Following on from our successful visits to Penang dessert houses, when we reached Hong Kong (the next stop on our trip) I was determined to continue my research and so I dragged H to several more places and forced him to eat further sugary treats.
Having read on various blogs about Hui Lau Shan (branches all over), we happened to walk right past an outlet, and this became our first dessert stop.
They promote themselves as a healthy dessert specialist, and many of the items were based around fruit, ice or other non-fattening ingredients.
We both decided upon mango-heavy desserts. Mine was the one pictured on the left, with mango sorbet, fresh mango, mango puree and some glutinous rice balls. H’s dessert contained more mango, but also coconut milk and black glutinous rice.
Healthy meant less sugar, but mango is very sweet anyway and we both enjoyed our vague foray into virtuous eating.
The next shop I visited twice in one day. Once in the morning on my own, and once with H later on. Before you think me excessively greedy, I had the same dessert both times and mindful of earlier failures, it was purely so that a photo could be taken for the benefit of anyone reading this post. Honest!
Mui Chai Kee Bird’s Nest and Dessert Specially Shop (120 Parkes Street) had a lot of dishes containing bird’s nest, but they were all very expensive and I had no real desire to eat them. What I was looking for, however, was a double boiled milk dessert.
The reason I was on Parkes Street was that I had been sauntering past the Australian Dairy Company (47-49 Parkes Street) to see if the rumours were true that there was no English menu. I knew they did boiled milk desserts, but after a glance round seemed to confirm no English signage (and I was far too shy to ask), I roamed up the street until I came to Mui Chai Kee, which did have English translations and offered double boiled milk pudding with ginger juice (pictured below).
I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but as I like milk-based desserts I really wanted to try it. After choosing to have it cold rather than hot, the pudding quickly arrived and I poked at it with my spoon.
It was firm, like a set custard, and I levered out a spoonful with a gentle squelch. It tasted of rich creamy milk, with a hint of raw ginger. It wasn’t too sweet, and was very reminiscent of a baked egg custard without the vanilla or egginess. It made me think back to the junket we occasionally had when I was a kid, although this was much more solid in texture. H was not that impressed, but I was very happy with it (hence having two!).
When H accompanied back here for my second dessert he had a simple mango pudding (pictured below), which he though was okay but nothing special.
Walking back to the hotel by a roundabout route from Mui Chai Kee, I passed near a shop called Dessert Mama (96 Kimberley Road), and thought it might be a good place to go on another occasion.
So we did, and had one big hit, and one huge miss.
Fresh from my tang yuan fun in Penang, I ordered the peanut butter ting yuen, and H went for the dark chocolate snow ice with peach sauce and pearls (pictured below).
His arrived first and we shared it. Rich chocolate ice cream is magically shaved into the thinnest of layers, so it ends up looking like the inside of a Cadbury Flake.
When you put a spoonful in your mouth, it melts incredibly quickly and feels very light on the tongue. The peach sauce and tapioca pearls were fine, but the ice cream was the star of the dish.
My (hot) peanut butter ting yuen then arrived. I smiled as I imagined the chewy glutinous rice balls filled with sweet peanut butter, then I actually looked at it. It was a bowl of syrup with what appeared to be pieces of sweet potato and something else, possibly dried bean curd, floating in it.
I waved to the waitress and pointed at the menu and at the soup to check this was one and the same, and she assured me it was.
So either: (a) they were winding me up, (b) it really was peanut butter ting yuen, or (c) the menu translation was wrong.
Whatever the case, hot watery syrup with a vegetable and a mystery item floating in it was a huge disappointment compared to what I was expecting, and I took a couple of desultory spoonfuls before handing it on to H, who manfully ate some more before we paid the bill and left.
I have no pic of our final dessert, which was a piece of mango crepe cake from Dessert Playground (1 Prat Avenue), but their website homepage does contain an image of it at time of writing.
Crepe cakes pop up around the world, but I haven’t seen any yet in the UK (apart from the slightly disastrous one I made myself). One slavishly makes a lot of pancakes and then stacks them up like a cake, inserting interesting fillings between the layers.
The slice we had from Dessert Playground combined soft crepes with a moussey filling studded with mango. I found it very pleasant, and hope that crepe cakes become the next big thing in the UK soon.