Famous Hong Kong cha chaan teng Honolulu Café has officially opened its inaugural international outpost in Singapore and we had the honour to savour their menu firsthand just a few hours ago.
Local chefs from Hong Kong’s Honolulu Café are also sent to Singapore to ensure that the dishes served here remain similar to the flagship store’s.
Honolulu Café was founded in Hong Kong during the 1940s, where it started out as a humble eatery selling coffee, tea and baked confectionery. The casual eatery is renowned for their scrumptious egg tarts, pineapple buns and Hong Kong milk tea – we are glad that we no longer have to board a four-hour flight just to satisfy our cravings!
No trip to Honolulu Cafe is complete until you have tried their signature Honolulu Egg Tarts (S$1.70++ each). Each palm-size flaky pastry encases to-die-for sweet soft egg custard; the dough had been frozen overnight and folded into many layers to achieve a crisp shell.
Is it exactly like those god-like ones we had in Hong Kong? Close enough. Well, we have to be honest that we were too carried away with taking photos and swooning over the tart of our dreams, so by the time we bit into the case, it was cold. That said, the custard was distinctly creamy, smooth, wobbly and subtly sweet; we remembered the ones in Hong Kong to be like that. The pastry was no doubt flaky, and fragrant with strong primary notes of butter.
Hopefully the next time we visit, we’d get to taste them warm for more exact comparison!
Honolulu Cafe’s next bestselling item is the popular Hong Kong snack, Honolulu Pineapple Bun with Butter (S$2++ each). Known as Bo Lo Bao in Cantonese, these buns are crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and served lukewarm with a slab of melting butter in-between.
Yes, get this.
Another favourite is the Chicken Wings with Swiss Sauce (S$6++ for six pieces) – which actually has zero link to Switzerland. Instead, these tender chicken mid wings have been marinated in a myriad of Chinese wine, soy sauce, spices and sugar. The plate came with generous sauce, and we took the effort to coat our wings in the soy sauce further before eating them. Mamma mia!
Now, this may sound random but another must-order savoury dish would be the succulent Sweet and Sour Pork with Rice (S$7.80++). You would think it is weird to eat a typical “tze char” dish at Honolulu Cafe, but trust us – these succulent pork chunks are well executed. Those with a stronger palate may find it a tad too bland, but we thought it was just the right balance of flavours.
We have always struggled to find authentic Hong Kong-style curry fish balls in Singapore and boy, are we glad that Honolulu Cafe has finally filled the gap! Bouncy and “full”, these Curry Fish Balls (S$3++) pack an addictive punch with every bite.
The curry paste is imported from Hong Kong and cooked to order here in Singapore, so it is definitely one of those highly recommended that you should get.
Mr. Luo Tak – the Winner of both 2010 International Hong Kong Milk Tea Competition and 2011 Hong Kong Yuan Yang Competition – is stationed at Singapore’s Honolulu Cafe to make sure that customers can enjoy authentic Hong Kong-style milk tea.
Help yourselves to Tea or Coffee with Condensed Milk (hot – S$3++, cold S$3.20++) or a glass of Yuan Yang (hot – S$3.30++, cold – S$3.50). Yuan Yang is essentially a beverage that has infused Hong Kong tea and brewed coffee into one kick-ass caffeine-loaded rejuvenating drink.
However, if you prefer your milk tea to be super sweet with overpowering evaporated milk afternote, this ain’t for you. We prefer ours to come with a lingering bitterness from the tea, and this met our mark.
With up to 35 dishes on the food menu, 13 drinks on the beverage list and three desserts, there is surely something you would definitely fancy at Singapore’s Honolulu Cafe. Other familiar Hong Kong delicacies such as Beef brisket in Soup (S$6), Pork Chop Bun (S$5++) and Condensed Milk Toast (S$2++ each, S$2.50++ for two).
It is only natural that new restaurants would have teething problems, mostly with operations. Honolulu Café has taken a very good first step by opening their first overseas outpost here in Singapore – because we love Hong Kong cuisine, right?
Hopefully, the team will be able to adapt well to Singapore’s service climate, and that the restaurant would run more smoothly in months or even weeks to come. For now, can we just say again how much we love Honolulu Café? You might have read this one too many times but it stays true.
BEST. EGG. TARTS. EVER.
The Centrepoint #01-33F/G
176 Orchard Road
Daily: 11am – 10pm
Nearest Station: Somerset
This post was brought to you by Honolulu Café.