Exploring the Vast Supermarket in a Mall: Sogo
After eating dim sum at Sportful Garden Restaurant with my uncle’s relatives, my aunt took me to one of Hong Kong’s major shopping districts, Causeway Bay to explore a huge ass mall that I’ve never encountered before, Sogo. Instead of taking the cab, we took public transportation – the subway.
In Hong Kong, unlike NYC, you don’t pay a flat fare to your destination; the farther you are, the more you pay.
As you can see, Hong Kong’s subways are waay cleaner than NYC’s. There’s no litter. It’s impeccably clean (there’s no gum on the floor). No graffiti. And it doesn’t smell. Interesting thing to note, for me at least, is that they designed the track to be glass encased. Methinks to prevent people jumping on the tracks for one reason or another.
When my aunt and I go down the escalator to the basement of Sogo, this entire store is called Freshmart. Thing is, there’s many subdivisions of individual stalls or shops within it. For example, above is the produce section filled with exotic fruits (at least to an American girl like me) – kiwano, wax apples, and jackfruit that are stored in refrigerated shelves, shrink wrapped. Oooh… I just wished I had more time to eat these fruits but I have to pass since my aunt has plans to fill up my gut with more food.
As we moved on, we stumbled upon a mochi stall. I love mochi. Especially, if they’re poofy and fat like these were. I perused their flavor menu, I chose the peach.
I was presuming I would have a fluffy, sticky rice dough that’s filled with chunks of peach but it wasn’t. The mochi was filled with lots of whipped cream and a dab of peach chunks (say a tablespoon’s worth compared to a 1/4 cup of cream). And it was frozen though I ate this waiting over 30 minutes at room temp. I think my heart sank at this disappointment. Fail.
My aunt walked me over to Hang Heung Cake Place. In the past years when she visit NYC, she usually bring about 7-10 boxes (which contains a dozen each box) of their baked goods, along with Kee Wah.
This particular bakery is a well known, old-school Cantonese where everyone who craves a consistent, very well made wife cake (Cantonese pronounciation: lo po bang), green bean cake, red bean cake, a mini lotus seed cake filled with salted egg yolk, and a mini century egg cake. What makes all these pastries so good is the crust – flaky, light and well, it’s made with melted lard. The fillings are great too, as it tastes like what it should be and they don’t use preservatives. (I bought like 10 boxes of their goods when I went back to NYC the day before I flew back.)
This is meant to give you an idea how awesome their pastries are. A good ratio of filling red bean, in this case, with slices of blanched almonds for some crunch, and flaky crust. The best time to eat it, is of course when you get it while it’s still hot from the oven. Soooo delicious.
What I discovered was the fact that there is a Minamoto Kitchoan shop in Hong Kong! I am a fan of their wagashi but it’s quite a splurge if I really wanted to get some. My aunt was curious to try a few things that she didn’t have before like the Suikanshuku. This confection was a dried persimmon filled with white bean paste and rolled in pearl sugar. It’s barely sweet and chewy. My aunt loved it. I ate this before and liked it as well. Other things we’ve tried were the Yuka (a potent yuzu jelly) and I forgot the name of this pastry but it’s a pastry filled with adzuki bean paste with a whole chestnut in the center.
Since we’re getting thirsty, we walked over to Sogo Café to get milk tea (my aunt) and a shot of espresso (moi). My aunt said their milk tea was pretty good. Better than the one she had at the Grand Hyatt Hotel during the afternoon of her daughter’s wedding. Same applies to my espresso. You have no idea how hard it is to get a decent cup of espresso in Hong Kong.
At the end of this excursion, I felt really full to the point, I don’t want to eat dinner. But my aunt wasn’t willing to cancel dinner plans, so we walked the way back to her apartment to burn some calories we ingested.
(If you’d like to see the cafe in the Grand Hyatt photos with my commentary, go here.)
555 Hennessy Road
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong (map)