pineapple bun

Hong Konnovation:
Pineapple Buns 菠蘿包

Background:

Being dubbed by the Hong Kong government as one of its 480 intangible cultural heritages in June of 2014, pineapple buns are one of Hong Kong’s iconic baked goods. One might assume that these crispy yet soft and fluffy treats taste like pineapples but that’s not where its name came from. They were named after the appearance of their crispy top, which resembles the skin of a pineapple. Pineapple buns are commonly eaten for breakfast or afternoon tea.

As seen and mentioned above, the perfect traditional pineapple bun should be golden brown, sweet and crispy on the top yet soft, fluffy and not sweet on the bottom. Although mostly made by machines now, pineapple buns can take as along as 24 hours to make to ensure the correct fermentation time for the dough.

Add butter 加油! 菠蘿油
Add butter 加油! 菠蘿油

Another popular and traditional form that pineapple buns come in is with a thick slab of butter in the middle. Instead of buying these at a bakery, pineapple buns with butter are more often ordered at a traditional Hong Kong style café because it needs to be served hot in order for the butter to melt. As with anything that has a lot of butter, pineapple buns with butter have an aromatic and flavorful taste.

Where can you get one?

Kam Wah Café is a quaint restaurant popular amongst the locals for their pineapple buns and milk tea. They serve a mean pineapple bun with butter because aside from being extreme crispy and gooey, the butter actually has a slight lemon flavor! You can find them at G/F, 47 Bute Street, Prince Edward or contact them on +852 2392 6830.

Experience this with a local insider

Pineapple flavored pineapple buns 菠蘿味菠蘿包
Pineapple flavored pineapple buns 菠蘿味菠蘿包

We previously said that pineapple buns get their name from their appearance; not their flavor, BUT pineapple flavored pineapple buns actually exist. And boy are they tasty. Don’t be deceived though; there still isn’t REAL pineapple in this one, just the flavor.

Where can you get one?

The only place that serves this special pineapple flavored pineapple bun is at a Hong Kong style café in a small alley in Central called Lok Heung Yuen Coffee Shop (also nicknamed Snake Den). This local, loud and chaotic café has a fun and lively atmosphere. You can find them at G/F, No.8-12 Gilman’s Bazaar, Central or contact them on +852 2522 1377.

Pineapple buns with pineapple 菠蘿菠蘿包
Pineapple bun with pineapple 菠蘿菠蘿包

This is what you might have originally expected a pineapple to be, a bun with pineapples inside. Although not our favorite of the pineapple bun variety, it is still worth mentioning that this type of pineapple bun does exist.

Where can you get one?

Tai Tung Bakery in Yuen Long has been in business since 1943, and their Tai Tung pineapple bun is the only one we’ve found that has this pineapple filling. They were one of the main drivers of making pineapple buns one of Hong Kong’s 480 intangible cultural heritages. They are also famous for their wife cakes, a flat, flaky cake that has a winter melon filling. You can find them at G/F, No. 57, Fo Choi Street, Yuen Long or contact them on +852 2476-2630.

Pineapple bun with BBQ pork 脆皮焗叉燒包
Pineapple bun with BBQ pork 脆皮焗叉燒包

Now this is when things REALLY start to get interesting. All of the previously mentioned pineapple buns have all been sweet varieties, but this is the magical combination of sweet and savory! Being a huge fan of BBQ pork, this incredible bun hits the spot every time.

Where can you get one?

Tim Ho Wan is rumored to be the pioneer of this tasty treat. They are famous for being one of the cheapest Michelin starred restaurants. Although they have a smaller menu than most other dim sum joints, everything they make is solid and worth a try. You can find them at Shop 72, G/F, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui or contact them on +852 2332 2896.

Pineapple bun sandwiches 菠蘿包三明治
Pineapple bun sandwiches 菠蘿包三明治

Another crazy way to eat pineapple buns is to cut them in half and make a sandwich with it! What is sandwiched inside could be anything under the sun, but popular things are pork chops, satay beef, and eggs. This is a picture of a pineapple bun sandwich that has the thick cut butter, eggs and tomatoes.

Where can you get one?

This famed café in Yuen Long called 華嫂冰室 always has a wait, but is well worth it. The topping on the pineapple bun is really crispy and the bottom is very airy and fluffy. The fried egg is cooked so that it is just barely runny and the tomatoes are super fresh. Pro tip: There are only 100 tickets for each of their two daily seatings (8:00am-1:00pm and 2:00pm-5:00pm). If you don’t get there near the start of one of the seatings, I would not even waste my time in trying to go. Also, they are closed on Sundays. You can find them at Hang Tau Tsuen, Ping Shan, Yuen Long or on +852 2617 2232.

Eggs, pork floss and tomato pineapple bun sandwich
Eggs, pork floss and tomato pineapple bun sandwich

Up and coming areas such as the “PoHo” area in Sheung Wan have a wide range of trendy restaurants, bars and cafes. And even these new and trendy cafes are getting in on the pineapple bun action. This is a pineapple bun sandwich with pork floss, roasted tomatoes and scrambled eggs.

Where can you get one?

Opened by a tea-obsessed former lawyer, Teakha is nestled in the PoHo area and offers a very relaxing and slow ambiance. It is furnished with open, communal tables and raw light bulbs. In addition to their amazing selection of tea, they also offer a unique variety of pastries and foods. You can find them at Shop B, 18 Tai Ping Shan St., Sheung Wan or on +852 2858 9185.

Need a recap? We get it. Here is a summary:
The original pineapple bun and pineapple bun with butter: Kam Wah Cafe, G/F, 47 Bute Street, Prince Edward
Pineapple flavored pineapple bun: Lok Heung Yuen Coffee Shop, G/F, No.8-12 Gilman’s Bazaar, Central
Pineapple bun with pineapple: Tai Tung Bakery, G/F, No. 57, Fo Choi Street, Yuen Long
Pineapple bun with BBQ pork: Tim Ho Wan, Shop 72, G/F, Olympian City 2, 18 Hoi Ting Road, Tai Kok Tsui
Pineapple bun sandwich: 華嫂冰室, Hang Tau Tsuen, Ping Shan, Yuen Long
Trendy pineapple bun: Teakha, Shop B, 18 Tai Ping Shan St., Sheung Wan

Drooling yet? Happy pineapple bunning.

Hong Konnovation is a series of blog posts that highlights Hong Kong’s unique ability to innovation on traditional things and their love for variety. Stay tuned for more posts, and if you have suggestions for a HongKonnovation topic, please email [email protected].

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Sam the Local

Sam the Local connect you with Hong Kong insiders for customized experiences based on your interests.

 

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Pineapple Buns 菠蘿包

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