Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mango Dessert - Hong Kong Desserts

Ottawa, prepare yourself for the first ever Hong Kong-style dessert spot in Chinatown. The menu has over 100 desserts to choose from. You read this right! Ken and his wife from the late Wontonmama and two other owners are the minds behind the concept of Honey Town. Some staffs from Ginza Ramen and Tao are now working here. 

Hong Kong is a mecca of dessert shops. Their desserts are recognized to be light, refreshing and healthy. Unlike Western countries, desserts tend to be heavy on sugar and carbs. The most common Cantonese desserts are called tong sui (糖水) which literally translates to sugar water. It includes warm custard, light syrups and warm dessert soup. Since childhood, I'm raised eating these classics - tofu pudding (豆腐花), milk custard (燉鮮奶), sweet dumplings (tangyuan 汤圆), sago (西米露), red bean soup (紅豆汤) and black sesame soup (芝麻糊). During the hot days, there are a bountiful of cold fruity desserts. They are made from a variety of tropical fruits - mango, coconut, papaya, pomelo and durian. Not only Honey Town is a dessert bar, they also serve savory dishes like pork buns, Taiwanese beef soup, dim sums and soup dumplings (xiaolongbao 小籠包).

Soup Dumplings - Chinese Food Ottawa
S20 - Shanghai Soup Dumplings (鲜肉小籠包)
I love ordering Taiwanese popcorn chicken - small marinated chicken with a thin crispy batter. What makes them addictive lies in the use of five spice powder. It hits all the notes that I would expect in these little snacks - crispy, not at all greasy, perfectly seasoned with salt, pepper and five spice.

Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken - Chinatown Ottawa
S9 - Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken (台湾鹽酥雞)
Next comes an order of xiaolongbao a.k.a soup-filled dumplings. It requires finesse to make these. Each dumpling contains at least a tablespoonful of soup along with the meat. Every Asian has their own way of eating these bags of soupy goodness. They are not like your typical dumplings in which you can put it in your mouth immediately. I usually lay one on my spoon, add a few drops of red vinegar, poke a hole to release the juice and enjoy. The soup is savory and flavourful. My only complaint is that the size of the soup dumplings are inconsistent as you can see in the picture.

Xiao Long Bao - Soup Dumplings Ottawa
S20 - Shanghai Soup Dumplings (鲜肉小籠包)
Mango is my all-time favorite fruit. This dessert brought back memories of my trip to Hong Kong. There is this chain restaurant called Hui Lau Shan (許留山), all their desserts are made with mangoes. This dessert from Honey Town is a good example. On their menu, it's written Mango Cream Paste with Mango Pudding and Mango Ice Cream (T12). In fact, there are more mango goodness in this order than what it is written - six elements to be exact. It has mango sauce, mango sorbet, mango ice cream, mango pudding, fresh mango cubes and pomelo pulps. This dessert is mango heaven! Every component has its own texture, flavour and temperature. Every time we go back for a spoonful, you will taste something different. This what makes this dessert fun and intriguing.

Mango Dessert - Cantonese Tong Sui Ottawa
T12 - Mango Cream Paste with Mango Pudding and Mango Ice Cream (芒果神冰)
On my second visit, I got to try three more items on their menu. 

The durian pancake looks like a colorful pillow. It consists of a crêpe made with tapioca starch that gives a smooth and delicate texture and a filling made of simply whipped cream and fresh durian. Durian is the King of Fruits, some people like the pungent stinky smell, and some don't. The moment it arrives at your table, you can smell the durian without getting close to it. However, this dessert felt quite flat. It's not what I remembered when I had it in Singapore. The filling was warm and I can see gaps inside the pillow. The crêpe is quite dry to my taste.

Durian Pancake - Hong Kong Dessert Ottawa
T2 - Durian Pancake (榴莲班戟)
We are tempted to go for the classic pork belly steamed bun. I opted for the braised beef with kimchi. The bun was warm and pillowy, the chunks of beef contains loads of flavours of soy, star anise and five-spice. It is drizzled with hoisin and garnished with kimchi and lettuce for freshness. The only challenge is that the moment you grab hold of the bun, the filling falls apart.
Braised Beef and Kimchi Bao - Steamed Buns Ottawa
S3 - Braised Beef and Kimchi Bao (韩国泡菜牛肉包)
The Hong Kong milk custard is difficult to art to master. It is made with milk and egg whites, some people uses cornstarch. When done to perfection, it has the texture of a flan. Here they did to perfection, exactly as I remembered from my trip to Hong Kong. I had with red beans which give a contrasting element of sweetness and earthiness. A must order!

C9 - Milk Custard with Red Beans (红豆双皮奶)
Black sesame is another classic Hong Kong warm soup that is believed to keep hair black if one drinks it often. Not many of my friends like black sesame. It has a toasted nutty taste yet not too sweet. I ordered with the almond paste. It has nice flavours and it complements well with the black sesame.

Black Sesame Almond Paste - Hong Kong Ottawa Dessert
C14 - Black Sesame Soup with Almond Paste (芝麻糊配杏仁茶)
This is my fourth visit to Honey Town. I'm officially addict! This time I have friends from Montreal visiting me. They absolutely love the mango dessert.

T12 - Mango Cream Paste with Mango Pudding and Mango Ice Cream (芒果神冰)
I opted for the ginger milk custard. It looks bland at first sight, but when you have a spoonful, the taste of ginger is prominent but not too overpowering. Highly recommended! Be warned that it takes 20 minutes for them to prepare. You can look at the result below - it's warm and silky smooth like tofu.

C6 - Ginger Milk Custard (薑撞奶)
This is my 5th visit to Honey Town and I can't get enough of it. This time, I brought Zomato community manager, Samantha. I can say she loved it. From now on, I'll let the pictures do all the talking. The food is simply addictive. You definitely have to order their 5-spice tofu, it's crisp and full of flavours. The steamed bun is still light and pillowy.

5-spice tofu steamed bun - hong kong bao
S4 - 5-Spice Tofu Bao (五香豆腐包)
S1 - Original Pork Belly Bao (原味台湾割包)
S15 - Pork Shumai (豬肉烧卖)
S11 - Pan-Fried Pork Dumplings (鮮肉鍋貼)
Vanilla Ice Cream with Strawberries
T23 - Vanilla Ice Cream with Strawberries (雪山草莓)
We used to have a tong sui shop like this in Montreal on Ste-Catherine W., sadly it closed down. I'm glad I get to experience this in Ottawa. I have this plan to visit at least 10 times Honey Town before I move back to Montreal. I'll definitely be back to try their Sweet Dumplings in Ginger Syrup, Steamed Egg, etc. - classic desserts that bring back some of my childhood memories and my trip in Hong Kong.

One last note. It came to my attention from talking to some Instagrammers about Honey Town, it seems the making of the desserts depends on whom prepares it. I agree with them. I tried on different days and time of the week, the preparation of food is inconsistent. I found that the tastiest and consistent desserts are on weekends after lunch. You can have a look at both of the pictures of the mango desserts (T12).

Honey Town | 满糖记 渥太華最好的甜品
710 Somerset Street W.
Ottawa, ON
K1R 6P5
Click to add a blog post for Honey Town on Zomato

Opening Hours | 营业时间
Sunday-Thursday: 11:30am - 10pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:30am - 11pm


  1. Wow! This place looks amazing! Heading there tonight after work. Your post has my mouth watering!! Great, thorough review!

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment! Been there 7 times now! Their food is addictive. You have to try their T12 - Mango dessert


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