I have been to Hong Kong for times more than I can count since childhood. Every trip was always about dining, shopping – and even more dining and shopping in between. So for the last few trips, I aimed to see a different side of Hong Kong. Maybe something more cultural, more local; and less work for the stomach and feet. Numerous blogs aside, my search brought me to Hong Kong’s official tourism website – Discover Hong Kong where I found out that Wing Wah 榮華 offers classes on how to make their best-selling wife cakes 老婆餅 lao po bing. My sister and I went for it and sent a note to Hong Kong Tourism Board to reserve slots in advance. After a few email exchanges with their efficient staff, we were confirmed to have secured two of the ten available slots for that particular Sunday.
On the day itself, we got off at Tsim Sha Tsui Station 尖沙嘴站 jian sha zui zhan and took Exit D2 instead of our usual route to Canton Road’s 廣東道 guang dong dao shopping area in Exit A1. Walking our way to Chatham Road South 漆咸道南 qi xian dao nan, we found a Wing Wah store – much smaller than the ones we’ve been to. 30HKD later, the class began as two chefs dressed in white stood behind the long table between us. A lady, fluent in English, described what the chefs were doing step by step as we followed their lead in creating our very own wife cakes. After much rolling and kneading and turning and pressing, with a little charades and Cantonese by the chefs, we made layered pieces of small round cakes with sweet winter melon paste filling. The chefs placed these in the oven and went on to teach us how to make lucky buns 平安包 ping an bao – known as siopao in the Philippines – whose dough was much softer with all the shortening in it.
While waiting for the wife cakes to be done, the staff shared how wife cakes were made by a poor husband to earn money for his wife. They also gave us samples of their other delicacies with cups of Chinese tea. Packing us loot bags which contain the recipes, cookies and our self-made wife cakes, we were ready for a photo-op right by the store entrance, and bid our thank you’s and goodbye’s. It was a mere hour and a half’s break from Hong Kong’s usual dining and shopping hustle, but it was a lovely experience before we ventured back towards the crowded Canton Road for a filling lunch at Maxim’s Hong Kong Day in Harbour City.