When mango meets sweet, sticky glutinous rice.
To those who’ve yet to dive into a cool plate of mango sticky rice on a sweltering day in Bangkok will never know of the beloved Thai dessert’s magic. To some, it may even seem like the very unlikely combination of fruit and… carbs? But what you’ll find is that mango and rice make a most perfect pair that just works: the sweet succulent bite of ripe mangoes (only the Thai kind) meets warm, sticky glutinous rice, precooked in coconut milk and sugar, meets a generous pour of creamy, rich coconut milk. Perfection.
Back in its original home of Thailand, the sweet treat, otherwise known as khao niaow ma muang, is the best kind of remedy to the hot and sticky clime. It’s a humble street snack, served in a crinkly plastic wrapped tray. The dish even had quite a moment when Thai artist Milli broke it out at Coachella 2022. Some still assume this no-frills nature in Hong Kong, while others take on a fancier route with pretty plating and creative garnishes. For the most authentic take, you’ll want head to Kowloon City, or Hong Kong’s Little Thailand, otherwise these options serve worthy replicas of the mango sticky rice, too.
Here’s are Hong Kong’s Best Mango Sticky Rice:
You’d probably come for Samsen’s signature boat noodles; stuff yourself silly with endless bowls of its rich and creamy Khao Soi. But the next time you manage to brave eager crowds and snag a table, leave room for their signature Thai mango sticky rice, a close-to-classic make of sliced chunky mangoes over sweet, chewy grains drenched in coconut cream.
Samsen, G/F, 23 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2234 0080
It’s the northern Issan region of Thai cuisine that Chachawan specialises in, which also means that salads and grilled meats are most favoured in this quiet little neighbourhood eatery. And of course the mango sticky rice, named traditionally in Thai on the menu here — Khao Niaw Mamuang — which makes its famed appearance as a sweet round-out to a satisfying meal: classic ripe mango and warm glutinous rice coated in creamy coconut milk.
Chachawan, 206 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2549 0020
Trust Aaharn to know a thing or do about award-winning Thai cooking. They’ve even earned a coveted Michelin star to prove it. So when it comes to their mango sticky rice, other than beautiful photogenic plating like the rest of their menu curated to showcase a varied spectrum of Thai cuisine, expect this mango-meets-sticky-rice dessert to be absolutely top-notch. It’s a meticulous 15-ingredient dish make that has earned itself title of a menu signature here.
Aaharn, The Armoury, Tai Kung, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2703 9111
Wan Chai’s trendy Star Street is home to a handful of hidden gems, one being cool-casual Thai eatery, Ruam. Their plating portions are big; personality bold. And their mango rice? A sound reflection of the vibrant eatery’s welcoming nature with generously sliced whole mango (specifically the Thai variety for its sweetness) served with two choices of chewy, sticky glutinous rice that’s been steamed and sweetened in coconut milk and sugar, and served with the final drizzle of thick coconut cream.
Ruam, Shop 9, 1/F, J Senses, 60 Johnston Road, Ship Street Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 3160 8535
So, mango sticky rice may be all the same wherever you go, but when you’re dishing it out at Sip Song’s Repulse Bay location — by the beach; under the sun — it’ll almost be as though you’re sat on the sandy bays of Phuket. If not breezy seaside scenes, then perhaps a bite of their sweet, cool, so-very-refreshing serve of the giant mango slathered in milky white coconut sauce that’ll bring back memories of a sorely missed sun-drenched vacation.
Sip Song, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2328 8385
After You’s make of the classic mango sticky rice is not the most traditional. Fair enough. But it’s all there — the sticky glutinous rice, sweet mango chunks and smooth coconut cream — all tucked, folded and poured over as deconstructed components within the icy, pale yellow kakigori shell. A strategic shovel into the shaved ice globe will reveal a classic mango sticky rice bite, carefully sealed within.
After You Dessert Cafe, 52 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2117 0665
If you reside in the Sai Ying Pun neighbourhood, you’ll know of casual, unpretentious Thai restaurant Krua Walaiphan, ran by titular chef Walaiphan Hanyut. The food here is easy and delicious, the kind of comforting Thai fare that you know and love. And amongst that great familiar love is the classic mango sticky rice dessert. Here, they cut the mango up into bite-sized cubes, the just-right portion to be scooping onto a spoon layered with sticky rice and coconut cream for the perfect singular bite.
Krua Walaiphan, G/F, Ko Wang Court, 29 High Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, +852 2804 1555
Located within the moneyed atriums of Landmark, Mak Mak’s mango sticky rice respectfully assumes a much fancier make of the humble dessert. Sat amongst a flavour-rich menu of longtime cuisine favourites, the mango sticky rice stays within the lines of classic components — sweet ripe mango, delightfully sticky rice and fragrant coconut cream — but deviates ever so slightly with a butterfly-infused recipe for a complementary hint of lilac underneath the bright yellow.
Mak Mak, Shop 217A, 2/F Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2983 1003