Pineapple buns also known as Bo Lo Bao is a common snack item in Hong Kong. It is a soft bread with a crunchy and sugary top crust which looks like a pineapple, hence the name. Do not let the name fool you, there is no pineapple in the bun.
Most places serve in Hong Kong serve it plain or with a piece of butter stuffed into the middle of the bun (Bo Lo Yau). A good pineapple bun is dependent on your taste buds and one of the must-eats in Hong Kong.
During my recent visits to Hong Kong, I decided to give as many different pineapple bun a try. There are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of good bakeries, cha chaan teng and dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong that do a good Bo Lo Bao.
The ones which I have tried are listed below where some a better than others.
Maxims – Having just arrived in Hong Kong, waiting in a long queue to get my ticket for the Hong Kong express train, I saw Maxims – a large conglomerate that owns restaurants and bakeries among st other things. They had an outlet in the arrivals hall, so I decided to get a Pineapple bun as I was craving for one while I got Plus 1 to wait in the queue. As I walked in, the wiff of butter hit me. I immediately knew I was in Asia, especially in an Asian bread shop, where they use a lot of butter in their baking. I would hate to think what it would do to my waistline if I had a pineapple bun everyday.
The bun is soft and light, the topping was nice and golden and crunchy. You can definitely smell the butter that is used in making the bun.
Location: Hong Kong International Airport, Terminal 1, Arrvials Meeters & Greeters Hall, Level 5
Tsui Wah – The buns is soft, light and airy, which a gorgeous golden brown top crust and the bread is so soft. The pineapple texture topping is crunchy and sweet and goes well with the bun. (Refer here for other dishes at Tsui Wah)
Location: G/F, 483-499 Jaffe Road , Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Kam Wah Cafe – Bun is soft and light, the toping was crunchy. I found the bun a bit to salty. I am unsure why other reviews suggest this place is one of the better places to eat pineapple buns.
Location: 47 Bute St, Mongkok, Hong Kong
Lung Fung Cafe – Bun is soft and light, definitely smell and taste a lot of butter than all the other pineapple buns I have tasted. I have had both the plain pineapple bun and the one with a slab of butter. I am not a fan of buttered one (bo lo yau). I am overwhelmed by how much butter one could eat with a bun. Definitely not for the faint hearted western taste bud or one who is looking after their waistline. I basically had to scoop out more than 3/4 of the butter out onto my plate. While my friend S who is a Hong Kong local was more than happy to gobble it down without any hesitation.
Location: G/F, 6 A Wun Sha Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong
Honolulu Bakery – I have read Honolulu Bakery serves up one of the nicer pineapple buns in Hong Kong, so I had to try for myself. I was a bit disappointed to be honest. It was not as soft or as buttery as I had hoped. The shape was more square than round. It was a bit stale and did not have much taste to it and after taking a few bites the bread itself got stuck to the top of my mouth including that the fat reside that you sometimes get when you eat something fatty when it is cold, such as a cold sausage. I personally was not a fan of these pineapple buns.
Location: 176-178 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Hong Kong Canteen – Freshly baked and very soft. Definitely a good snack to eat while queue for a spot at Tim Ho Wan which is located right next door. As with most other freshly baked buns in Hong Kong, you definitely could smell the aroma of butter which is used extensively for breads made in Hong Kong. More than happy to return again for these pineapple buns.
Location: Shop 24-29, G/F, Maxi Mall, City Garden, 233 Electric Road, North Point, Hong Kong