Header image courtesy of Siebe Warmoeskerken (via Unsplash)
“Oui oui baguette”—this joke amongst non-francophones is probably the first thing one thinks of when attempting to speak (read: butcher) the French language. But this phrase lends credence to the popularity of baguettes and the importance of viennoiseries (baked goods made from leavened dough) in representing French culture on the global stage.
For centuries, bakers from l’Hexagone have flocked to all corners of the globe to spread this culinary art form. Nowadays, Hongkongers get to enjoy the fruits of their labour, as these boulangeries (bakeries) gather in the city to serve their customers a range of delightful bakes—delectable whether paired with jam, baked with fruits, or served with soup.
Whether you are looking for a quick sandwich for lunch or on the prowl for the most luxurious artisanal bread to compliment a full-course dinner, here are the best French bakeries in Hong Kong that are guaranteed to make you exclaim “Oh là là!”
Ever heard of Cronuts? Or the Cookie Shot? Perhaps even frozen s’mores? You’re in luck, because chef Dominique Ansel, the creator of them all, has opened multiple venues in Hong Kong for you to try his signature creations. Dang Wen Li— “Dominique” in Cantonese—is celebrated for its experimental creations that push the boundaries of what we understand as French viennoiseries. Deliciously original baked goods line the displays, from the mochi peanut chausson ($38) to the signature kouign-amann, also known as the DKA ($38).
For a truly creative meal, we recommend trying something entirely novel, like the sea salt croissant toast ($48) or the smoked cheese milk loaf ($45). If you want a little bit of everything, check out the viennoiserie set ($158) available on the online boutique. Also, make sure to save some space for the siu mai ($70) and har gow ($70), which will make you wonder, “Is that really cake?”
With as many as 13 stores across Hong Kong, Maison Kayser is a frequent go-to for office workers during the week, as well as a popular spot for weekend meet-ups. But don’t be fooled by the sandwiches and omelettes on the menu—Maison Kayser’s speciality lies in its bread. What makes these baked goods special is the subtle taste of milk and hazelnut, and the secret lies in the shop’s use of all-natural leaven. On top of that, to recreate traditional French artisanal baking techniques, each piece of dough is hand-kneaded by its bakers. Talk about dedication!
For a full experience of Maison Kayser’s bread, head to your nearest location for a Sweet Break ($60) with a pastry or dessert of your choice along with coffee, tea, or juice. For an at-home experience, get the sourdough ($27) or traditional baguette ($25) to go.
Invention versus tradition—a tale as old as time. But what about invention and tradition? To Gontran Cherrier, being a French baker means using long-standing techniques as a base and kneading local flavours and global influences into his recipes. His shop has reflected this sentiment with uniquely flavoured croissants both classic and novel, like the raspberry cloud croissant ($30) topped with meringue and dried raspberries, then gently brûléed with a torch. For a savoury viennoiserie, opt for the French-Asian fusion curry grain baguette ($20).
Keeping in mind our plant-based friends and those conscious of their sugar intake, Gontran Cherrier has also withheld butter and sugar from some of its recipes. Be on the lookout for the red sticker on the baked goods’ labels to indicate these characteristics, like the mini baguette ($15) and the pain de mie complet ($38).
Gontran Cherrier, B2/F, K11 Musea, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 3892 3890
With credentials from the finest culinary establishments in France, husband-and-wife team Camille Moenne-Loccoz and Dominique Yau have since moved into Tai Hang to serve their neighbourhood with scrumptious creations. Instead of taking the effort to adorn its goods with embellishments, Plumcot focuses its attention on what’s within, making its pastries and viennoiseries by hand on a daily basis and sourcing ingredients from France and other European countries to achieve the best quality possible.
As a small independent business, Plumcot creates new baked goods on a rotational basis, but be on the lookout for the lovely almond croissant ($30) and the signature Plumcot brioche ($30). If you head to Plumcot on the weekends, you’ll happen upon its weekend-only menus, with decadent treats like the strawberry croissants ($35), available only on Sundays. Plumcot is also known for its artisanal ice cream ($45), so be sure to grab one (or two) on the way out.
Plumcot, G/F, 10A Sun Chun Street, Tai Hang | (+852) 2573 6293
Sourdough bread has amassed popularity on the global stage, and Hong Kong is no exception! Recognising this opportunity to spread the gospel of sourdough, renowned pastry chef Gérard Dubois has hopped onto this trend and opened Sour Dough earlier this year. Hong Kong Island residents will be familiar with Dubois’s name, especially via his bakery-café chain Passion. His new bakery-deli, as its name suggests, deals in bread exclusively made with sourdough starters, proving how versatile this particular sub-genre of viennoiserie can be.
For our friends with vegan inclinations, Sour Dough also provides bread sans milk and butter, but are no less delicious—look to the counters for unique sourdough variations like the basil sourdough bread ($36 per loaf). If you’re no stranger to butter and eggs, try the sourdough croissants ($23) or the sourdough butter scones ($24).
Sour Dough, G/F, Keen Hung Commercial Building, 80 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai
A recent opening in town, Frenchies is amongst a wave of new shops in the wake of the pandemic. Its name comes from the moniker for French expats that have since formed communities in places they consider home. Deriving from that sense of adaptivity, Frenchies provides baked goods inspired by the local culture and its people, such as the babka ($45), a traditional chocolate viennoiserie to which Frenchies has added an Asian twist with a matcha glaze. Its creativity is also apparent through the shop’s signature espresso cinnamon rolls ($35), where its own house blend coffee powder shines through as the star ingredient.
Frenchies may be full of creative twists, but it takes pride in perfecting the classics, like the ever-popular croissant ($20). Sourcing flour all the way from the east of Paris and butter from the region of Normandy, its viennoiseries are of high (and delicious) calibre.
Frenchies, G/F, 39–43 Hollywood Road, Central