Satisfy your sweet tooth cravings with a local classic. Here’s where to find the best pineapple bun in Hong Kong.
While we love cookies, doughnuts and other insta-favourite sweet treats as much as the next person, 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 with a sweet, crunchy top that’s both substantial and will do what food’s supposed to do -fill you up! 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.
Read more: The Best Dim Sum In Hong Kong
How To Judge Your Pineapple Buns
First thing’s first, how can you tell a good pineapple bun from the bad? Here are some expert tips to bear in mind (according to local food critics):
- Look at the bun. Does it have a nice golden sheen to it? If it doesn’t, the warning signs are there. It’s likely that the bun has been in the oven for too long.
- Check the (pineapple) crust. Does it have those cracked, wrinkly lines? This is what you want to look for when it comes to a sufficiently crispy bun (yes please!).
- Press onto the bun. Here you will check two things. Firstly, does it bounce back? If so, it means there’s enough bread in there, and not just air (that’s a good thing!). Second, does the crust fall off easily? If it does, unfortunately that means the crust and the bun don’t quite fit together (something you want to avoid).
- Last but not least, bite into it. Are you drooling yet?
Where To Find The Best Pineapple Bun In Hong Kong
A local staple in Happy Valley, this coffee shop has been around for 69 years. If you’re in the neighbourhood during the weekends, you won’t miss it as it’s always crowded with people outside waiting for a table. Millennials come for the retro interiors (“for the gram”), whereas older generations come for the famous pineapple buns. The perfectly soft bun is coated with a crispy yet not crumbly crust. Never too sweet, every bite into this bun makes you long for more. Loyal customers come from all over Hong Kong, and we can guarantee you will soon become one of them.
Price: $8 (add $6 for butter)
Hours: 7am to 6pm
Cheung Hing Coffee Shop, G/F, 9-11 Yik Yam Street, Happy Valley, Hong Kong, 2572 5097
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: $7 (add $5 for butter)
Hours: 6:30am to 2am
Hong Lin Restaurant, G/F, 143-145 Tung Choi Street, Prince Edward, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2391 8398
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 shortcrust pastry we’ve ever had.
Price: $7 (add $3 for butter)
Hours: 6:45am to 7pm, Monday to Sunday
Kam Fung Cafe, 41 Spring Garden Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong, 2572 0526
Kam Wah may be a tourist favourite, but its 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 that boasts 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: 6:30am to 11pm
Kam Wah Cafe, 47 Bute Street, Prince Edward, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2392 6830
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. Rest assured, the restaurant doesn’t skimp on quality; despite the size, these buns are just as pillowy as others, and come 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: 6:30am to 1am, Monday to Sunday (Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui); 6:30am to 12am, Monday to Sunday (Tsuen Wan)
Craving pineapple buns and burgers? Lee Lo Mei’s got you covered. Along with its a funky, old-school interior, the restaurant is known for offering nostalgic Hong Kong dishes with a modern twist. In particular, its Ping Pong Buns features both a juicy char siu patty and a pineapple bun (with a perfectly crunchy crust and fluffy exterior). In the name of taking our Canto delicacy literally, the buns also feature a slice of pineapple, which perfectly balances out the juiciness of the patty.
Hours: 12pm to 12am, Monday to Thursday; 12pm to 2am, Friday to Saturday
Located out in Yuen Long, 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 looking for added bang for your buck, Mrs Tang is your best bet as it serves two slices of butter in its buttered pineapple buns. We never said they were waistline-friendly, did we?
Price: $10 (add $5 for butter)
Hours: 8am to 9pm, Monday to Saturday; 8am to 5pm, Sunday
Despite being on the pricier side, Sai Kung Cafe & Bakery’s pineapple buns are worth every penny. This bakery churns out over 100 batches of buns each day – all of 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 and enjoying them by the sea instead.
Price: $11 (add $6 for butter)
Hours: 7am to 8:30pm, Monday to Sunday
Sai Kung Cafe & Bakery, G/F, 6-7 Kam Po Court, 2 Hoi Pong Square, Sai Kung, New Territories, Hong Kong, 2792 3861
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 the very same sweet, crunchy crust you’d expect from a good pineapple bun. All Urban Bakery croissants are freshly made in-store with French AOC butter, but the fact that 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: 7:30am to 8pm, Monday to Friday; 8:30am to 8pm, Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays
Editor’s Note: This post was originally written by Rachel Au on 24 September, 2018 and updated by Team Sassy in November, 2020. With thanks to Cynthia Lok for her contribution.
Featured image courtesy of Lydia Ching, image 1 courtesy of Cynthia Lok, image 2 missfoodiepoo via Instagram, image 3 courtesy of superdhuang via Instagram, image 4 courtesy of soullighteats via Instagram, image 5 courtesy of gz_eido_d via Instagram, image 6 courtesy of Lee Lo Mei via Facebook, image 7 courtesy of Mrs Tang Cafe via Facebook, image 8 courtesy of hkfoodiexblogger via Instagram, image 9 courtesy of Urban Bakery via Facebook.