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Hong Kong’s Most Popular Treat Has A Surprising Backstory

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You can’t tell the full story of Hong Kong without the iconic pineapple bun, yet how it appeared on the scene in the first place remains a mystery. One of the city’s oldest bakeries has been serving it since 1943, but before that, the story gets murky. Some say it all began in the 1920s with an ​​Armenian pastry chef working at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. Others say it originated with a family deported from Mexico in the 1930s. Watch the video for a delicious, cross-continental journey to get to the bottom of everything.

Thanks to Kristina Cho, James Beard award-winning author of ‘Mooncakes & Milk Bread’, for sharing her story and showing us how to make pineapple buns from scratch.

Subscribe to KQED Food’s YouTube channel to watch more Beyond The Menu videos.

Read more:
Pineapple bun basics
History of Japanese melonpan
Origin of the Hong Kong Mexico bun
Everything you need to know about Mexican conchas

About Beyond The Menu:
The story of the food on your plate is more than just the recipe. Each ingredient and every cooking technique goes back hundreds if not thousands of years, traversing the globe on a wildly delicious cross-cultural adventure. In KQED’s new digital food series Beyond The Menu, host Cecilia Phillips interviews chefs, authors, and other experts to dig up surprising facts on the cultural pathways of today’s trendiest dishes. It’s a history show, it’s a mystery series, it’s a celebration of multicultural cuisine, sometimes it’s even a science program, all set against the backdrop of mouth-watering food cinematography.


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