Ask any Hongkonger to name a truly Hong Kong food company, and there’s a good chance that most of them will say Kowloon Dairy.
Hong Kong’s biggest milk brand has been a local family favorite since it was set up in 1940. Its product line includes milk, yogurt drinks, ice cream cones, and mochi, plus other signature products like Ovaltine ice cream cones and durian ice cream cups.
You may have seen its seemingly ubiquitous branded milk bottles in supermarkets, and their Ovaltine ice cream cones and mochi while you were waiting to pay for your beers at 7-eleven at 3am in the morning.
Some of the company’s ice creams are available from supermarkets, but are typically hard to find — even then, many stores will not stock the full range of Kowloon Dairy ice creams.
So, since we’re at the peak of summer and all, the company is — for a limited time only — setting up all of Kowloon Dairy’s products in this Wellington Street pop up store in Central.
They have also launched new individual ice cream cups, available in 22 new flavors, that you can only buy at the pop up store.
The new flavors are [breathe in]: tofu, purple potato, yuzu, green tea, red bean, pistachio, mint chocolate chips, cookies’n’cream, vanilla, premium vanilla, Hong Kong-style milk tea — halfway done here — plus sesame, ube, lychee, pineapple, strawberry, mango, chocolate, coffee, coconut, tieguanyin, and pink salt caramel [and breathe out].
Coconuts HK sampled a handful of these new offerings. Overall, a nice selection of flavors — and each one worth trying at least once, even the wackier flavors of the bunch.
There are the crowd-pleasers like the cookies’n cream, pistachio, mint chocolate chips and pink salt caramel. But the flavors that stood head and shoulders above the other cups were the tieguanyin, sesame, milk tea, and tofu.
The tieguanyin — or Iron Buddha tea — was a clear favorite among the batch of visitors present for the launch of the pop-up, with some people remarking on how it really does taste like Chinese tea. It has an earthy and intense tea flavor, and the right amount of sweetness that doesn’t overpower everything else.
Another winning flavor was the milk tea. It was milky, sweet, creamy, and tasted exactly like a Hong Kong-style milk tea from a cha chaan teng. In other words, authentic.
Speaking of authentic, the black sesame ice cream was excellent, too — a winner for anyone who likes black sesame syrup or black sesame-based Chinese desserts.
But the one flavor that took us all by surprise: tofu. Light and creamy, it tasted exactly like a tofu fa dessert that you would get at one of the city’s many herbal tea and dessert stands.
Other flavors that deserve an honorable mention include the fruit-flavored ones, particularly the pineapple, coconut, mango, yuzu and lychee. Light, refreshing, and fruity without being cloyingly sweet.
Other flavors that might be hit and miss for some people — depending on if you’re a local Hongkonger or not — include the ube, red bean, and purple potato.
This is not to say that we personally weren’t fans, but if you are someone either who has fond memories of eating red bean popsicles by Shek O Beach, or love the strong aftertaste of ube, or love the vaguely sweet and slightly roasted flavor taste of a purple potato, then you’ll probably love these flavors.
As for pricing — it’s HK$20 for the “premium special” ice cream cups — the tieguanyin, pink salt caramel, milk tea, yuzu, purple potato, premium vanilla, pistachio, and pineapple — while all the other ice cream cups cost HK$15 each.
If you’re throwing a party or are lucky enough to have a lot of space in your freezer, you can also buy a one gallon ice cream tub for HK$230 in either chocolate, coconut, tofu, mango, ube, vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate king.
The pop up store will be open until August 31.
Kowloon Dairy Pop Up is at G/F, 33 Wellington Street, Central
MTR: Central, approx. 5 minute walk