Header image courtesy of Shake Up! Hong Kong (via Facebook)
Thick, creamy, milky, sweet, and ice-cold—a milkshake really is one of the most indulgent beverages to ever have been dreamt up, bless the Americans. As the temperatures are starting to ramp up, we’ve sourced eleven of the best places in Hong Kong to get that sweet, sweet brain freeze. These milkshakes do bring the boys to the yard!
The clue’s in the name, of course. Shake Shack serves up a range of classic hand-spun shakes ($42), with flavours like vanilla, chocolate, caramel, black & white, strawberry, peanut butter, and coffee to choose from. Add $5 to make it malted (always the option we go for) or to add a dollop of whipped cream. They’ve also done a Hong Kong-exclusive flavour, the milk tea shake ($42)—a nod to our famous ice milk tea—made with vanilla frozen custard blended with black tea.
Shake Shack has also released a special flavour just for the Harbour City branch: the mango shake ($48), which is mango custard blended with passionfruit, then topped with grass jelly, whipped cream, and yellow sprinkles. These are some of the thickest shakes in Hong Kong, so make sure you don’t go overboard with ordering food!
Much loved for their fresh, juicy burgers and life-changingly delicious Cajun fries, the main thing that endears us most to Five Guys is their abundance of free toppings. This means that you can customise your burger exactly the way you want, giving birth to a robust secret menu creatively dreamed up by fanatic diners. Pro tip: This treatment can also be expanded to their milkshakes!
Five Guys’ shakes are hand-spun with vanilla ice cream, and you can then choose an unlimited amount of mix-ins to jazz it up. Trawling through the r/fiveguys subreddit has us unearthing combinations such as chocolate, peanut butter, Oreo cookie, and malted milk for a shake that tastes like Ferrero Rocher. But our favourite secret shake menu is malted milk, salted caramel, and—wait for it—bacon! That’s right, legit applewood-smoked bacon to make your shake the perfect sweet and savoury explosion. You can take things even further and crumble in some complimentary peanuts over the top. Can you tell that our keyboard is covered in drool right now?
Milkshakes are normally part of the casual fast-food group, but The Langham Hotel has given American classics an elevated stylish take at Main St Deli. Their classic deli shakes ($80) come in five flavours: Caramel Grout with caramel sauce and honey almond; Vanilla Sky with vanilla and rainbow sprinkles; Swiss Alps with chocolate sauce and crispy chocolate toppings; Strawberry Fields with strawberry sauce and dried cranberries; and—our favourite—yogurt & honey topped with cereal bits.
They also serve four kinds of tipsy shakes and floats; Berry Good ($98) sounds the most promising, with Campari, blueberries, strawberries, and yoghurt ice cream, while Alabama ($98)—with rye whisky, ginger ale, and strawberries—seems the most interesting. If you’re with a party of four or more, you can even get Main St Deli’s famous supersized 12-inch Monster Burger (made with 20 ounces of Angus beef!) and four especially photogenic milkshakes for $488.
Main St Deli, Lower Lobby Level, The Langham Hotel, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2132 7898
In line with their American diner aesthetics, Burger Circus serves their shakes in old-school tall glasses for a throwback vibe. Choose from vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, or salted caramel milkshakes ($68), or push the boat out for an intense sugar rush with the candy shake ($78), with M&Ms, Kit Kat, Oreos, or Reese’s Pieces. Though not specified on their menu, you are also more than welcome to request for shots to be added. Its central location means this is the late-night place to be for cheeky post-drinking drinks. Burger Circus also do a special Shake of the Month, inspired by their rotating desserts: this March, it’s the butter tart shake ($78), made with pecans, currants, and vanilla ice cream.
Burger Circus, 22 Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 2878 7787
Its legions of fans can’t all be wrong; “No Milkshake No Life” should really be the mantra of summer. These milkshakes, which come in 12- or 16-ounce portions, have been doing their rounds on social media, and luckily, this is one fad that matches its hype. Aside from your standard flavours, their shakes also include Ovaltine (starting from $44), mixed berries (starting from $46), or the fantastic bacon milkshake with peanut butter caramel sauce (starting from $54). Boozy options are also available, and while we’ve not been brave enough to try the red wine milkshake (starting from $54), the brandy mint chocolate (starting from $54) sounds like a solid choice.
