I thought I might be writing about casual food in terms of the Hong Kong style cafe we were looking forward to trying in Hong Kong but I will write about the bakeries instead. It frustrated NPY but I don’t need a sit-down meal with a side of rice or noodles to call it a meal; I’m happy to nosh on snacks throughout the day and bakeries filled that need for me. Happily, they were trustworthy places for the most part and NPY would join me and pick out some items to share.
Beijing: Weiduomei bakeries
The chain we identified was Weiduomei and I loved perusing the aisles because their stuff is so different from the typical Hong Kong bakery. Three items became our lunch and afternoon snack: a savoury herb and tomato pastry in the flakiest croissant crust, a kind of average chocolate croissant, and a strawberry sweet bread that was beautifully flaky and filled with a sort of strawberry jam.
Beijing: Paris Baguette
Paris Baguette is also a chain, the scope of which I don’t know yet. We saw one in the food forum of a mall in Wangfujing. NPY had picked up a rice bowl from Yoshinoya and I hadn’t eaten much because I was holding out for bakery goods. From Paris Baguette, I got a curry chicken donut and an egg tart.
We laughed at the ill juxtaposition of a donut (means it was a little sweet, and fried) with the Chinese curry filling but it was tasty. And the little egg tart with the ultra-crispy and layered shell was the first of many great layered tart shells I would enjoy on the trip!
In addition to 7-11’s on every corner in Hong Kong, there is another convenience store named Circle K all around. They have a staffed kitchen/bakery area so I didn’t feel so lame after getting lost in the area around our hotel and settling on Circle K pastries for our breakfast.
I picked a big pork floss bun because NPY had been eying those for a while, a raisin twist (raisins make NPY happy, just like my father), and a limp Japanese mushroom curry patty. I was sold on the “Japaneses” moniker. The raisin twist was the best, a combination of sweet Chinese bread with a sugar-rush of a glaze.
Hong Kong: Bread Talk
We had such difficulty settling on what to eat at the food hall, Food Republic, when tea time (after 2:30) rolled around and vendors slashed their prices. I ended up getting some barbecued meats on rice that was drizzled with some sauce that made the dish very flavourful to NPY. I was 100% certain about wanting some bakery items from Bread Talk that I kept seeing in Bejing.
NPY told me to go choose for him (“Nothing looks good,” he says when the choice is too much) and I knew a raisin bun was a safe bet. I debated with myself between a chocolate cream cheese bun and a Hokkaido Chocolate Dome. Cream cheese won out and I can’t say I’m sorry–it was like a chocolate danish. But I wish I had also gotten the Hokkaido chocolate pastry even if it would have been a little flattened in my bag by the time we go to it.
Hong Kong: Maxim Bakery
Maxim is a familiar brand from home so we kind of avoided it for a while. But we were in rush, packing up in our first Hong Kong hotel to head to Macau and I had to grab something that wasn’t a repeat of a previous bakery. I got breakfast-appropriate sausage and egg bun and a cocktail bun with coconut filling. For myself, I had to go a little different and exotic and I picked up a tuna truffle bun. It’s a little funny, truffle done at a Chinese bakery?! It was a very tasty flavour to a smashed tuna bun filling.