Cover Photo: Courtesy of Yiu Fung Store

We round up some of our favourite treats—from pina colada gummies to craft chocolate bars and liquorice-laced candied lemon peels

Hong Kong has always had a sweet spot for, well, sweets. Recent years have seen a rise in the popularity of bubble teas, donuts, and an endless variation of cakes and desserts. Our prediction? Candies—of all varieties, including local and regional traditional fruit treats as well as imported chocolates and jellies—are about to become the next big thing. Here, we round up our favourites from some of Hong Kong's most unique specialty stores and traditional candy shops. Find out where to buy a preserved plum that costs HK$100 (each!) and the candied orange peels as old as you are (they're good, we swear). Here's where to head when the cravings hit.

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Lemon King's Candied Lemon With Liquorice

This classic Hong Kong shop was opened in the 1970s by former hawker vendor Tong Kan-Pui, whose knowledge and exposure to Chinese medicine helped him to create the Lemon King brand. Tong perfected sweet-and-salty preserved lemon peels—a local favourite—together with liquorice, launching the unique fruit treat at his mobile hawker cart that was parked on Sheung Wan’s Wing Kut Street until 2018, when the vendor moved into a store front within walking distance from its original spot.

What to buy: Back in the day, crowds would gather and queue up for Tong’s candied lemon with liquorice, made primarily with round Thai limes as well as his version of preserved ginger, made with old and often stringy ginger preserved with salt and sugar. The alluring aroma and spicy notes made up for the rustic look of the preserved ginger; the concoction is good for clearing throats and soothing dry coughs.

Lemon King, G/F, 18 Wing Kut Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong; +852 3547 2331

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Yiu Fung Store's $100 Preserved Plum

From one family-owned local fruit snack shop to more than 20 outlets across Hong Kong, the brand Yiu Fung went through family feuds and protracted inter-generational court battles to become the brand it is today. While the store’s origin and naming rights are still up in the air, the original Causeway Bay outlet has existed since 1960, and is the one we recommend visiting. The vintage tiled floors are matched with wooden shelves and columns of massive glass jars that are always filled with all kinds of preserved fruits and nostalgic candies and treats. The snack shop often smells sweet, thanks to the brand’s signature collection of dried, often wrinkled preserved fruits, from plums to citrus peels, ginger, and olives.

What to buy: Yiu Fung’s premium king-sized dried pitted plums (HK$100 per tael, about 38 grams) remain the most consistent in quality throughout the years and they are worth every dollar you spent on these snacking sweets, which offer a hit of salty-sweet flavours first, and fruitiness  from the chewy plums. Other Yiu Fung signature snacks include plum-flavoured wampees; dried candied lemons with Sichuan Fritillary, a traditional Chinese medicinal ingredient often used to soothe the throat and ail dry coughs; as well as aged orange peel with dried plums, assorted peanut caramel candies and salted semi-dried kumquats. For more varieties and full catalogue of Yiu Fung’s candies and treats, the Chinese language-only official website is complete with photos and prices great for online shopping. 

Yiu Fung Store, G/F, Po Foo Building, 1-5 Foo Ming Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong; +852 2328 6212

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Mr. Simms's Army & Navy Drops

Rainbow-coloured lollipops and homemade fudge (made by boiling corn syrup, sugar, and evaporated milk together) are bestsellers at Mr Simms, but a true taste of British candy culture includes candy pops such as the purple fizzy dandelion and burdock pops, made with flavours resembling the classic British beverage. For hard candy lovers with fondness for liquorice, the Army And Navy drops are black liquorice candies with a bitter but cooling aftertaste, one that resembles a sweeter, herbaceous twist on a Jager shot. Candies can be purchased by weight or in pre-packaged bags.

Mr Simms, G/F, 37 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong; +852 6596 2756

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Sweet World's Single-Origin Chocolate Bars

Founded by Bookazine co-owners and sisters Shonee and Arti Mirchandani, Sweet World actually started out as a candy corner at the popular English bookstore, acting as a de facto display of the sisters’ extensive travels around the world as they brought in candies from around the globe. After opening a dedicated candy store in Central’s Prince’s Building, the duo expanded the candy store concept to Pacific Place to accommodate more sweets, including alcohol-free cocktail-inspired gummies such as pine colada and fruity pops flavoured with pineapple.

What to buy: Sweet World has an entire display wall showing the shop's most popular chocolate bars, from dark to milk and anything in between with add-ons. The purveyor takes pride in its collection of exclusive chocolates available in Hong Kong, including single origin bars; the French brand Pralus and British Pump Street chocolate bars are some of the best sellers at the shop. Lesser-known varieties such as Antidote, an artisan brand of chocolate made in Ecuador, are some of the rare gems available. Sweet World carries a number of bars from Antidote, including our favourite pink and green peppercorn bars, where the spices add texture and spicy notes to the smooth 70% dark chocolate. Other highlights include Singaporean brand Fossa chocolate bars and their limited edition flavours such as chilli peanut praline and dark chocolate with sake kasu.

Sweet World, Shop 343, 3/F, Prince’s Building, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2555 3411

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Sugarfina's Champagne Gummy Bears

Sugarfina excels on three fronts: caramels, hard bonbons, and a vast collection of colourful gummies. We love the wide variety of caramels, thinly coated with colourful candy coat, but it is the collection of gummies made with liqueur and champagne that sets them apart (Sugarfina prides itself as a ‘candy shop for adults’). Our favourites include the pink gummy bears made with rosé, and the translucent ivory gummy bears flavoured with champagne.

Sugarfina, Shop 1023, Podium Level, IFC Mall, 1 Harbour View Street, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2868 5578

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See's Candies' Sweet Milk Butterchews

The sweets from See’s Candies can be a little bit on the sugary side, but we love sharing a box of milk Butterchew, a chewy and soft brown sugar caramel candy coated with milk chocolate, and dark California mixed nut brittle with friends and loved ones. The online shop also showcases new candy collections from the US, together with ‘warm weather friendly’ candies and lollipops packaged for humid locations such as Hong Kong. Guests can also custom-design their own collection and have them shipped as candy gifts.

See’s Candies, Shop 110B, 1/F Landmark Atrium, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2523 4977

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