Cover The Baker & The Bottleman's hot cross buns (Photo: The Baker & The Bottleman)

The buns have risen! Here are all the places where you’ll find the Easter classic, from straightforward renditions to reimagined creations

These symbolic buns with their distinctive cross across the top is a common sight in the lead up to Easter, a celebratory bread that many attribute to honouring Good Friday, the day of Christ’s crucifixion. In some circles, however, the hot cross bun is more of a tribute to Eostre, the goddess of spring and light (yes, her name eventually lent itself to ‘Easter’); the Saxons would bake buns marked with crosses, with each quarter representing different quarters of the moon. Whatever version of history you subscribe to, the humble hot cross bun—soft and pillowy and scented throughout with spices, moreishly speckled with raisins—is a highlight of spring. Here’s where to find the finest in Hong Kong, with a few surprises along the way.

1. The Baker & The Bottleman

Our go-to for some of the best British-style bakes, The Baker & The Bottleman ups the ante with their buttery brioche buns rich with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, and rum-soaked raisins.

HK$35 for one or HK$490 for 15 pieces

2. Bakehouse

Is there any bakery classic that Gregoire and his team can’t master? As always, there’s a Bakehouse twist to the item; in this case, the hot cross bun is spiced with cinnamon and a cheeky splash of rum, filled with raisins and orange peel, and finally glossed off with a citrus syrup glaze.

Available until 18 April at Wan Chai, Soho and Tsim Sha Tsui branches of Bakehouse.

HK$20 for one

3. Dang Wen Li

Yes, it’s a hot cross bun—not a cake masquerading as one! The Dang Wen Li HCB features a house mix of spices including cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, and the bun also gets extra flavour and texture from candied orange peel and candied lemon zest in addition to obligatory raisins. The buns are finished off with a brush of cinnamon-infused syrup.

HK$158 for a box of 6

4. Feather & Bone

This gourmet food purveyor is in on the hot cross game, using Feather & Bone chef Mick’s own recipe with spices, dried fruits and raisins and comes with a little pat of Pepe Saya butter to serve. The buns are sold out online but you can still head to F&B branches between 11-19 April to try your luck, as limited quantities are available only.

HK$20 for one, HK$68 for 4, HK$100 for 6

5. Fortnum & Mason

If you’re more partial to a biccie and a cup of tea, then this Fortnum & Mason offering is a lovely take on an Easter staple. Handmade in small batches by a family-run bakery in Scotland, the Fortnum’s Hot Cross Bun Shortbread involves orange-infused sultanas, candied stem ginger, cinnamon and mixed spice and is hand-piped with the signature cross icing.

HK$128 per box

6. Four Seasons Cake Shop

The recipe for these perfect little buns dates all the way back to when pastry chef Ringo Chan was still an apprentice. His version is upgraded with Sicilian candied lemon and orange peels, raisins, candied melon, French butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. Available from the online e-shop or at the hotel from now until 18 April.

HK$35 for one

7. Gelato Messina

It’s hot out, so if you want, you eat your hot cross bun with cooling gelato on the side. The limited edition Easter Snack Pack (serves six) available from the Soho gelateria includes a bake-at-home hot cross bun sticky snail (studded with chocolate chips, laced with vanilla custard and topped with cinnamon malt caramel), to be paired with a triple chocolate gelato.

HK$450 per set

8. Pane e Latte

This hot cross bun and bombolini love child, which comes filled with a glorious custard in the middle, is available at the Stanley restaurant and cafe between 15 and 18 April.

HK$48 for one

9. Proof

The Happy Valley bakery has launched a brand new hot cross bun, flavoured with chocolate and studded with dried cranberries. The best part? It’s available all April long.

HK$33 for one

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