Hui Lau Shan: Hong Kong’s Renowned Mango-Based Dessert Brand Returns To SG With Its First Outlet At NEX Serangoon

15 years ago, back in 2005, I vividly remember hanging out at Hui Lau Shan located at International Building along Orchard Road with my secondary school friends after a movie at Shaw Theatres Lido. Back then, it was considered a ‘hip’ spot, to be seen having a bowl of mango sago and chatting over our favourite boybands and TV shows.

The franchise, however, was short-lived, lasting just a few months before shutting its doors. Now, more than a decade later, Hui Lau Shan has resurfaced in Singapore. Hitting our shores bigger and stronger with three new franchise outlets scheduled to open almost consecutively—with the first at NEX in Serangoon, followed by Chinatown Point and JEM in Jurong.

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Renown for their mango-based desserts, Hui Lau Shan started off in Hong Kong back in the 60s selling gui ling gao (herbal jelly) and herbal teas. Stepping into the millennium, the brand decided to modernise by switching their main selling product to mangoes in order to cater to its younger consumers.

Since then, Hui Lau Shan started expanding internationally and has its footprint in more than 10 countries today.

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Upon its opening, I decided to visit their first store at NEX to reminisce the past and check out the desserts that they had to offer. Located at the highest floor, near the FairPrice Hypermart, the dessert stall is a 20- to 25-seater open concept space that is decorated elegantly in clean hues of white and gold. The area is blessed with skylight shining through from the glass ceiling of the mall, making it conducive and airy. 

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I started off with the Signature Curry Fishballs (S$6.95), Hui Lau Shan’s only savoury dish on their dessert-centric menu. Unlike the big, chewy ping pong-like fish balls we get in Singapore, these miniature fish balls are rougher in texture and had more of a bite to them. They are cooked Hong Kong-style in a mild spicy curry sauce, which surprisingly was well-absorbed into the fishballs. 

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I was told by Hui Lau Shan’s General Manager that these fishballs were specially imported from Malaysia and as they contain higher fish meat-to-flour ratio, are denser and more absorbent of the sauce.

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Moving on to the sweet stuff, I ordered Mango Romance (S$6.95), a trio of Hui Lau Shan’s signature desserts in their miniature form, available only for dine-in. Like me, if you are indecisive or just want to have a taste everything Hui Lau Shan has to offer, Mango Romance should be your pick as it consists of Mango Mochi, Mango Chewy Ball and Mango Crystal Jelly.

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Out of the three items, my favourite was definitely the Mango Crystal Jelly. The strips of crystal jelly layered under the mango icy (a combination of sorbet and ice cream) were smooth and sweetened by the mango juice as the icy melted.

This was made better with the fresh mango cubes by the side, which balanced the sweetness with its slight sourish flavour.

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Encased in a layer of toasted desiccated coconut, the Mango Mochi features a large, succulent piece of mango wrapped in mango-infused glutinous rice dough. For a mochi dessert, I felt that the dough was a tad bit too thick, overpowering the taste and fragrance of the mango. 

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As for the Mango Chewy Ball, I enjoyed the mouthful of mango chunks I got in between the scoops of mango puree. The mini tang yuan, however, felt like they were somewhat undercooked as they were hard in the centre, which was disappointing considering that this was one of their signature desserts.

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Mango Crisp (S$4.30) was an interesting dessert that I’ve never seen before. They are supposed to be cubes of mango chunks and fresh cream coated with biscuit crumbs. I expected the dish to be rich and heavy, however, it tasted more like a vanilla semifreddo—frozen, yet not as hard as ice cream.

It was light, melting instantly in my mouth. Despite that, the only pity was that the taste of the cream somewhat overpowered the mangoes, masking the fragrance and fruitiness.

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Mangoes aside, Hui Lau Shan also offers Durian Pancakes (S$9.10) made-to-order in limited quantities. Under that house-made florescent green egg crepe consists of a thick layer of D24 durian puree and whipped cream.

The addition of the whipped cream mellowed down the thick consistency and pungent taste of the durian puree, resulting in a fluffy and velvety filling that was not too overpowering and pleasant to eat.

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With our hot and humid weather, you can count on the Signature Mango Jelly Smoothie (S$6.95) to cool you down and keep you refreshed. Mango cubes, puree and jelly are combined together in a cup, for a mixture of textures and flavours that was a heavenly and guilt-free beverage alternative.

With Hui Lau Shan returning to Singapore, mango desserts are now so easily accessible; I’m pretty sure that they will be a hit amongst locals. Quality was definitely not compromised judging from how intensely sweet and fresh the mangoes were in all the desserts I tried. Nonetheless, since this is just the first week of their opening, I’m sure that there will be more improvements made to satisfy their diners!

Expected Damage: S$7 – S$15 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 3 / 5

Hui Lau Shan

23 Serangoon Central, NEX, #03-K19/20/21, Singapore 556083

Our Rating 3/5

Hui Lau Shan

23 Serangoon Central, NEX, #03-K19/20/21, Singapore 556083

Operating Hours: 10.30am - 10pm (Daily)

Operating Hours: 10.30am - 10pm (Daily)
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