Monday , July 15 2024

Hong Kong’s signature cakes shine at Saigon’s Chinatown


Meet the stars of Saigon’s Chinatown: Hong Kong’s pineapple buns and egg tarts. Being freshly made daily, these cakes are known for their buttermilk aroma and rich, creamy flavors.

Pineapple buns are a staple of Hong Kong and Macau’s breakfast scene. The golden-hued cakes are favored by residents who prefer a light morning meal or enjoy it as a snack during afternoon tea sessions.

Bánh có những vết nứt như mắt của trái thơm, vàng ruộm, thơm phức mùi bơ sữa. Ảnh: Phong Kiều

The pineapple bun has a golden-yellow color and a fragrance reminiscent of buttermilk. Photo by VnExpress/Phong Kieu

The pineapple buns earn its name from the golden hue of its surface, adorned with small cracks resembling the eyes of a pineapple.

After making the cake dough, the baker will spread a thin layer of flour, sugar, eggs, and milk on top of the dough. During baking, the buns take on a blooming appearance, forming natural cracks, and the entire process takes about two hours.

Fresh out of the oven, the pineapple buns, larger than an adult’s hand, are sliced open and then filled with butter. The heat of the bun melds seamlessly with the rich buttermilk aroma. It is highly recommended to pair the buns with Hong-Kong-style milk tea, yellow lemon tea or milk tea mixed with coffee.

Bánh được bán liên tục, đông người xếp hàng mua. Ảnh: Phong Kiều

Freshly made buns are stored in a glass cabinet and, upon sale to customers, are packed into paper packaging. Photo by VnExpress/Phong Kieu

Exclusively available at the store of Cuu Long Quan during the first Cho Lon (Saigon’s Chinatown) Food Story in early December, the Hong-Kong-style pineapple buns capture the interest of numerous diners. While familiar to the Hoa people, the community of Chinese descent in Saigon, as a daily snack, the dish piques the curiosity of other tourist groups.

Maintaining the regular price of VND43,000 ($1.70) per piece, the pineapple buns experienced a surge in demand during the three-day festival. In the first hour of the event, more than 20 cakes were sold, a notable increase compared to the typical daily output of just over 30 pieces when the shop opens for sale at 10 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday.

Hao, the manager of Cuu Long Quan, explains that the best way to enjoy the buns is to consume them immediately after they come out of the oven because refrigeration can negatively impact the flavor.

Additionally, he emphasizes that even though the restaurant primarily focuses on Cantonese and Hong Kong-style dim sum as well as savory dishes, sweet options like the pineapple buns serve as complementary additions to their menu.

Món bánh đặc trưng Hong Kong ‘gây nghiện’ khu Chợ Lớn

Pineapple buns are served hot at Cho Lon Food Story festival, December 2023. Video by VnExpress/Phong Kieu

In comparison to the pineapple buns, Hong Kong-style egg tarts enjoys greater popularity, leading to fast consumption and prompting people to queue for each freshly baked batch. Cuu Long’s egg tarts feature a smaller diameter, sold in sets of three at the price of VND43,000.

Distinguished by its crispy “thousand-layer” crust, made over two days, the process involves mixing the dough with eggs and milk, freezing, layering thin layers, shaping, freezing again, then pouring in an egg mixture for baking.

Created from a blend of eggs, milk, and sugar, this mixture contributes to a rich texture and a fragrant aroma. When baked over medium heat, the egg tarts captivate the senses, preserving a moist egg filling that elevates every bite.

Unlike pineapple buns, egg tarts are produced and sold continuously each day at the restaurant, with an estimated daily consumption surpassing 100 portions, equivalent to over 300 cakes.

Throughout the festival, both pineapple buns and egg tarts were available alongside various Hoa-community specialties in Ho Chi Minh City, including wonton noodles, sweet soup, dumplings, and xiu mai – pork meatballs.

Bánh trứng Hong Kong ngon mắt, ngon miệng. Ảnh: Phong Kiều

The Hong-Kong-style egg tarts have moist and sweet golden egg filling. Photo by VnExpress/Phong Kieu

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