What: Cha’s pineapple bun 菠萝包 (aka bo lo baau!)
From Where: Cha’s // 1/F, 30 Sinan Lu, near Huaihai Zhong Lu (思南路30号1楼，近淮海中路)
Why you should grab a bite: In terms of sweet pastries, this is Hong Kong’s ambassador to the world. Cha’s serves authentic Hong Kong food well and for only 6RMB, it’s also affordable Cantonese cuisine–not exactly a commonly seen thing here in Shanghai.
Cha does the bo lo yau 菠萝油 which comes with a fat two inch pat of butter wedged in the middle. Or you can ask for the original, unbuttered version. Either way, both come out warm and with a delicious contrast between the crispy, powdery top and the soft texture of the bun.
Just to be clear, bo lo baau is called pineapple bun because of the criss-crossed pattern on the top, not because it actually contains any pineapple. We don’t want you deluding yourself into thinking that this is a healthy dessert. In actuality, its high calorific value is pretty terrifying. Delicious, but terrifying.
Last but not least, Cha’s enjoys immensely popularity so more likely than not, there will be a line up at the restaurant. Twice, we craved bo lo baau but we had to wait 10-20 minutes to be seated. If you’re only two, you’ll probably be seated with strangers at the same table but you know, it all adds into the authenticity of the HK cha chaan teng experience. Just sit back and imagine that you’re in a Wong Kar Wai flick and wash it down with a hot cup of milk tea.