Souvenir from Hong Kong: Jenny cookies

A good friend from Japan suggested 3 MUST DO foods to try in case someone visits Hong Kong.

  1. Egg tarts – Cantonese delicacy, you can find them everywhere but prefer the morning freshly baked ones.
  2. Beef jerky – thin dried strips of non-fatty meat, preserved for long term consumption.
  3. Jenny cookies a.k.a. Drug cookies – butter cookies, super addictive in taste, hence the name.

While I started crossing out suggestions from the list, I was wondering what is that makes such simple snacks so special. Especially for the 3rd point, I was eager to find out what’s going on, because I’ve been eating good cookies all my life.

Jenny bakery was inside something that looked like a shopping center. There was not as big as a queue as I expected, probably because it was just 30′ before closing time, on a quiet weekday in between vacation periods. There were still many  people, most of them Japanese, carrying large suitcases. Some of the items in the menu were sold out. There was a sing indicating quota for how many tin cans with cookies you could buy. I didn’t see so many customers at the time, so the sign appeared to be out of place to my view. My friend argued that the cookies were a bit pricey, and that the cashiers were smiling while counting the money, like they were doing something illegal or extremely rewarding. DSC_1398Then I noticed that every customer -maybe due to the low traffic- was buying tens of tin cans at once. One guy opened a huge suitcase, almost completely empty, and started stacking tin boxes inside. We bought only two boxes, one for souvenir (the classic 4-mix butter cookies) and one for ourselves to try (the 8-mix nut cookies), because they do not offer smaller quantities. While others were trying to pack their freshly bought cookies in backpacks, we opened our box and tried on the spot. DSC_1439At this point, maybe it’s good to describe the box; it’s a simple round tin can, like the danish cookies cans, with teddy bears outside. ‘Made in Hong Kong’ is engraved in the bottom surface. We tried one cookie each, but we didn’t experience any stroke of amazement. Tasted like regular cookies. As we returned to the station we noticed numerous cookie bakeries and similar teddy bear tin cans in the surrounding streets. I found out later that a black market for cookies has emerged in the neighborhood. We tried the cookies again, this time in a more comfortable setting, accompanying our morning coffee. This time, I understood the hype. This cookie is addictive. It is not too sweet, not too crunchy, not too soft, not too strong in flavor; it has a perfect balance in taste and texture. I am not convinced that it is worth buying cans in dozens, but it is definitely worth a try.

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