Those who like their shakes interestingly curated will prefer BLT Burger, which offers all-American milkshake creations such as the s’mores ($72), made with vanilla ice cream and toasted marshmallows, then topped with Graham cracker crumbs, or the nostalgic PBJ ($72), a concoction of ice cream with peanut butter and grape jelly that will take many an American expat straight back to their childhoods.
They also do a range of spiked milkshakes ($88) for the ultimate indulgence. We like Silk Road, which is a mix of Kahlua, Bailey’s, espresso, and coffee ice cream, but their cheeky Grandma’s Treat with bourbon, caramel, and vanilla ice cream is also a crowd-pleaser, while Malibu Barbie combination of rum, pineapple juice, coconut milk, and vanilla ice cream is the perfect pick-me-up on a sultry summer day.
BLT Burger, Shop 301, 3/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 3–27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2730 2338
We honestly don’t quite know why The Diner even does milkshakes because drinking one of these bad boys is already like having a full meal. Each of their nine flavours available are very indulgent, and the most moreish ones are the malted Malteser milkshake ($86)—made with malted milk powder and crushed Maltesers then topped with vanilla bean cream and a Malteser—and the peanut nutter butter milkshake ($86) featuring fresh bananas, peanut butter, ice cream, and Nutella topped with vanilla bean cream and peanut butter chips. We haven’t ever been able to finish one of their shakes with a burger in hand, but hats off to you if you can!
The Diner, 4–8 Arbuthnot Road, Central | (+852) 2798 8219
You’re not going to get some half-arsed watered-down shake at Beef & Liberty. What makes their shakes stand out is that there is no milk in them; they use three scoops of XTC artisan gelato with a shot of thick cream. For classic lovers, the strawberry shake ($79) is always a good choice, but we particularly like their banoffee shake ($89), made with vanilla gelato, oat biscuits, banana, toffee, and cream—it tastes good instead of like cough syrup, which lots of banana-flavoured drinks have an unfortunate tendency to do. There are also alcoholic options available, such as the Midnight Wake Up ($99)—Kahlua, chocolate liqueur, cookies, and chocolate gelato—and White Russian Dude ($99)—cream, Kahlua, vodka, vanilla gelato.
The indecisive may want to give this spot a miss, as the sheer amount of choice at Emack & Bolio’s can be overwhelming. Look past the eye-catching, jazzed-up cones and mountains of ice cream and you’ll realise these guys do milkshakes as well. Choose your favourite flavour of ice cream to add to your Boston frappe ($62): This can be anything from almond coconut bar, Beantown Buzz, and caramel pecan, to peanut butter Oreo, salted caramel chocolate pretzel, and Space Cake. There is also a slightly healthier version on the menu for minimised guilt: The chocolate peanut butter blast ($65) is made with non-fat chocolate yoghurt, soy milk, all-natural peanut butter, and bananas.
As with the rest of their huge menu, The Flying Pan offers an extensive selection of milkshakes ($50) made with a vanilla ice cream base. Aside from the usual flavours, their more unique shake flavours include coconut, peach, matcha green tea, and blueberry. Their winning combinations come under the Buzzshakes menu though, with all alcoholic milkshakes coming in at $80. We particularly like the chocolate chip cookie (Oreos, amaretto, Bailey’s, and caramel), the After 8 chocolate mint (creme de menthe and creme de cocoa), and the black forest cake (Oreo, kirsch, Bailey’s). We’ve had to bid a tearful farewell to the Central branch very recently, but luckily, all the goods are still available at their Wan Chai location.
The Flying Pan, 1/F, David House, 37–39 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 2528 9997
The health-committed will also be able to indulge with Shake Up! The brand is bringing out a series of all-new shakes with low-sugar ice cream bases, made fresh in-store every day with no added preservatives, and has been known to try reducing sugar in their products by using home-made ingredients where possible. They focus on using quality ingredients as well, such as Mövenpick ice cream.
In honour of their new branch in Langham Place, a new flavour is the Angel in White, featuring white chocolate and hints of rose. Another is the Asian-inspired Red Bean Missing You, made with aromatic Taiwanese adzuki beans. As a thank-you to the people who have been fighting at the front line of the recent coronavirus pandemic, Shake Up! are also offering two-for-one discounts to medical staff.
Shake Up!, Shop D, G/F, 58–60 Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2319 0090