[Hong Kong] Lou Po Beng (Wife Cake) at Hang Heung Cake Shop
The only time when I get annoyed about going to Hong Kong is by the prospect of being harassed by family and friends to bring back the famous “lou po beng”/”lao po bing” (translated literally as ‘wife cake’ , also known as ‘sweetheart cake’) from Hang Hueng Cake Shop. My luggage allowance is usually maxed out (I’m a shopaholic!), so having to lug back these heavy boxes of cakes is both a chore and challenge for me. With so many bakeries in Hong Kong selling this traditional cake, the one that truly stand out is that from Hang Heung Cake Shop. All the requests I had specifically point to the ones from Hang Heung Cake Shop or no place else.
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For the uninitiated, this is a traditional Chinese pastry snack which is of Cantonese (Guangdong, China) origins and is popular in Hong Kong and Mainland China. It has flaky skin and the filling is made with winter melon and almond paste. The legend of the origins of the cake is as such (source: Wiki): a dutiful wife sold herself to slavery to treat her father-in-law’s illness and her husband made these sweet cakes to honour and remember her. The cakes became a best seller and he was able to use the money earned to redeem his wife back from slavery. In an alternate version, while her husband was searching for his wife, he reached a teahouse where they served the pastry, which he immediately recognised as that made by his wife and they were reunited at the teahouse.
How good are the ones from Hang Heung? I remembered in my previous trip to Hong Kong, where I was in the hotel lift with about 4 other Singaporeans who just came back from a very fruitful wife cake buying spree at Hang Heung. They were each proudly carrying 2 prized red bags of wife cakes (at least 6 boxes) for their friends & relatives, and they were gushing on and on about how good they were. Before my trip, my mum reminded me at least 5 times to buy them for her. I heard that my brother-in-law was almost tearing from happiness when eating them. And a colleague was closed to drooling, literally, when he was describing the delicious cake.
I never did develop an appreciation for these pastries because I have almost non-existent sweet tooth. But as a foodie, I can really feel others’ love for food, and I truly believe that they are good judging by the word of mouth and the requests. I asked my mum what’s so special about the Hang Heung’s wife cakes, and she said that they are fresh tasting and not too sweet. Not surprising, the wife cake is Hang Heung’s best-selling item though they also sell other pastries such as century egg pastry, egg tarts and mooncakes.
The most convenient branches for tourists is probably the one at Causeway Bay (basement of Sogo) and Mongkok as they are located in the central tourist region and walking distance from the MTR. A tip for buying them is to do so on the last or second last day in Hong Kong, for maximum freshness. A friend taught that you can keep the excess cakes in the freezer and reheat in the microwave for a minute or two.
Hang Heung Cake Shop 恆香老餅家
New Territories Outlet
Address: G/F, 64-66 Yuen Long Main Road, Yuen Long
Phone: +852 2479 2141
Opening Hours: Daily: 6am – 10pm
Hong Kong Outlet
Address: Counter at Sogo Department Store, Basement 2, 555 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay
Tel/電話: +852 2831 8414
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm
Address: G/F, 579 Nathan Road, Mong Kok
Tel/電話: +852 2394 7668
Opening Hours: 10am – 9:50pm
Tsim Sha Tsui
Address: Counter at Sogo Department Store, Basement 2, 12 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel/電話: +852 3556 1180
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm
Address: Shop L120C, Jusco Department Store, LG Level, apm, Millennium City 5, 418 Kwun Tong Road, Kwun Tong
Tel/電話: +852 3148 9213