If you’ve not heard of the cronut yet… where have you been?! This delectable croissant-doughnut hybrid originally created by New York chef Dominique Ansel has taken the world by storm – and now Hong Kong has finally got in on the act with a few versions of its own.
Of course, all things sweet happen to be Team Sassy’s speciality – hence the introduction of “Cronut Thursdays” where we made it our mission to sample every single cronut available in Hong Kong… the things we do for our readers (admittedly, we could only find four so it didn’t take that long)! So risking diets, diabetes and major food comas, we bring you our ultimate Cronut Guide to Hong Kong – time to tuck in!
What is a cronut?
Well, firstly, let’s try not to call it that anymore – Dominique Ansel has trademarked the term! The gloriously calorie-laden lovechild of the classic French pastry and the all-American snack, it’s basically croissant pastry in the shape of a doughnut that’s been deep fried, then filled with cream, glazed and/or dusted in sugar accordingly. As we soon discovered, every Hong Kong version is slightly different…
Available in a range of flavours, $30
Our cronut quest got off to a poor start with Swissbeck’s offerings – they were SO not worth the calories! Somehow dry yet incredibly greasy, just one bite of these heavy, doughy bricks sank immediately in our stomachs. These were also the most expensive of the bunch, with Viv describing them as “tasting like stale doughnuts” (and that was probably amongst the kinder mentions)… so the short advice here is, “Don’t bother!”
Swissbeck G/F, 23 Hollywood Road, Soho, Central
2668 0401 www.swissbeck.hk
The Mandarin Cake Shop
Available in original or chocolate flavours, $26
We’d heard good things about The MO’s version of the croissant-doughnut, and the chocolate flavour in particular turned out to be pretty legit. Although the original was a tad greasy for our tastes, the chocolate one boasted a rich chocolate filling that tipped it just the right side of moist (rather than oily). These leaned towards the doughnut side of the cronut equation and were pretty hefty –definitely more of a once-in-a-while indulgence than an everyday snack!
Just remember – the MO makes just 80 of these each morning and afternoon (40 of each flavour), so calling ahead to pre-order is advised!
The Mandarin Cake Shop M/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road, Central
2825 4008 www.mandarinoriental.com/hongkong/fine-dining/the-mandarin-cake-shop
Available in plain, chocolate and raspberry flavours, $16-17
Our favourite doughnut-croissant creation turned out to be those made by Petite Amanda, the bakery founded by Hong Kong model-turned-patissiere Amanda S. These were definitely more ‘cro’ than ‘do’ – they immediately flaked up in true croissant-style when we cut into them and had a harder, dryer texture than all the other cronuts we tried (they are baked rather than fried, apparently).
But the most important part… they were totally delicious! Light, flaky, and sweet but not too sweet, the plain flavour is filled with custard, whilst the raspberry one is filled with a yummy fruity jam (and chocolate with chocolate obviously). Sadly for our waistlines, these were all too easily polished off, with Team Sassy making light work of the three pastries in no time; unlike the other cronuts we tried, you could definitely have a whole one to yourself… and still have room for more (uh-oh). Top marks!
Petite Amanda Shop 2096, Podium Level 2, International Finance Centre Mall, 1 Harbour View Street, Central
2234 7222 www.petiteamanda.com
The Holiday Inn Golden Mile
Available in cinnamon, raspberry, pineapple and chocolate flavours, $22
Final stop on our cronut adventure and doing it for The Dark Side were The Holiday Inn’s “cro-dos” (thumbs up for creating a new hybrid name!). These certainly looked the prettiest, with colourful icing and decoration on top; however, that was pretty much where the compliments ended!
Despite supposedly being three different flavours, all our cro-dos tasted near identical – namely, sweet, too heavy on the cream filling and indistinguishable from a regular doughnut. Even when we cut into them, we couldn’t see much trace of the trademark flaky layering that the other three doughssant offerings had… to all intents and purposes, these really were just cream-filled doughnuts with a fancy new name. Again, The Holiday Inn highly recommends you call in advance to pre-order as they’re selling like hot cakes (…or doughnuts!).
Delicatessen Corner Level B1, Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong, 50 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
2315 1020 www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/hong-kong/hkgkl/hoteldetail/dining
Drum roll please… Sassy’s definitive cronut rankings:
- Petite Amanda
- The Mandarin Cake Shop
- The Holiday Inn Golden Mile
- 99. Swissbeck Bakery
And so ends our Hong Kong cronut quest! We’re still not sure we’ve found the perfect cronut that’s worth all the hype just yet, but our top tips for getting your croissant-doughnut fix in Hong Kong are Petite Amanda’s version (for those of you that aren’t cronut purists) or The Mandarin Oriental’s chocolate flavour.
What we do know is that Thursdays in the office are definitely a little less fun now (even if we are all now a lot fatter)… time to bring on the duffins, Hong Kong!