I had first learnt about this San Francisco branch of the Hong Kong dessert chain, Hui Lau Shan, a couple of years back. Last year, when I was visiting the area, I made it a point to stop in and grab my favourite mango and coconut drink with sago. It brought back such great memories for me as this was my favourite drink when I was visiting Hong Kong. Hence, last week when I was in San Francisco, I decided to stop by to grab my favourite drink as it was just across the street from where I was having dim sum.
I ordered #54 Sago in Mango and Coconut Milk ($3.49). For the most part, it was just as good as I remembered it to be. The only thing I thought was different on this occasion was that there was a lot more sago (tapioca pearls) than what I remembered. There was almost too much sago pearls in the drink to the point that I was gulping down a mouthful of sago in every sip. Despite that, I still enjoyed the flavours of the drink. I think it’s the coconut milk that really makes the drink. It goes really well with the mango juice and mango chunks. I don’t think the drink would be the same without the sago. I just wish that there would be a little less sago in the drink.
My friend ordered #51 Mango cubes and Sago in Mango Juice($3.85). This was a similar drink to the one I ordered except without the coconut milk. The Mango cubes and Sago in Mango Juice tasted ok but it was very one-dimensional. It just had a very strong mango taste with nothing to really balance it out. Both my friend and I agreed that the one with the coconut milk tasted better as the coconut milk balances out the flavour. Also, without the coconut milk, I thought this drink tasted very sweet with the mango by itself. Again, I thought this drink had too much sago as we were gulping down mouthfuls of sago in every sip. The sago made the drink seem very thick.
As we were ordering our drinks, we saw Mango Mochi with Fresh Mango ($2.50 for 3 pieces). We were curious so we decided to get an order to try. As it turns out, this became the star of the show. I didn’t know what to expect as I’d never had Mango Mochi before. Upon my first bite, I was pleasantly surprised to find fresh mango filling inside the mochi. It was delicious! I’d never had anything like this before and I’m a huge fan of all things mango-flavoured. I’ve had mochi before but it’s usually with a really sweet pasty filling. I was so impressed that I went back the next night to get more Mango Mochi. I even got some for my other friends to try as I thought this dessert was so unique.
It was when I gave the Mango Mochi to my friends along with a take-out menu that one of my friends who could read Chinese told me that this dessert house was not called Hui Lau Shan after looking at the take-out menu. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on there with the name. Both the beverage containers and the receipt still said Hui Lau Shan. Hence, I was shocked when my friend told me that according to the take-out menu and the storefront, the Chinese name is no longer called Hui Lau Shan, even though the English name is still called Creations Dessert House. Two of the Chinese characters in the name are still the same, but the first character is different. I guess that might explain why the drinks we ordered didn’t taste quite right. I don’t remember the version from Hui Lau Shan having so much sago in the drinks, even when I had it at this location last year. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy with the Mango Mochi and definitely would go out of my way to go back and order them again. As for the name, I don’t really care what the place is called or whether they are an authentic Hui Lau Shan location or not, as long as they continue to make Mango Mochi as tasty as the ones that we had.
Creations Dessert House
5217 Geary Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94118