By: Alexandra Lin
Joy Luck Teahouse
Those who can’t get enough of egg tarts and bubble tea can make a beeline for the new Joy Luck Teahouse at Ion Orchard (B4-61). This mini cha chaan teng concept brings together three of Hong Kong’s iconic F&B brands. Their famous snacks like egg tarts, pineapple buns and milk tea will no doubt appeal to foodies here. If Hong Kong movie star Chow Yun Fatt is a fan of Hoover Cake Shop’s egg tarts, surely you’ll love them too. There are two kinds available: puff pastry and butter cookie — filled with smooth, wobbly egg custard.
The menu also offers pineapple buns from Hong Kong’s established Kam Kee Café. The bo lo yau bun with a crumbly golden crust comes with a generous slab of premium butter. Other fillings such as kaya and luncheon meat are available to boot. You can also try addictive Hong Kong Fish Balls by Tak Hing Fishball Company. Pair these snacks with Kam Kee’s Hong Kong style milk tea brewed with Sri Lankan tea leaves and laced with evaporated milk. Bubble tea fans will love the “Pearl of the Orient” Hong Kong milk tea brimming with brown sugar tapioca balls. To beat the long queues, head there early (open daily from 9am to 10pm).
Gokoku Japanese Bakery
If who can’t travel to Japan but love to munch on soft Japanese breads and buns, head to Gokoku, located at &JOY Dining Hall (#B1-133), Great World’s multi-concept Japanese dining hall. Gokoku is a bakery concept from Kobe, Japan, which has been producing bread since 1961. Gokoku Shichifuku means five grains and seven fortunes in Japanese. Its buns (from S$2) are made with high-quality Japanese ingredients and fibre- and mineral-rich grains.
Pick from the range of baked items like the signature Gokoku Shichifuku Pan, made with a wholesome mix of brown rice flour, rye flour, malt, oatmeal, linseed, sunflower seeds and soybeans. There’s the Kokutou X Kokutou Pan – a fluffy and chewy brown sugar bun filled with crunchy sugary kokutou bits that melt in your mouth. And the signature Red Bean Anpan, a soft and fluffy Japanese favourite filled with high-quality red bean paste from specially contracted farms in Tokachi, Hokkaido. For a savoury bite, try the Mochi Mochi Cheese whose chewy dough mingles with melted cheese. There are also scones, croissants and baguette to be had. Open daily from 10am – 10pm.
The new Charlie Tea, under the Bread Talk umbrella, is inspired by a heritage tea-house setting. The 18-seater at #B1-30 Takashimaya Shopping Centre offers a range of sweet and savoury treats to accompany its tea offerings. You will find an extensive selection of flaky Danishes made with French flour.
Bite into the savoury pastry filled with a combination of sausage, black pepper sauce and Gouda-Mozzarella cheese (S$2.80), or the Creamy Chicken Danish with chicken chunks in creamy sauce wrapped in crisp layers of buttery pastry. Or choose from the fruity options like the Mango Danish comprising cubes of mangoes, pistachio nuts, and rose petals mingling with custard cream cheese (S$2.80). Perfect when paired with Charlie Tea’s beverages: think light-bodied green tea, fragrant milk tea, or refreshing cold brew.
For snacking on the go, grab some Chunkie cookies which are available in various flavours. Try the Double Chocolate, a chewy cookie made with dark chocolate, macadamia nuts and Pink Himalayan Rock salt (S$3.20 each). For something traditional, savour the handcrafted Mung Bean Cake made with hand-ground mung bean and milk (S$5.20). The tea house is open daily from 10am - 9pm.
Butter Bean by BreadTalk Group opened its doors at VivoCity (#01-207) in September. Larger than its first outlet at Funan, this joint boasts an alfresco patio – great for those who want some fresh air. What do you get here? Lots of Nanyang coffee-based beverages along with inventive renditions of classic toasts.
There are eight options (S$2 onwards per toast) featuring different toppings on thick slices of Butter Bean signature butter loaf. Baked on the premises daily, the loaf is made with a proprietary recipe with pure New Zealand butter and Japanese flour. Each slice is toasted on a flat iron grill resulting in a welcome crisp edge and fluffy interior. Flavours range from the sweet Milky Milo and BB’s Kaya to savoury options such as Flossy Chick and Omu Cheese.
Excellent for lunch is Butter Bean’s selection of sandwiches. Each butter toast pocket is crammed with omelette, sliced cheese, lettuce, as well as a choice of protein: B.F.F or Battered Fried Fish (S$4.60), C.F.C or Crispy Fried Chicken (S$4.60) or Basic Ham and Cheese (S$4.20). You can choose a sauce: Curry, Black Pepper, Garlic Sesame or Thousand Island dressing to complete the pockets. Before leaving, pick up some freshly-baked buns (S$1.60 each). Playful flavours include Choco-nana composed of chocolate cream cheese and fresh banana, and Pandan Coco whose pandan dough is filled with grated coconut perfumed with pandan juice and Gula Melaka.
Balancing the New Normal: