As part of our series celebrating the vibrancy and community within Hong Kong’s dining scene, we spoke to several of the industry’s leading lights about why they love the city’s unique food culture. Here, Ringo Chan—the award-winning executive pastry chef at Four Seasons Hong Kong, where he has worked since its launch in 2005 – tells us about the local ingredients he loves using in his desserts and his top spot for snacking on his favourite Hong Kong pastry.
Tell us about some of your favourite Hong Kong food memories…
As a pastry chef, it’s a local pastry called sha yung (沙翁) that is engraved in my childhood memories! These traditional sugar egg puffs are like a Hong Kong-style, deep-fried version of a beignet or pâte à choux, but they’re made from baking powder and baking soda—giving them a lighter, fluffier texture that is moist inside, alongside a more eggy flavour.
Every time I pass by Jordan, it always transports me back in time to when my mom would take me on a sha yung expedition. I had my first and best sha yung from a shop there; unfortunately, it closed down many years ago, but it was super delicious, and I can still remember it to this day.
Last time I visited Tai O for a day trip with my family, I found some good sha yung at a shop there called Tai O Bakery; because the bakery is very popular, they’re always churning out freshly made, still warm sha yung. I like how generous they are with the amount of sugar sprinkled on top, which makes it extra tasty.
See also: What To Eat, Drink And Do In Tai O
What are some of your favourite local ingredients to use?
I love Hong Kong milk tea and chrysanthemum from Hangzhou—both of which I have used to create desserts at Four Seasons.
I use Hong Kong milk tea as the main ingredient for a dessert served in The Lounge—Hong Kong milk tea ice cream, accompanied with a traditional candy and coconut wrap known as “springfield pizza” (糖蔥餅) and toasted coconut flakes. This dessert is also served with my childhood favourite, a petit sha yung!
Meanwhile, my dessert of smooth chrysanthemum and lemon crème with malt choux is served in Lung King Heen; it’s a collaboration of Western techniques and Chinese ingredients. I created a lemon-shaped dessert with four layers of textures and flavours; when you cut the dessert open, the outer layer is chrysanthemum crèmeux, the second layer is citrus jelly, the third is lemon curd, and the final bottom layer is crispy chocolate to add texture. Chrysanthemum has a host of health benefits, and the refreshing lemon flavour is truly incredible after a hearty meal.