I live in a family whose cooking is predominantly Cantonese, even if it isn’t my dialect group. Heck, I even know more about Cantonese cuisine than Hakka (which is strictly – sadly – confined to Suan Pan Zi/Abacus balls). The dishes that appear in my home pretty much run the gamut from all variants of steamed dishes, to wholesome desserts, only stopping short from anything spectacularly roasted. Notice that I said ‘spectacularly’, because roasting, while possible with an oven, just isn’t the same when it’s not done the expert way (whatever that is). So Siu Ngor (roast goose), Siu Yok (roast pork), and Siu Ngap (roast duck), have unfortunately eluded us. But today’s not a day for roasting woes because, as you can see, I’m determined to finish off the posts of my Hong Kong trip in 2011 (last year, gasp!).
Let’s talk about desserts.
Tong Sui (any kind of soupy dessert/custard in the Cantonese cuisine) was what I grew up with. Desserts like Beancurd Skin Soup with Barley and Gingko Nuts, Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup, Papaya and White Fungus Soup? Pfft! We make them with our eyes closed! Now steamed egg/milk puddings however, that’s another story. The ingredients are simple, but the technique and process are tedious. Trust me, I’ve had my good share of watery, lumpy, sludgy ‘custards’ during our experimentations. I shiver at the thought.
At Yee Shun Milk Company, you needn’t worry. It’s silken smooth milk and egg puddings without fail. Mostly milk, of course, staying true to their namesake, but because their egg puddings are made with the same milk, they’re equally good.
Hot or cold, it’s your choice. But after heading back at least twice during my trip, I’ve come to realise that the hot versions taste sweeter than the chilled ones. Either way, they are excellent, and the chilled puddings are perhaps the best reprieve to a sweltering summer day. And let me tell you, Singapore is no fight for the summer in Hong Kong.
Menus are available in Chinese and English, but if the extensive menu is a little intimidating, you can’t go wrong with their signature Double-skin Milk Pudding (HK$21/SGD$3.50). I’d recommend the chilled version that’s less cloying, with a more subtle milk fragrance. The warm one can get a tad too sweet, for whatever reason. Chemical reaction between sugar and chilled milk? Shrugs.
The second time round, I got the Ginger Egg Milk Pudding (HKD$19/SGD$3.20) to eat on my mom’s behalf. It’s always been Kiong Zap Dan Dan (ginger juice egg pudding) that we have been trying to make at home because it’s her favourite, and since our attempts have been mediocre, I figured I’ll get my fix at Yee Shun and show her a picture afterwards. It’s eggy, sweet, with the heat and kick of ginger. I adored it. It’s difficult to get such a velvety consistency, much less have it available readily in Singapore.
Another pudding I had was the Lotus Seed Milk Pudding (HKD$25/SGD$4.10) which was really just milk pudding with lotus seeds on top. They’ve got plenty of others from red bean, to coffee flavoured milk pudding and red tea milk pudding. Everything’s affordable in this cafe chain, so you can expect any of their outlets to be rather crowded any time of the day. But hey, these are fantastic milk puddings. That I can’t make.
Yee Shun Milk Company
513 Nathan Road
246-248 Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Kowloon
385-391 Hennessy Road
506 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay
63 Pilkem Street, Jordan