside of Luk Lam Dessert. They’re all here for the signature tofu pudding that kind of tastes like tofu-fa but ever-so-slightly different with a mango pudding texture. Just come and try it for yourself.

The above list was compiled by Nathan Erickson, Sandra Kwong, Joey Wong and Lorria Sahmet.

For more delicious food, see all the winners of Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong’s The MMMs Awards.

(Lead and featured images: Miss Lee)

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