A Hong Kong pineapple bun (or bo lo bao) consists of a soft sweet bun topped with a harder crumbly cookie style crust made of sugar, eggs, flour and lard. When cooked, this crust on top cracks open, giving the bun a pineapple-like appearance on top. That’s where this famous food in Hong Kong gets its name – there’s no actual pineapple in the ingredient list. We’re sure you knew that fact. But here are a few other things about this delicious bakery snack that you mightn’t know!
#1 Storm in a teacup
“Pineapple Bun” was once nominated as a typhoon name but rejected on the grounds that it would sound silly in otherwise serious news reports of the storm.
#2 Cartoon capers
The famous food in Hong Kong appeared in animated form in the 2004 film McDull, The Prince of the Pineapple Bun with Butter.
#3 Culture king
In 2014, the pineapple bun made it onto the government’s list of 480 “items of living cultural heritage” (along with entries such as fire dragon dances, kung fu and the making of snake wine).
#4 Other versions
A Japanese variety of the pineapple bun is the “melonpan”, whose top resembles a rockmelon or cantaloupe.
#5 Buying a bun
Among the top places to purchase the best pineapple buns in Hong Kong is Tai Tung Bakery in Yuen Long, which has made around 1,000 of them daily for well over 70 years.
Other Hong Kong food icons
Here are some other famous food and drink items that should be on everyone’s list to try.
- Dim sum
- Egg tart
- Siu mei (barbecued meat)
- Wonton noodles
- Milk tea
- Egg waffles
- Fish balls
Want to find out more Hong Kong facts and trivia? See our Living in Hong Kong section.