June 29th, Wednesday
Hong Kong is definitely a place where people live to eat
There’s a reason why Hong Kong carries the reputable label of “Gourmet Paradise” and “World’s Fair of Food”.
My food experiences thus far in Hong Kong have been nothing short of amazing.
But none could compare to what I ate last night.
Last night, my life changed forever.
Yesterday after work, my roommate went to the Mandarin Cake Shop in Central. The place just happens to be called by some websites as Hong Kong’s best bakery.
The city’s “must-visit” for sweet indulgences did not disappoint.
When this box opened:
We were greeted by this beautiful sight:
My lovely, wonderful, thoughtful, generous, selfless, caring, kind roommate had brought back 6 delectable morsels for us both to sample.
I know, I was so taken aback by this enormous act of random kindness that I was immobilized for the next 5 minutes.
But don’t worry; 2 minutes later, I was brandishing a fork and deciding on which morsel to attack first.
In the words of Jason Love, “I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert.”
1. American cheesecake
The creamy filling had a smooth and creamy texture with just the right balance of sweetness and tartness. The crumbly crust held up against the velvety filling, and provided the perfect textural contrast. It was rich enough to seem decadent, but the light texture balanced it all out.
2. Opera cake
One mouthful of this dessert was enough for the both of us to immediately declare it was ambrosia. The soft layers of cookies soaked in coffee syrup retained a bit of their crunch which provided a lovely contrast with the lush coffee-flavored butter cream. The rich, smooth dark chocolate ganache cut through the aromatic coffee with an acidic chocolate aftertaste that beckoned us to take bite after bite.
3. Mango tart
With generous chunks of luscious, ripe mango, this was a sweet tart indeed. The flaky buttery crust housed a rich bed of creamy custard and finished with large, flavorful chunks of mango on top. The crust was the best part of the tart: crisp but not overly crunchy. The velvety custard was the perfect contrast for the sweet fruit.
4. Sacher cake
The edible gold leaf on top of the cake made it especially fun to eat. The texture was fairly dense, but was packed with flavor from each of its layers. The mild apricot jam lent a light citrus tang to each bite of the cake and the rich chocolate fondant icing packed a strong cocoa flavor. The center of the cake was the best; the abundance of apricot jam provided an orangey sweet note accompanied by bold chocolate undertones.
5. Carrot cake
The even layers of dense cake had a good balance between the carrots and spices. Although it was not truly exceptional, the generous amounts of butter-smooth cream cheese frosting infused each bite with sweet deliciousness.
6. French cream horn
The deceivingly simplistic cream horn had a smooth and shiny appearance that reminded one of a fine flaky croissant. However, upon breaking into the shell that housed generous mounds of whipped cream, the flavor proved to be similar to a cream puff. The crisp buttery pastry and mounds of soft cream paired to create a dessert that was both simple yet complicated at the same time.
The Mandarin Cake Shop
Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
5 Connaught Road
Mezzanine floor (M floor)
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 2825 4008
After eating enough cake to induce a sugar coma, we went for an hour long run with another intern at a nearby park.
When we came back, sweet dreams were to be had.