珍妮曲奇 Jenny Bakery @ Tsimshatsui Hong Kong
We always make it a point to bring something back from our overseas trips, as an extension of our experience and adventures there. When we were much younger, it used to be frivolous momentos and souvenirs like fridge magnets, bookmarks, keychains etc… pretty much the standard tourist market kinda ware. Then we’d realised that these impractical items indirect turned us into hoarders, only to find their way into dustbins over the years. Food seemed more pragmatic in comparison, i.e. local delights which we may not be able to find in Singapore, not of the same quality, or not at the same price at least. For Hong Kong, it had always been foodstuff like traditional pastries i.e. lou po beng (老婆饼)， hup tou sou （核桃酥), and gai zai beng (鸡仔饼), or good quality dried produce like mushrooms and lup cheong (腊肠). When in season, we turn to fruits like lor mai chee lychees (糯米糍荔枝) or custard apples. Earlier this year, we found out through friends something else which have been in the limelight, much favoured by tourists from Mainland. The craze seemed to have spilled over to visitors from Taiwan and later on Malaysia and Singapore as well. J got to try some through colleagues who brought back a few tins and urged me to put it on the “to buy” list for our own trip after raving much about them. Curious on exactly how good they were, there is only one way to find out…
Butter cookes from 珍妮曲奇 Jenny Bakery seem to be the latest craze. We didn’t even encounter queues like this at the newly opened Pierre Herme outlet. In fact, we don’t remember joining a queue for anything like this for the longest time (Nope we ain’t into Happy Meal Hello Kitty plush toys or Despicable Me minion figurines). This was the queue outside the building where their outlet is located in Mirador Mansion, Tsimshatsui. We were easily the 30th in line and the queue continued behind us and stretched all the way to Nathan Road.
As the people spilled onto the main streets, the proprietors came out of from their shop and made those behind do a hairpin turn instead, in a somewhat unfriendly manner, likening to herding ducks and geese. To make things worse, there were folks who tried all means to get into the queue. Some Chinese tourists tried to buy off those in the queue with much persuasion and pleads. Others who came late tried to chat up with those who were already in the queue as a guise to join in. There was even a middle-aged woman who attempted to cut queue in front of a young man. She is obviously a veteran all this, and came prepared with a trolley basket for her loots later. Unlucky for her, she was hurled at by the folks behind who jeered and bellowed her to join the queue behind. A simple albeit long queue like this, yet revealing the ugly facades of humanity.
After more than an hour of queuing, the shop is finally ready to “dispense” their cookies. Yes they look more like a pharmacy than a cookie shop. There is no “shopping” involved at all, since there is nothing to pick and choose from. Questions are to be kept to a minimum as one is expected to know what is available, what to buy and how much they would have to pay. Any queries would be met up with a full regalia of dismay and displeasure by the shop attendants. All they have in their minds was probably to sell off all their tins of cookies as quickly as possible with minimum effort. Customer service is basically non-existential here.
Yet the queue remain fanatical. Tourists from Mainland max out their quota for these cookies at the expense of their luggage space and some more entrepreneurial fellas saw the business opportunity behind these small morsels of flour and butter and roped in their family and friends to join in the queue with them, only to sell them over online websites like Taobao for a slight premium. I was even told that there is a shop located just opposite Jenny Bakery’s outlet at Sheung Wan that would send their workers to queue early in the morning for the cookies and resell them for a small profit at their own shop after the outlet closed for the day when their cookies sold out.
After the ordeal one has to go through to get these cookies, so how exactly do they fare? There are two types of cookie tins available. One containing chilled and cut cookies (八味果仁曲奇) with mixed nuts and the other basically has piped butter cookies (四味奶油曲奇). Well, they are quite aromatic and buttery as J had described. I’d preferred the nuts version over the butter ones. The latter are a tad too buttery for me, too overwhelming to the point of becoming very surreal. Wonder if chemicals like butter oil essence (yes, there is such a thing if you are wondering) had been added to accentuate the “buttery-ness” of it. Texture wise, they are really melt-in-your-mouth, owing to the addition of corn starch. Not too difficult to decipher. The coffee version didn’t work for me for the same reason, too overpowering in taste.
Overall, the cookies from Jenny Bakery has more misses for me. Probably due to the expectations I had after being told how good they supposedly were. Having queued under the sun and rain for more than an hour for them, having expectations ain’t exactly altogether unnatural. Would I join the queue to buy them again, probably not. Truth be told, they are quite good when one just look at their texture and taste. But having to go through so much and wasting precious time on queuing, not to mention to be shown the resourceful but dark and unscrupulous side of human “nature”… not quite sure if I want to put up with such an experience again.
珍妮曲奇 Jenny Bakery
1. Sheung Wan store
15 Wing Wo Street, Ground Floor
Sheung Wan Hong Kong (Sheung Wan MTR Exit E2)
(opposite Sincere Department Store, Behind Grand Millenium Plaza)
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
(tel) 2524-1988, open 10am – 7pm
2. Kowloon – Tsim Sha Tsui store
Shop 24 Ground Floor, Mirador Mansion
54-64 Nathan Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon (MTR Exit D2)
(tel) 2813-8568, open 10am – 8pm
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This entry was posted on November 21, 2013 by Alan (travellingfoodies). It was filed under Food, Travel and was tagged with cookies, 珍妮曲奇, Hong Kong, Jenny Bakery, Jenny Baking House, tsimshatsui, 曲奇.