Our city, a melting pot of vibrant cultures and global cuisine as well as some delectable bakeries. Each local hood has hidden and well-known bakery stores. If you are crazy about bread, buns, cake, pastries, bagels and other bakery deliciousness, where do you go? LocalHood volunteers, Louisa, Saranavan, and Priscilla explored many different bakeries in Hong Kong and share their favorite bakery stores in their local hood in Hong Kong, in this article.
Try them out for breakfast, lunch or as a little treat!
Bagels in Sheung Wan: Louisa
A corner café on Jervois Street in Sheung Wan, called Schragels, has always piqued Louisa’s curiosity. It is a New York deli serving homemade fresh bagels and bagel sandwiches. Louisa is a bread lover and likes sourdough and rye bread but never a bagel fan. Yet, after trying the bagels from this deli, her view of bagels changed.
Louisa’s first order was a bagel sandwich stuffing with smoked salmon, schmear, scallion, capers and red onion. When it was served, she took a bite and found the bagel to be warm with a crispy crust and a tight, fine and chewy crumb. Louisa was surprised to discover that she really liked the fresh taste and the “chew.” The chewy texture largely comes from the boiling process before baking. Bagels do not rise like other bread when baked, resulting in a dense and chewy interior. Also, the hole in the centre functions to increase surface area, ensuring that bagels are evenly cooked. These characterize bagels as a particular bread. After finishing her bagel lunch, she purchased a “poppy seed” bagel to take home and extended her bagel tasting. Once again, when Louisa bit into it, she exclaimed, “whew, it was bagel!”
Becoming a bagel fan, Louisa also read about the history of bagels. Bagels originated in the Jewish communities of Poland and were introduced to New York by Jewish immigrants in the 19th century. Since then, bagels have become popular in New York, and a typical New York-style bagel has been formed. Various mythologies surround NYC bagels, but they all contribute to a truth: NY bagels are uniquely delicious.
The New York bagel deli Louisa discovered in town is owned by a lady who inherited recipes from her Jewish grandparents, who ran Jewish delis in New York during the 1950s and 60s. The bagels produced in the shop are authentic New York bagels. Now, Louisa has a way to eat like a New Yorker in Hong Kong!
Figure 1. At the shop, bagels are freshly made every morning and the flavours range from plain, poppy seed, sesame, onion, cinnamon raisin to everything (photo taken by Luisa Mok, Sep 2023).
Figure 2. My first order was a smoked salmon bagel sandwich called Loxy Lady, but they also offer Reuben with beef pastrami and other tasty options (photo taken by Luisa Mok, Aug 2023).
Figure 3. The poppy seed bagel was hand rolled and crafted in this lovely, well-round, classic ring shape (photo taken by Luisa Mok, Aug 2023).
Bao’s in Sai Ying Pun
For Saravanan, when it comes to satisfying his cravings for freshly baked goods in Hong Kong, one name stands out among the crowd - Yamazaki Bakery (with multiple locations in Hong Kong). Originating from Japan, this renowned bakery has made a significant impact on Hong Kong's culinary scene with its delectable array of bread, pastries, and confectionery. With its commitment to quality and innovation (trust me is it innovative), Yamazaki Bakery has captured the hearts and taste buds of locals and tourists alike. Let's delve into the reasons why this bakery has become a gourmet haven for bread lovers in Hong Kong.
Everyone has their own favourite baked goods, and in Yamazaki, they do not disappoint. The selection is very authentically Japanese yet has a good blend of locale added into it. Saravanan’s favourite baked goods will definitely be Polo Bao (Pineapple bun) and Coffee Bun. “Why?” one might ask. Well, the reason the Polo Bao from Yamazaki Bakery stands out from the rest is because it has a real slice of Pineapple in it! Yes, you read right! A slice of pineapple! As for the coffee bun, it just reminds him of home, of Rotiboy which one might find in Malaysia. Topped up with premium ingredients that are sourced from both local and international suppliers, each and every one of their baked goods is delectable in every bite.
Figure 1. Saravanan’s pineapple bun and coffee bun favourites.
Figure 2. The coffee bun.
Sourdough and Croissants in Tai Hang
Priscilla loves to eat a delicious piece of sourdough bread for breakfast (or any time of the day, really). After trying sourdough in many different bakeries and restaurants, her verdict is out: Fineprint’s sourdough is one of the best sourdough’s one can have. It really cannot beat any other sourdough breads I tasted before.
Fineprint (with multiple locations in Hong Kong) may be known for their coffee but it is in fact a sourdough bakery. I don’t know how they do it but their sourdough recipe makes all the difference to me. The flavour of the bread is distinct, the crunchiness of the crust and softness of the inside is unbeatable for me. Maybe it also helps that they toast the bread a little bit before they add the butter and other tasty toppings. The menu offers a variety of different toppings but the advocado sourdough is my favourite. Its simple but the taste hits the right spot every time I dive into one. A thin layer of butter, half an advocado, some salt, pepper, herbs and a splash of lemon!! I am getting hungry while writing. If you are looking for a warmer bite in the mornings, the sourdough toasties are as delicious
Figure 1. The delicious sourdough and I added a couple of protein toppings on the side.
If you are in the Tai Hang local hood and you feel like you want to be a little more naugthy, try out the delights that Plumcot offers. Plumcot is a patisserie with exquisite and good quality treats; home made ice creams, cookies, breads, cakes and other French pastries. It is hard to choose one favourite at Plumcot.
In terms of pasteries, my absolute favourite is the strawberry croissant. It has a nice vibrant striped red colour and a delicious strawberry compot on the inside. The strawberry compot gives the additional flavour to a simple but quality wise good croissant. In terms of little treats, my favourite cake is the brioch that you cannot miss. A more dense crust and fluffy cake on the inside with a slight tangerine flavour, or treat yourself on one of my favourite cookies, their salted chocolate cookies. These cookies are to die for at any time of the day.
And on the many hot days in Hong Kong, you definitely need to try out their ice creams to cool down. The milk tea flavour is one of my favourites.
Figure 2. Plumcot’s appetizing strawberry croissant filled with strawberry compot.