Beautiful Memory Dessert (Formerly Called Manji Dessert) – Hong Kong Style Desserts in Flushing’s New World Mall Food Court
**For full post and pics**: http://www.lauhound.com/2012/01/beaut...
Beautiful Memory Dessert, formerly known as Manji Dessert, is a rip-off of a very famous dessert shop in Hong Kong called Honeymoon Dessert (man ji tian pin / 满记甜品). Honeymoon Dessert started off as a dessert shop in Sai Kung and eventually expanded to having branches all over HK and other parts of Asia. I’ve actually been to the original many years ago before they got really big and it was one of the best dessert shops that I’ve tried in Hong Kong. I’ve also eaten at some of their other branches in Hong Kong more recently, which are good as well. You can see the original branch here. (http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...)
Manji Dessert opened in the New World Mall with the exact same logo and Chinese name as Honeymoon, but with a different English name (Manji is simply the transliteration of the Chinese name). The actual Honeymoon quickly put out a statement saying that this was not a real branch of Honeymoon, which you can see here. (http://www.honeymoon-dessert.com/en_u...)
So with all that drama put forth, on to the actual review. The types of desserts that this place serves are Hong Kong style desserts. They are mainly things like mango and durian pancakes and various different types of sweet soups that usually have fruits and sago in them. They are generally fairly light and not overly sweet. I really love these types of dessert, but it’s very hard to find a good version outside of Hong Kong.
This stall is a little different than most of the stalls at the New World Mall as you can actually sit inside the stall. While it’s small, it’s definitely nicer than sitting in the regular seating because it’s much less hectic and loud. The servers are nice, but they seem to get overwhelmed a lot of times between taking orders from customers getting desserts to go and customers inside the store.
Here’s what we got:
- Durian Pancake: In Hong Kong, this is my favorite thing to get at Honeymoon. It’s a thin slightly spongy crepe-like pancake that is filled with a very light and fluffy crème that is sweet, but not too sweet and mashed up durian. There is also a mango version, which I love as well, but they never seem to have it here. While not as good as the real deal, the version here was enjoyable (assuming you like durian). The pancake was not as thin and delicate as the one in HK, but it was decent. The crème was pretty good although again not as light and fluffy as the one in HK. The durian was surprisingly tasty especially considering that durians have to be frozen and sent to the US (they aren’t as stinky and tasty afterwards). Overall, I enjoyed it and thought it was passable version and it’s nice to find it since it is almost impossible to find in the U.S. 7.75/10
- Mango Glutinous Dumpling: This was glutinous rice balls covered in coconut shavings with a small piece of fresh mango inside. It tastes similar to how it sounds. The texture of the glutinous rice was soft and a bit chewy, the coconut shavings were decent (I think they’re more for texture) and the piece of mango in the middle was nicely ripe and sweet. That said while I like rice dough desserts, I’m not that big a fan of glutinous rice dough desserts (there’s a difference), so this was just decent for me. 7/10
- Mango Pomelo Soup: This is a sweet and slightly creamy mango soup that has pomelo (very similar to a grapefruit), chopped up mango and sago (tapioca balls that are made from sago palm pith). In Hong Kong, this is one of my favorite dishes, but unfortunately it fell a bit flat here. The mango, sago and pomelo were all fine; the mango was sweet and ripe, the sago wasn’t mushy and the pomelo had a decent grapefruit flavor. However, the actual soup was pretty bland, it should be a flavorful and refreshing soup and instead it was a bit dull, so this was a bit of a disappointment. 6.75/10
- Black Sesame Rice Balls in Walnut Soup: Tang yuan are rice dough balls filled with sweet fillings usually ground up black sesame or crushed peanuts. It is one of my favorite Chinese desserts. It’s often served in either a sweet soup or hot water. We got it in a walnut soup, but I’m not a huge fan of walnut soups generally as they are pretty thick and somewhat pasty, I find they overpower whatever is in them. The version here was just okay. However, the tang yuan were quite good, the rice dough was melt in your mouth soft and the black sesame filling was nice and not too sweet. I would get this again, but switch out the walnut soup for something else. 7.5/10 (7/10 for the walnut soup, 8.25/10 for the tang yuan)
- Thai Black Glutinous Rice with Mango in Vanilla Ice: This was balls of black glutinous rice, sliced mango on a bed of vanilla ice. The black glutinous rice balls are sticky and nicely al dente. The mango was nicely ripe and sweet. The vanilla ice had a similar flavor to vanilla ice cream, but it was small chunks of ice. I enjoyed the combo of flavors and I liked the texture of the black glutinous rice balls, but I wish the ice was more powdery or if you switched it for coconut milk that would be even better. That said, I enjoyed eating it and I would get it again. 7.75/10 (would be higher rating if the ice was better)
While it’s not as good as the real deal in Hong Kong and it’s been getting panned on Yelp (http://www.yelp.com/biz/manji-dessert...) due to the fact that it’s a rip off, some of the desserts are worth trying. I’ve been stopping here a lot after my meals in Flushing for dessert and I think it’s worth checking out.
New World Mall
40-21 Main St, Queens, NY 11354
Thanks for the tip about this place. I went with two friends after a meal at Sol Hyang Gee, and we were all delighted with every dish we ordered. Granted, we are not familiar with the Hong Kong original, and only one of us is even Chinese, so we didn't have as much to compare it to. We wanted to get the black rice with mango in vanilla ice, but it was the end of the day and they were out of black rice. We didn't have any complaints about the mango pomelo soup. We also had the fresh mango balls in glutinous rice, although I don't remember any coconut. It was chewy and delicate at the same time. The server explained to us that they make them fresh because they couldn't pre-make them with fresh mango or they would get mushy. Our third dish was something he called Snow White. It was like partially frozen ice milk with banana, longan, palm seeds, and pine seeds. I wasn't sure I'd like it when I saw it. Pine seeds make me think of frog eggs, and I hadn't enjoyed them in a Vietnamese drink, which was the only time I'd had them before. However, this dessert was quite wonderful. The server called palm seeds 'nature's gummy bears'. I would highly recommend it. We're going back soon.
Been coming here a few months now, really like the desserts here. I've posted before that the pancakes remind me of mochi and cream desserts that I get in Japan - not exactly but in spirit. The cream here is light and not overly sweet. Tried the durian version for a change-up last night and really liked it, the way the offbeat durian flavor plays off the sweetness of the cream, really nice.
One thing about these guys - we've often gone to find them out of a lot of stuff. These aren't necessarily at super early or late hours either, but in the middle of a weekend day, for instance. Earlier on, we had more luck when the guy who runs the place was there, very friendly, younger guy. Haven't seen him in the past few visits though.
yah they do tend to be out of alot of stuff, ive noticed that as well and I've also noticed the staff tends not to be the same too.
This place has the potential to be very good if they just changed some small things about their dishes. I would change my ratings if a few things were different that i mentioned in the post. hopefully, at some point i'll be able to re-post with higher ratings!
I went on Saturday and had the Mango-Pomelo-Sago soup with vanilla ice cream, for approx $7.00. Very tasty, but not really worth that much.