Chinese New Year. The celebration of a momentous start to a new year. A gathering of family, good friends and great food. Here’s where to indulge in the best Chinese New Year puddings in Hong Kong.
On top of dining customs shrouded in symbolic means — dinner menus should comprise of eight (八) dishes, a homophone to prosperity and wealth (發) in Chinese; fish is served in reference to a Chinese idiom that wishes for abundance (年年有餘) — two dishes continue to lead as the holiday’s must-have: leen goh and turnip cake.
Not-to-be-missed Chinese New Year favourites, the former is a sweet sticky glutinous rice cake, often referred to as pudding due to its similar chewy consistency; while the latter, a savoury creation traditionally comprised of grated radishes with dried ham and conpoy. Like holiday traditions passed down generations, there’s a different way to celebrate and different preference for traditional pudding in every family.
From traditional recipes to more modern takes, here are a few of the season’s best puddings to savour.
It’s all about the new and the novel at Island Shangri-La. Giving the traditional pudding an innovative rehaul, Summer Palace’s executive chef Leung Yu Kin releases two limited edition creations made for the holiday. The leen goh (HK$1,288), statue-like with a moulded Ox positioned atop, is remade with Tokachi red bean as a nostalgic nod towards palm-sized street snack and infused with 80-year-old dried tangerine peel. As for the savoury radish cake (HK$528), the humble pudding is brought to new aromatic heights with minced morels, 88-month Iberico ham and an unconventional sprinkling of Emmental cheese which delightfully adds to the richness of the loaded delicacy.
Island Shangri-La, Pacific Place, Supreme Court Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2877 3838
Lung King Heen
At the Four Seasons’ Lung King Heen, the seasonal flavour is a potato pudding mixed with chestnut batter and flavoured with salted egg yolk, conpoy and silver fish (HK$488). A nod towards the famed and favourite ingredient, salted egg yolk, the addition of silver fish adds rich umami and marries the two ingredients for a satisfying mouthful. The savoury creation is then steamed for 60 minutes before serving. Also on offer are perennial favourites: a sweet, coconut milk base leen goh (HK$488), turnip pudding made with abalone and taro pudding flavoured with black truffle and air-dried meat.
Order details: Lung King Heen’s puddings are available for orders here. Early bird offer for 15% off is available for orders until 29 January.
Lung King Heen, 4/F, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3196 8880
China Tang Landmark
Keeping true to tradition, China Tang’s pudding celebrates the holiday with classic flavours and familiar ingredients. Home-made with the restaurant’s surreptitious ‘secret recipes’, the turnip pudding (HK$328) is a tried-and-true creation made with grated fresh radish, generous layers of local Chinese sausage, with added shrimp paste, dried tiger shrimps, homemade shrimp roe and Sakura shrimp that offer an extra fragrant kick. Similarly, the leen goh (HK$328) is an archetypal creation and counts Okinawa brown sugar and fresh coconut juice as its main ingredients — artificial sugar and water nowhere in sight.
Order details: China Tang’s new year pudding is available for order from now through to 11 February. Early bird offers at HK228/box are available for offers placed before 22 January.
China Tang Landmark, Shop 411- 413, 4/F, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong, +852 2522 2148
Traditional flavours and crowd-favourites aside, Cuisine Cuisine at the Mira presents two new creations for the Year of the Ox: A lighter rendition on the classic, the new turnip cake (HK$408) is vegan-friendly and flavoured with Italian black truffle and shredded king trumpet mushroom, while the sweet leen goh is reimagined as a refreshing Osmanthus pudding (HK$448) layered with rose puree, roselle and creamy coconut before topped off with bird’s nest and gold foil. Aside from being a delightful holiday treat, both puddings will make for a wonderful gifting treat for the festival.
Order details: Cuisine Cuisine puddings can be ordered at the Mira eShop here. An early bird offer of 20 percent is available for order placed before 31 January
Cuisine Cuisine, 3/F, The Mira Hong Kong, Mira Place, 118 – 130 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, +852 2315 5222
Indulge in Chinese New Year festivities but indulge guilt-free with Kind Kitchen’s plant-based alternatives. New to the menu is a superfood-filled pumpkin rice cake (HK$248) flavoured with red quinoa, turmeric and oatmilk, conveniently packing in multiple health benefits with every bite — pumpkin is rich in antioxidants; turmeric boosts immune systems; and red quinoa is high in dietary fibre content. Likewise, the savoury turnip cake (HK$248) also receives a health-conscious update with omnipork bites replacing traditional cured meat and served with the restaurant’s own vegan XO sauce made with mushrooms, chilli and natural spices.
Kind Kitchen, Shop 1, 1/F, Nan Fung Place, 173 Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong, +852 2110 0055
Ying Jee Club
Cantonese cuisine stalwart Ying Jee Club is a celebrated go-to spot each festive season. This year, the two-Michelin star fine-dining establishment serves up two of its classic Chinese New Year puddings as per tradition. Handcrafted by executive chef Siu Hin Chi from the finest ingredients, the two delicacies include the turnip pudding with conpoy and preserved Chinese sausages and Chinese bacon, along with coconut milk and ceylon black tea pudding (HK$238) for sweeter palettes.
Order details: Ying Jee Club puddings can be ordered via firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling +852 2801 6882 from now until 11 February.
Ying Jee Club, G05, 107 & 108, Nexxus Building, 41 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong, +852 2801 6882
Yat Tung Heen
Taking a page out of traditional Chinese recipes, one-Michelin star Yat Tung Heen keeps its straightforward and simple when considering the two Chinese New Year puddings. Time-honoured and traditional, the sweet, sticky, glutinous leen goh (HK208) is a nostalgic creation with creamy coconut and cane sugar that leaves a light, delicate sweetness. The turnip pudding (HK$228) follows suit, nodding towards well-established methods with the addition of dried shrimp, conpoy, and air-dried meat. Certainly both a fine, faultless take on the classic dish.
Order details: Yat Tung Heen’s puddings is now available for preorder here.
Yat Tung Heen, Level B2, Eaton HK, 380 Nathan Road, Jordan, Kowloon, +852 2710 1093
The reputed Canontese eatery, Yung Kee, has been renowned for the preserving the cuisine since its founding in 1942. The puddings, then, are an apt reflection of the traditional flavours and tried-and-true recipes. For Chinese New Year, the restaurant is offering a choice of three: organic turnip pudding, featuring radishes cut, not grated, into thick strips, and mixed in with homemade cured pork sausage and dried shrimps from Thailand; organic coconut rice cake, recreated with low-fat coconut milk for a healthier take; and the restaurant’s mainstay, water chestnut cake, prepared with sweet, juicy Beixiang water chestnuts for just the right measure of crunch.
Order details: Yung Kee’s puddings can be ordered by calling +852 2522 1624.
Yung Kee, 32-40 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2522 1624
Welcoming the Year of the Ox with boundless luck and good wishes, Ming Court’s executive chef Li Yuet Faat has prepared two premium Chinese New year puddings. The coconut-base leen goh (HK$268) is kept sweet and simple with a traditional recipe, and include coconut flakes on top for extra texture. For those who prefer the savoury counterpart will appreciate Ming Court’s rewnewed take on the classic turnip pudding (HK$328), made with whole abalone, conpoy and preserved meats soaked in rose wine for a lighter, more fragrant aroma.
Order details: Ming Court’s puddings are available for order here. Early bird offers are until 22 January.
Ming Court, Level 6, Cordis, Hong Kong, 555 Shanghai Street, Kowloon, +852 3552 3028