Header images courtesy of Honeymoon Dessert
Mango pomelo sago has become a legend in Hong Kong’s food history. Its Cantonese name—楊枝甘露 (joeng4 zi1 gam1 lou6)—is epic in itself, and translates to “nectar from a willow branch,” inspired by an apparatus the goddess Guanyin (觀音, gun1 yam1) carries in her hand to bestow merit upon mankind.
Formulated by Hong Kong’s Lei Garden restaurant, the dish was originally created for its diners in Singapore. Using an old-fashioned recipe as a base, Lei Garden fine-tuned the formula using iced sugar cubes, cream, sago, mango chunks, and pomelo pulps. Served chilled, it is an imposing amalgam of flavours and textures, becoming a kind of everyday refreshment for many. As we bid farewell to Hui Lau Shan (許留山)—a collective memory of many Hongkongers—we gather a list of eateries in Hong Kong where you can still find mango pomelo sago in all of its glory.
The tight streets and alleyways of Hong Kong have traditionally been breeding grounds for independent businesses, including Honeymoon Dessert (滿記甜品). Founded in Sai Kung in 1995, the brand has since expanded its presence to 10 locations across the city. Serving anything from the traditional mango pomelo sago soup ($35) to jiggly mango sago pudding, Honeymoon Dessert is one of the most revered eateries for a late-night dessert run, serving as a tried-and-true place for groups of friends to chat the night away over sweet treats.
To find the most authentic mango pomelo sago in town, how can we not mention Lei Garden (利苑酒家)? When the sweet soup was invented in 1983 for the restaurant chain’s newly opened branch in Singapore, it gained so much popularity locally that it has since become one of Lei Garden’s signature dishes. Indulge in the original mango sago pomelo soup ($38), a combination of bite-sized mango cubes, juicy pomelo pulps, and chewy tapioca pearls. The dish is served at all Lei Garden locations, including the Mong Kok branch, which opened in 1980.
Lung King Heen (龍景軒) continues to surprise diners with its Michelin-starred menu, including a secretly formulated rendition of the traditional mango pomelo sago dessert. Kept fresh in a steel and glass bowl, the glorious chilled mango & sago cream ($92) is flooded atop a thin layer of mango pudding, which adds an extra touch of creaminess and texture to the dish. The fruits and sago are doused in a generous blend of coconut milk and fresh mango juice that helps to intensify the rich summer flavours.
Lung King Heen (龍景軒), 8 Finance Street, Four Seasons Hotel, Central | (+852) 3196 8880
Eating desserts late into the night is a key part of Cantonese food culture, and recipes of sweet soups have popped up across different upscale establishments, including Dynasty Restaurant. Here, you can try a range of indigenous Cantonese delights, including the chilled mango pomelo ($70), which is the perfect ending to a decadent meal.
Dynasty Restaurant, Renaissance Harbour View Hotel, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 2802 8888
Tasting this modern rendition of the mango pomelo sago soup will send chills down your spine—in a good way. Among the many dessert shops and ramen joints in Causeway Bay, this small eatery serves up a series of creative, seasonal delicacies, including the yellow object ($108), a towering mix of mango juice, fresh mango, pomelo, coconut cream, and tofu cream churned into shaved ice and topped with gold foil leaves.
Auntie Sweet (甜姨姨), 11 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay
Instagram-famous for its blue checkered walls, the interiors at Cheung Chau Corner (長洲角酪) take inspiration from Hong Kong’s MTR stations. This modest beverage vendor—a small family-run business—has invented its own version of the mango pomelo sago, using ingredients from the classic dessert and remaking it into a convenient yoghurt drink. Sip on their autumn yoghurt ($42) as you explore the winding alleyways and streets of this dumbbell-shaped island that’s chock-full of family activities and beautiful beaches.
Cheung Chau Corner (長洲角酪), 78 San Hing Street, Cheung Chau | (+852) 5682 4638