Chocolate On The Road: Hong Kong

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“If you want to make money, you’re not making a shop. You’re buying property. It’s better.”

-Jeffery Koo, JK Patisserie

This is reflected in Hong Kong’s demographic diversity, which is a direct result of Hong Kong’s status as one of the most important travel and financial centres in the world. But how exactly has Hong Kong’s eating culture been influenced by its ethnic diversity? How have Chinese dim sum and moon cakes been influenced by British traditions such as afternoon tea and Cadbury creme eggs?

In this episode, we chat to five Hong Kong residents working in the local chocolate sector about how the region’s British past and Chinese roots have influenced local use of cacao. Our topic of discussion is how these factors have combined to produce Hong Kong’s chocolate culture. Each visitor contributes something unique to the ecology of chocolate in Hong Kong, whether it be via the production of chocolate, the sale of chocolate, the consumption of chocolate, or the shaping of chocolate according to their preferences. But now we’ll find out whether their ideals are congruent enough to steer the development of this nascent sector in the way that it should proceed.

To read the article version of this episode, click here.

Topics We Cover

  • a brief overview of the history of Hong Kong
  • the fusion of several cultures that exists in Hong Kong
  • How Hong Kong residents see chocolate bonbons in comparison to chocolate bars
  • why there aren’t more chocolate stores in my neighborhood in Hong Kong
  • chocolate and dessert tastes that are popular in the surrounding area
  • how well-received artisanal chocolate made locally has been in the region
  • “Made On Hong Kong” as opposed to “Made In China” in a product label.
  • the development of the exquisite chocolate business in Hong Kong, as well as its requirements

Show Timeline

0:00-4:30~ Episode introduction with history of Hong Kong

4:30-14:30~ Discussing the emergence of a craft chocolate market of consumers in Hong Kong, and what it’s take to build that up. (Katie Chan)

14:30-23:00~ Diving into the chocolatier scene in Hong Kong, looking at why there are so few chocolate shops in Hong Kong, and what kinds of flavors are the biggest hits with local consumers. (Jeffery Koo)

23:00-34:50~ Looking at local consumption of craft chocolate on a direct-to-consumer basis— what kinds of changes have needed to be made, who’s buying craft chocolate in HK, and how locals take their drinking chocolate (Mandy & Sally)

34:50-39:05~ A casual look at consumer trends, and what kinds of products are of interest to the newly-converted craft chocoholics in the city. (Hilda Chan)

39:05-43:25~ the one thing Hong Kong so badly needs in order to move their chocolate industry forward, and the one thing nobody can afford

More About Our Guests

Katie Chan is the person responsible for starting the Chocolate Club HK, an online chocolate retail company that also hosts chocolate pairings and tastings in various locations across the city. Visit Chocolate Club HK’s website, as well as their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Jeffery Koo is not only the creator of Patisserie Jeffery Koo but also its owner and lead teacher. After working at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong for more than a decade as the Assistant Executive Pastry Chef, Jeffery eventually launched his own business and school for pastry arts. Check out Jeffery’s Website, as well as his Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Hakawa Chocolate, Hong Kong’s oldest bean-to-bar chocolate producer, was founded in 2017 by Mandy and Sally, who are also the co-founders of the company. Visit Hakawa’s Facebook and Instagram pages if you get a chance.

Hilda Chan is the brains behind the Instagram post known as My Chocolate Diary, and she is also the creator of Renaissance Chocolates. Visit Hilda’s Facebook and Instagram pages if you have a chance.

Katie also had an appearance in the documentary Millennials in Chocolate.

Resources Mentioned

  • Article from the Encyclopedia Britannica on Hong Kong
  • Unbelievably Chocolate (a Singaporean Chocolate brand)
  • Chocolate from FuWan (Taiwanese chocolate maker)
  • The cocoa farming and processing business of Taiwan
  • Central Hong Kong location for the Tea Plantation tea business.
  • The Mandarin Oriental, was Jeffery’s place of employment
  • The most costly cities, according to CNN’s ranking.
  • This refers to the “locavore” movement.