Quoted from Asiansupper.com, the most popular version of the story behind the wife cake is:
During imperial China, a husband and wife are very rich in the amount of love for each other, but very poor in material wealth. The wife’s father-in law falls ill and requires medical attention. Unfortunately, the couple does not have enough money. The wife gives the ultimate gift of love - by selling herself as a slave to fund the medical care for her father in law. When the husband finds out, he creates a pastry with sweetened winter melon and almond – dedicating the pastry to the memory to his wife. The wife cake (lao po bing) gains such popularity that the husband is able to buy his wife back and cure his father of his ailment.
1. Hang Heung Cake Shop (恒香老餅家)
One of the souvenirs I bought back from Hong Kong and Macau trip was few boxes of wife cakes from Hang Heung Cake Shop 恆香老餅家 and Koi Kei Bakery (鉅記餅家).Hang Heung Cake Shop 恆香老餅家 is famed for its freshly baked wife cakes, thus I had brought back few boxes as well. I have also bought the almond cookies from Hang Heung Cake Shop (恒香老餅家).
The taste：The texture of the pastry is very soft, flaky skin. The winter melon paste is well balanced of sweetness. However, it has a strong taste of pork lard which is deemed disturbing to my mom. She would prefer Koi Kei Bakery which is not overwhelmed with pork lard taste. Despite of the pork lard taste, you may try to warm it up by microwaves in which the crumbs are tasted nicer when it's served warmed and the winter melon paste is like melting inside the mouth. Notably, Hang Heung wife cakes could only last for 5-7 days due to no preservatives are used.
The packaging: Unlike the rest of bakeries such as Wing Wah, Kae Wah and even Koi Kei Bakery, Hang Heung Cake Shop uses a simple,red color paper box with a pink raffia string tie to secure the 6 pieces of wife cakes. As the pastries are flaky, hence hand carry of these wife cakes would be necessary.
2. Koi Kei Bakery (鉅記手信)
During this Hong Kong and Macau tour, most of my HK dollars were spent on purchasing pastries as souvenirs for family from Koi Kei Bakery 鉅記餅家老婆餅 . The signature pastry from Koi Kei Bakery is the egg rolls and almond cookies-which I had included in the next review, Click here for more details.
The taste：The flaky skin (less flaky than Hang Heung's) and topped with some white sesames. The winter melon filling of the wife cakes have just the right amount of sweetness. and it has lesser pork lard smell. Well, it's my mom's favorite wife cake. Hopefully I could re-visit Macau to bring back the Lao Gong Bing with salty type of filling.
The packaging: Koi Kei Bakery Shop places a lot of efforts on the packaging. Each of its pastries (egg rolls, almond cookies, wife cakes, pineapple tart and etc. ) has different kind of good quality packaging. I have already kept few empty boxes to place my earrings.