Wife Cakes

Cantonese pastries with a sweet winter melon filling in a thin flakey shell

Wife Cakes (老婆餅, “lou po beng” in Cantonese, “lao po bing” in Mandarin) are golden disc-shaped pastries with a sweet winter melon filling. The best wife cakes, first and foremost, have to be fresh. The thin pastry shells are flakey, somewhat buttery (pork lard is often used as shortening though some bakeries have converted to butter), and tender but distinctly separate from the filling by a certain crisp. Cakes that are a little stale taste flat because the pastry shell has melded with the filling. The sweet but not cloying filling is made with candied winter melon, glutinous rice flour, sugar, plus optional additions such as sesame, almond, or coconut. Extra points if you can taste teeny bits of winter melon in the paste.

Consensus has the cakes from Hang Heung (恆香) as the front runner – this is the brand that locals most often recommend. Other good bets include the ones from Kee Wah (奇華) and Wing Wah (榮華). All three bakeries have outlets throughout Hong Kong. If you are looking for new twists, Wing Wah has modern interpretations of the Wife Cake with fillings such as red date paste, green tea paste, pineapple paste, and mung bean paste.

Price:

Varies. Box of 6-8 pastries: HKD 40-60.

Author: say1

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