Slideshow: Snapshots from Hong Kong: My 14 Favorite Sweets

Brown Sugar Steamed Cake from Tim Ho Wan
Brown Sugar Steamed Cake from Tim Ho Wan

This might be my favorite cake ever. And, I don't want to brag or anything, but this [sweeps both hands down body] has digested a lot of cake. Tim Ho Wan's cake pairs a perfectly moist, fluffy, and sproingy (a step above springy) texture with a deeply warm, toffee-like, caramelized sugar flavor that isn't too sweet, served fresh out of a steamer basket. Basically, it combines one of my favorite textures with one of my favorite flavors.

I have a fantasy that involves a pillow-size version of this cake: I rest on the cake pillow and sleepily eat through the cake over the course of ten hours. (I don't dream big.) ...Actually, now that I've typed that out, I realize that'd possibly end with me throwing up a brown, chunky slurry. But I bet the first hour would be fantastic.

Tim Ho Wan review »

Tim Ho Wan: Multiple locations listed at OpenRice

Steamed Milk Pudding from Yee Shun Milk Company
Steamed Milk Pudding from Yee Shun Milk Company

This was the first time I'd ever had steamed milk pudding, and it may as well have been my last. I've tried a few steamed milk puddings this year, none of which have come close to Yee Shun's silky smooth, delicate pudding that barely tasted of the egg white holding it together, just sweet milky goodness.

Yee Shun review »

Yee Shun Milk Company: Multiple locations, view all on OpenRice

Egg Waffle from Lee Keung Kee North Point Waffles
Egg Waffle from Lee Keung Kee North Point Waffles

I was a bit skeptical when I joined the sizable line for this egg waffle stand. Could their egg waffles be that good? Oh, yes. LKK's egg waffle is the best I've ever had: feather-light and semi-hollow, with a thin, brittle crust on the outside that gives way to a spot of soft-n-chewy in the center, eggy and mildly sweet throughout.

Lee Keung Kee North Point Waffles review »

Lee Keung Kee North Point Waffles: Multiple locations listed at Open Rice

Flaky Egg Custard Tart from Tai Cheong Bakery
Flaky Egg Custard Tart from Tai Cheong Bakery

Tai Cheong Bakery: Flagship store, 35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong (map); 852 2544 3475; OpenRice listing; multiple locations listed at taoheung.com.hk

Danish Petit Pois Tim Dou from Po's Atelier
Danish Petit Pois Tim Dou from Po's Atelier

This pastry was the only thing I got from Po's Atelier, a swanky-looking French-Japanese bakery. As soon as I took one bite I wish I had bought more. It's delicately crisp on the outside, plenty flaky, and deceptively light for tasting like a butter explosion. The sweet mung bean filling is a nice change from typical flaky, French-style pastries.

Po's Atelier: 70 Po Hing Fong, Hong Kong (map); 852 6056 8005; posatelier.com; OpenRice listing

Black Sesame Paste from Tsui Yuen
Black Sesame Paste from Tsui Yuen

This hot, thick soup (think somewhere between soup and paste) of liquified, mildly sweetened black sesame seeds is a common kind of tong sui. If you love black sesame as much as I do (that is, a lot), you need to try this.

Tsui Yuen (翠苑甜品專家): Multiple locations listed at OpenRice. The location I went to in Causeway Bay is now closed.

Grass Jelly With Mango and Sago from Sweetheart Dessert
Grass Jelly With Mango and Sago from Sweetheart Dessert

How did l live for so long without ever having tried a chilled mango soup dessert? Grass jelly with mango and sago is a popular dessert in Hong Kong, and it's pretty much what it sounds like: sweet, fresh mango purée with fat chunks of super soft grass jelly and tiny, mildly chewy sago pearls.

Sweetheart Dessert: Hong Kong 西貢海傍街16號地 下 (map); 852 2792 8533; OpenRice listing

Portuguese Egg Tart and Pineapple Bun from Sai Kung Cafe and Bakery
Portuguese Egg Tart and Pineapple Bun from Sai Kung Cafe and Bakery

When my friends and I first came across this bakery, we were deterred by the long line and decided to return later. When later came, we realized it just had a perpetually long line. And thus we waited. The steady stream of customers meant a steady stream of burning hot, fresh-from-the-oven Portuguese egg tarts and sweet crust-topped pineapple buns, aka, two of my favorite pastries ever. If you can get a fresh batch, it's worth waiting for.

Sai Kung Cafe and Bakery: G/F, 6-7 Kam Po Court, 2 Hoi Pong Square, Sai Kung (map); 852 2792 3861; OpenRice listing

Pineapple Bun from Sai Kung Cafe and Bakery
Pineapple Bun from Sai Kung Cafe and Bakery

My face. I want to stick in it.

Sai Kung Cafe and Bakery: G/F, 6-7 Kam Po Court, 2 Hoi Pong Square, Sai Kung (map); 852 2792 3861; OpenRice listing

Douhua from the Well-Wishing Festival
Douhua from the Well-Wishing Festival

I love douhua (soft tofu) for dessert...well, the bites that are coated in syrup, syrup that tends to run out before the tofu does. How to prevent such tragedy: provide a pitcher of ginger syrup and a tub of brown sugar for DIY re-sweetening at will, as I experienced at the Hong Kong Well-Wishing Festival.

Pancake With Spread from a Street Vendor in Mong Kok
Pancake With Spread from a Street Vendor in Mong Kok

This pancake wasn't great, but I loved the idea of it. Take a thick, spongy pancake, smear on butter and peanut sauce, sprinkle with sugar, and fold in half. Kind of like a filled crepe on steroids.