Poor ol’ bread. Over the past few years, with the rise of gluten-free living, bread’s reputation has been seriously maligned. And we get it: Wonderbread and its imitations are a crappy excuse for healthy, wholesome grains. But artisanal bakers and their passion for the real staff of life, as well as an obsession with all things fermented, has resulted in the revival of sourdough, a fermented bread made using natural yeasts and starters.
Hong Kong has long been a desert when it comes to quality bread. Recently though, a spate of proper crusty fresh sourdough makers have popped up. Here’s our full guide to finding that perfect yeasty loaf.
February 2018 Update: Make sure to check out latest piece on the best new artisanal bakeries in Hong Kong!
Small-Batch Artisanal Sourdough
For a handmade, small-batch loaf, you will want to try the below shops and their uber-fresh, high-quality naturally-fermented sourdoughs.
Mayse Artisan Bakery
Mayse’s Artisan Bakery is a recently launching baking outfit devoted to showcasing traditional Latvian bread baked by the Latvian baker-founder. Their range includes four types of sourdough: thick and heavy scalded rye that is fermented for up to 30 hours (HKD 130), pure rye sourdough that is gluten free (HKD 100), scalded sourdough wholemeal wheat (HKD 120) and scalded sourdough stoneground bread (HKD 120). They also offer bespoke sourdough for special orders, such as loaves made with dried fruits, nuts and seeds. They use organic rye flour and their natural sourdough starter is made in house.
Known for their quality vegan, paleo and raw handcrafted healthy foods, it’s no surprise that FoodCraft more than delivers on the sourdough front. Try the Organic Sourdough Country Loaf (HKD 55) made with organic wheat flour, the Organic Sourdough Country Loaf with Sprouted Walnuts and Cinnamon Raisins (HKD 128), the Organic Sprouted Spelt Sourdough Country Loaf (HKD 118), made with 100% certified organic spelt flour, or the Organic Sprouted Spelt Sourdough Country Loaf (HKD 98) which provides the best of both worlds and mixes both flours. Chef Shima ferments each loaf for between 8 to 12 hours before baking, and adds nothing but Himalayan Salt and her own homemade natural wild yeast to her creations.
French meets Japanese-style bakery Po’s Atelier produces a delicious Ange (which means angel in French) Sourdough (HKD 120, half for HKD 60, quarter for HKD 30). They use white and whole wheat flours and natural yeast, with a 48 hour fermentation process that involves nothing but honey and flour.
Po’s Atelier: pick up in store. G/F, 70 Po Hing Fong, Sheung Wan, +852 6056 8005; open Tuesday to Sunday 10AM – 7PM.
Village Bakery offers three types of sourdough bread: a plain sourdough from bread flour, a whole wheat sourdough and a rye flour sourdough (HKD 38, mini plain sourdough for HKD 19), all made using their natural yeast starter, which they also make in-house.
Village Bakery: pick up in store. Shop 2, G/F, Lucky Court, 16 Mui Wo Ferry Pier Road, Lantau, +852 2980 3344; open Monday to Saturday 7AM – 7PM and Sunday 8AM – 7PM.
Bones & Blades
A butcher shop selling grassfed meats, Bones & Blades also offers a sourdough baguette (HKD 35) in made with organic artisanal flour from France. The baguette is par baked so you can finish it at home.
Bones & Blades: pick up in store. 1 Second Street, Sai Ying Pun, +852 2540 0052; open daily 9AM – 9PM.
Proof is an Aussie style bakery cafe, baking everything fresh daily right in Happy Valley. They make their own sourdough using unbleached flour and their own homemade starter and they ferment from 12 to 36 hours. They offer both a rye and wheat sourdough (HKD 40) as well as specialty or filled sourdoughs (HKD 50) made with nuts, seeds, olives or even smoked cheddar cheese.
Proof: pick up in store or order via email: email@example.com. 14 Tsun Yuen Street, Happy Valley, +852 6542 9788; open Tuesday to Sunday 8AM – 4PM.
Known for their large range of paleo, refined sugar, egg, dairy and gluten free cupcakes, The Cakery has expanded its range and now also offers a nine inch sourdough baguette (HKD 18) made with organic flour. To ensure you don’t arrive to find they are sold out be sure to pre-order your baguette first one day in advance.
The Cakery: pick up in store or order via phone or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Shop 124, Lee Garden Two, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, +852 2816 1838; open daily 10:30AM – 7:30PM.
Larger Bakery Chains
While the below bakery chains can’t claim to be small-batch, they all follow a traditional French boulangerie approach and focus on high-quality ingredients.
As its name suggests, Levain Bakery uses levain, the term for a traditional French sourdough starter, in its signature sourdough range (HKD 68 to 75 for their standard loafs) that boasts a selection of flavours like yoghurt sourdough, white sourdough, rye sourdough, sourdough with molasses, and organic sourdough made with organic French flour. They even offer a Christmas special: Sourdough Christstollen! Talk about spoiled for choice…
Levain: pick up in store. Mid-Levels location – Shop B, 87 Caine Road, Mid-Levels, +852 2559 4933; open Monday to Friday 8:30AM – 8PM and Saturday & Sunday 12PM – 7PM. MTR Central Station, PMQ and Kwai Chung locations here.
Le Pain Quotidien
International Belgian chain Le Pain Quotidien is well-known for its freshly baked breads and patisserie goods and their instagram is full of people enjoying their tartines and homemade spreads. When it launched in Hong Kong, there was much ado about its kale salads and avocado toast but what you probably don’t know is that they make a killer organic sourdough. Prices vary depending on sizing.
Le Pain Quotidien: pick up in store. Wan Chai location – Shop G40-41, The Avenue, Lee Tung Avenue, Wan Chai, +852 2520 1801; open 8AM to 10PM. Pacific Place location – Shop 008, LG1, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, +852 2808 1837; open 8AM to 10PM.
Le Salon De The De Joel Robuchon
One of Hong Kong’s best kept secrets is Michelin-starred Chef Joel Robuchon’s fantastic bakery Le Salon de Thé de Joël Robuchon, which along with their incredibly delicious French baguette sandwiches also makes a mean premium sourdough for a decent price (HKD 55). While their recipe is top secret, a reliable source tells us they use a special blend of Japanese flour.
Maison Eric Kayser
Eric Kayser is another French boulanger stalwart with multiple locations around town (and the world). Their sourdough offering is their ‘Tourte de Meule” (HKD 42), named for the stone ground flour they use, along with with a natural starter.
Passion by Gerard Dubois
Passion By Gerard Dubois‘ sourdoughs, made from imported French flour, are fermented for 48 hours and then baked in traditional stone ovens. Their sourdough loaves are a best-seller (around HKD 65) thanks in part to the variety on offer: multi-seed, organic white, organic dark rye and organic dark rye walnut.
Passion by Gerard Dubois: pick up in store. Shop 1, G/F, Lyndhurst Tower, 1 – 7 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, + 852 2812 6822; open Monday to Friday 10:30AM – 9:30PM and Saturday & Sunday 11AM – 8PM. Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Quarry Bay, TST, Kwai Fong and Mong Kok locations here.