Hakka sweets in Hong Kong

Chuen Cheung Kui Restaurant

Have you tasted these Hakka sweets–deep-fried milk or steamed Hakka buns?

Days before Chinese New Year, anthropology professor Sidney Cheung of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, took us to a local Hakka restaurant, Chuen Cheung Kui Restaurant in Hong Kong. We ate traditional Hakka dishes such as salt-baked chicken and stuffed tofu, but for me, who loves sweets, what I remember the most were the desserts. Like most Chinese desserts, they had intriguing textures but were not very sweet compared to Western versions.

Deep-fried Milk

I had read the deep-fried milk was a must-try at this restaurant. Big lumps of mildly sweet milk pudding were coated in a thin light batter and deep-fried until crisp and golden. Served hot with sugar to dip into, they were irresistible. Unlike other versions of fried custards or puddings I have eaten, these were softer and more voluptuous in size. The crisp exterior deliciously contrasted with the smooth pillow-soft milk pudding interior.

Steamed Hakka Buns

Cheung’s kids insisted we also order the steamed Hakka buns that they had eaten here before. I’m glad they did. Steamed buns, the color of aged ivory, cratered with craggy fissures, sat on a square of banana leaf. Their texture and appearance resembled the bready exterior of a steamed pork bun. The bread boasted a fine, dense, moist, tender crumb. I detected a mild caramel sweetness and golden color that might have originated from brown sugar or the Chinese brown slab sugar. Even though they had no filling, we couldn’t stop eating these soft, slightly sweet buns.

Do you know these Hakka desserts? If so, please share your recipes.


Chuen Cheung Kui Restaurant
Shop C, 1/F, Alliance Building, 133 Connaught Road
Hong Kong
Hong Kong Island, Sheung Wan

2 thoughts on “Hakka sweets in Hong Kong

  1. LInda I’m not sure if it’s the same but there’s a local Kueh called Hee Pan that sounds/looks similar to the second sweet.

    It’s popular (but not common) in Malaysia and Singapore and known as a Hakka specialty. There’s a number of websites with recipes and I am going to try making it one day. Coincidentally I recently stumbled on the Hakka snack as part of a cooking session on other kuihs.

    Your picture doesn’t look exactly like Hee Pan – the ‘smile’ burst looks like a HK pao which is achieved with the addition on baking & ammonia powder to the dough (or so my Dimsum teacher said). Maybe it’s a Hong Kong variation.

    But the color and texture seems the same. For the Hakka Hee pan they flavor and colour it with yellow sweet potatoes or purple yams. When I try making it, I’ll let you know.

    • I think you are right about the sweet potatoes. Let me know how they turn out. Thanks for the comment Sandy.

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