Thursday, September 20, 2012

2012 HK Trip - Hui Lau Shan (許留山)

Location: Wan Chai (灣仔), S.A.R. Hong Kong

Note: This article is written base on the experience in the outlet located in 163 Hennessy Road. Experience may differ from other outlets in Hong Kong.

Note 2: This article was written prior to the setup of Hui Lau Shan in Malaysia, and may not reflect the same experience.

The first impression I recalled of traveling in Hong Kong's MTR was a large paneled advertisement, showing desserts featured in vivid tangerine yellow, with mango being the highlight here. It mentioned 'Mango Fiesta', with mango cakes, mango puddings and mango whatever portrayed in mouth-watering arrangements, highlighting the slogan, 'Mango, it must be Hui Lau Shan' (芒果,始終許留山). 

Of course, that was back in April and Malaysia had no local branches of Hui Lau Shan yet, so I could be forgiven for not knowing what that was all about. The fact that these ads were seen across everywhere ensured an ad hoc spot of its visit in our plan.

The advertisement of 'Mango Fiesta" by Hui Lau Shan was seen almost everywhere we went in Hong Kong, and the vivid yellow was quite inviting.

The establishments of Hui Lau Shan were numerous in Hong Kong, sprouting almost everywhere we went, almost on a fighting par with fast food chains such as McDonald's and KFC. Chancing across one in Wan Chai (灣仔) and at a whim, we decided to set our feet into the shop.

Hui Lau Shan has its shops well lit with vibrant amber lighting and an interior decorated to be modern sits well with most of its visitors who turned out to be youngsters, though there were families present as well. A storefront with colorful desserts lining the chilled display cabinet beckoned visitors to enter and sample the latest choice offered by the shop.

The storefront greeted passerby with a colorful array of dessert lining the chilled display cabinet, beckoning the former to enter the store and sample the latest desserts for offer.

The store of Hui Lau Shan often stood in stark contrast with the surrounding shops, especially when it is in a neighborhood lacking any vibrant decorations. 

With the term dessert, one could not be blamed for having sickening and unhealthy sweetness in mind. Hui Lau Shan claims to be selling healthy dessert, and it isn't wrong to claim so. This Hong Kong version of desserts is usually traditional Chinese herbal ones, such as Gwai Ling Gou (龜苓膏), or tropical fruit filled version, which the locals had taken to a liking.

To us Malaysians, such tropical fruits are readily available, but Hong Kong has no such luxury. Desserts are meant for after meals consumption, and what better than to have succulent fruits to consume post-meal? Hui Lau Shan did not deliver the fruits directly, choosing instead to wrap them in cakes, ice-cream and such, combining the western desserts with tropical fruits.

Vibrant amber lighting provided a well-lit interior. The interior of the store is designed to be modern, drawing the younger population to patronize the store.

The dessert which we chose to order: Double-layer Goodness series. The set comes in the form of 2 cups, a base layer cup and a top layer cup, each having 5 choices, making the total number of possible combination a whooping 25.

The menu which were laid in front of us had a lot of choices for offer, and for a moment, we were truly lost in swimming through our choices. For those expecting to be overwhelmed with choices, they will not be disappointed. Take your time to pick through your choices as well, for unlike the usual Hong Kong dining spots, Hui Lau Shan serves with a courtesy and takes their time in taking down your order. At least that was the case for the Wan Chai outlet.

Not all the choices listed on the standing panel are available, so in the end we made our choices to be: Mango Extract Mango Cubes + Mango Pudding, and Coconut Milk Red Beans + Mango Mousse.

To simplify our lives and have our just dessert, we just picked from the standing panel on our table, which offered the Double-layer Goodness series. The set came in a cup, with the thick base layer being either pudding or mousse depending of which one of the 5 available choices are ordered. Coupled with the base was a top layer, which was delivered on another cup which was seated on top of the base cup. This too, had 5 available choices, making it a total possible of 25 combination, allowing one to choose to his heart's delight.

Coconut Milk Red Beans + Mango Mousse (HKD18) was a great try, but the mango mousse was not so full of the fruit's flavor. For a Malaysian like me, this may not strike one as an impressive dessert. The coconut milk is not sweet, and this allow the inlaid red beans to shine as the main ingredient of this combination. Smearing it onto the base layer of mango mousse, and scoop both up to savor the taste.

It is quite easy to enjoy the dessert - just smear some of the top layer contents onto the base layer, and scoop both up into your mouth to your delight! The base layer is always offered with soft but firm content (pudding and mousse), whereas you get the top layer with chewy goodness embedded within.

Between the ordered Mango Extract Mango Cubes + Mango Pudding, and Coconut Milk Red Beans + Mango Mousse, I preferred the former. The taste of mango was soothing and cool, but with the temperature outdoors being under 20C, it was just a mild sensation compared to if you were savoring it under the hot Malaysian sun. Still, it doesn't change one's love for mango despite sitting in a location thousands of kilometers away from home.

Mango Extract Mango Cubes + Mango Pudding (HKD18) was a stark contrast to the aforementioned set. The deep sweet taste of mango was evident from the vivid tangerine of the whole set. With firm and chewy cubes of the fruit, it truly was a gift from the tropics. Smearing the top layer onto the base layer gave no difference, as both were filled with the taste of mango anyway.

Shall one still visit Hui Lau Shan if he had patronized the ones in Malaysia? I would still advise so, and to try to sample whatever was not offered in our country, although I would expect the disparity to be a short list. If you have a tight journey schedule and a tighter budget, with lots of sights left to be seen, then best to just skip this and put priority on others on your travel list. Having said that, one's craving for fruity dessert may not leave much room for argument, and will just lead you to this shop anyway.








Suitable for:              dessert with families and friends; takeaway back to your room to enjoy if you are already filled to the neck with Hong Kong yummies
Cost:                              not exactly cheap for desserts, but still affordable

Website:                      Hui Lau Shan official website in Mandarin

Contact:                      +852 - 2511 3038 (灣仔軒尼詩道)
Address:                       Shop D, 163 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
                                          灣仔軒尼詩道163號D舖
                                        
Operating hours:    Sun - Thu, Public Holiday (12.00 p.m. - 12.00 a.m.)
                                        Fri, Sat, Public Holiday eve (12.00 p.m. - 12.30 a.m.)
Getting there:          Exit at Wan Chai MTR station Exit A2, then walk along Hennessy Road along the direction of the traffic. The vivid yellow signboard should be quite obvious.





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