Looking for a good old Hong Kong classic? Here’s where to find the best pineapples buns in the city.
As pretty and dainty as macarons and other sweet treats are, there are times when only a good old classic will do the trick. Although the name can be deceiving, we love the humble pineapple bun for what it is: a soft, fluffy bun that’s substantial and will do what food’s supposed to do (fill you up!), topped with a sweet, crunchy crust.
With so many on offer in Hong Kong, this list is to help you steer clear of the not-so-great and discover the ones worthy of true pineapple bun status as part of Hong Kong’s intangible cultural heritage.
Kam Fung Cafe
This old-school cha chaan teng dates back to 1957 but is still as popular as ever, thanks to its best-selling pineapple buns. Besides fulfilling the usual criteria of being soft and fluffy, the bready part of the bun stays moist, even after being left out for quite a while. The crust on top is delightfully sandy and crumbly, and almost covers the entire surface for sufficient crunch in every bite. Be warned though – these babies usually sell out by 5pm, so definitely get there as early as you can. We were also very impressed by the chicken pies (another cha chaan teng classic!), which are made with the crumbliest, most melt-in-your-mouth short crust pastry we’ve ever had.
Price: $6 (add $3 for butter)
Hours: Monday to Sunday: 6:45am – 7pm
Kam Fung Cafe, 41 Spring Garden Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 25720526
Kam Wah Cafe
Kam Wah may be a tourist favourite, but it’s popularity is justified, as its pineapple buns here are super scrummy. The servers are renowned for being pretty surly, but for this small price, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful dome of yumminess, draped with a generous layer of golden-brown crust, with the perfect balance of crumbliness and crunch. You’re required to buy a drink if you’re dining in, so we prefer to grab our buns from the counter at the front of the cafe and munch on them on the street.
Price: $6 (add $4 for butter)
Hours: 6am – 11:30pm
Kam Wah Cafe, 47 Bute Street, Prince Edward, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2392 6830
Hong Lin Restaurant
We’ll let you in on our little secret. Just two minutes away from Kam Wah is Hong Lin Restaurant, which is where we personally like to head to for our pineapple bun fix. Hong Lin’s pineapple buns are just as good as Kam Wah’s, minus the crowds. Some of us even think the pineapple buns here have a crispier top. The best part about Hong Lin is that it stays open until 3am, so you know where to go when the late night munchies hit.
Price: $6 (add $4 for butter)
Hours: 6:30am – 3am
Hong Lin Restaurant, G/F, 143-145 Tung Choi Street, Prince Edward, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 23918398
Sai Kung Cafe & Bakery
Despite being one of the pricier pineapple buns in Hong Kong, Sai Kung Cafe & Bakery’s buns are worth every penny. This bakery churns out over 100 batches of pineapple buns each day – which sell out by 5pm, even on weekdays. These beauties are bigger than average and are enveloped by a gorgeous golden brown crust that extends to all edges of the bun. The crust is more sandy than crunchy, perfect for those who prefer crumbly crusts over super crunchy ones. Like Kam Wah, you’ll have to buy a drink to dine in here, so we suggest ordering your treats to-go to having them by the sea instead.
Price: $10 (add $6 for butter)
Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7am – 9:30pm
Sai Kung Cafe & Bakery, G/F, 6-7 Kam Po Court, 2 Hoi Pong Square, Sai Kung, New Territories, Hong Kong, 2792 3861
If you like big buns and you cannot lie, you’ll absolutely adore Kowloon Restaurant’s voluptuous bombshells. The pineapple buns here are known to be one of the biggest in the city, and are visibly taller than the average bun. The restaurant doesn’t skimp on quality, as despite the size, these buns are just as pillowy as others, and are topped with a crunchy, crispy crust that nearly blankets the whole surface. We love how the butter is served on the side here, perched atop an ice cube to stop it from melting.
Price: $6 (add $5 for butter)
Hours: Monday to Sunday: 6:30am – 11pm
Mrs Tang Cafe
Loyal patrons of Mrs Tang will always claim that the original way up in Yuen Long is the best, but we think that the Wan Chai outpost comes pretty close. This legendary cafe is best known for its signature pineapple bun sandwich ($20), stuffed with a fried egg, tomatoes, and a thick slab of butter. However, our personal favourite is the pineapple bun pork chop sandwich ($26), a heavenly combo of thickly-sliced pork chop, tender and juicy with caramelised edges, iceberg lettuce, tomato and mustard mayo, all sandwiched between a toasted pineapple bun. If you’re just looking to get a good old classic, Mrs Tang is your best bet, as it serves two slices of butter in its buttered pineapple buns. We never said pineapple buns were waistline-friendly, did we?
Price: $10 (add $4 for butter)
Hours: Monday to Saturday: 8am – 9pm, Closed on Sunday
Ball Law Cowssant 🥐presented by Urban Bakery. It’s a fusion of western croissant and Hong Kong traditional po luo bao (pineapple bun) complete with a slab of butter. It’s really devil in terms of calories but is really tasty! I like this hybrid more than the tradition pineapple bun with butter. Remember to have it when it’s still warm to enjoy its best flavor! 📍3/F, The Landmark, Central, Hong Kong #foodieskei_central #urbanbakery #balllawcowssant #landmark #central #croissant #butter #pineapplebun #butterlover #hongkong #foodpic #bakery #hongkongfood #instafood food #foodphotography #香港 #香港美食 #菠蘿牛 #菠蘿牛角包 #大膽菠蘿牛 #foodieskei #foodieskei_hongkong
Urban Bakery’s Ball Law Cowssant is not for the faint hearted. It’s a marriage of the best that France and Hong Kong have to offer – a holy union of the croissant and the pineapple bun. This Eurasian baby is buttery, crisp, flaky, and crowned with a sweet, crunchy crust you’d expect from a good pineapple bun. All Urban Bakery croissants are freshly made at each store with French AOC butter, but the fact they stuff the Ball Law Cowssant with a generous slice of beurre d’Isigny makes it all the more divine.
Price: $18 (add $12 for butter)
Hours: Monday to Friday: 7:30am – 8pm, Saturday, Sunday & PH: 8:30am – 8pm
Featured image via Getty. Image #1 courtesy of ericten via Instagram, image #2 courtesy of chrisaoeats via Instagram, image #3 courtesy of mikiwong__ via Instagram, image #4 courtesy of toadeater7805 via Instagram, image #5 courtesy of mau_chai via Instagram, image #6 courtesy of little_hungry_iris via Instagram, image #7 courtesy of keilam.19 via Instagram,