There is something so special about eating dessert in China. Most Chinese desserts will have a western equivalent, but sometimes it’s the more unique after-dinner treats served in China that are most tantalising! Let’s take a look at 14 of the tastiest sweet and sticky desserts that you can find in Chinese cuisine, in alphabetical order:
Baobing is a shaved ice dessert, similar to patbingsu from Korea and ais kacang from Malaysia. In China (and across East Asia) shaved ice desserts are probably more popular than ice cream, and as such you can now find Baobing with almost any topping imaginable!
Bird’s Nest Soup is very popular all over Asia but in southern China it is considered an expensive delicacy believed to have health benefits. Bird’s nests are ravaged (usually from southern Thailand) and made into the sticky soup, which makes for a very sweet – and somewhat controversial – after dinner treat.
Black Sesame Roll is a refrigerated dim sum dessert found in Hong Kong and some overseas Chinatowns. It is sweet and the texture is smooth and soft.
Dou Hua is a tofu-based dessert that is famous all over China and in neighbouring Taiwan. Often simply called Tofu Pudding, Dou Hua can be eaten with youtiao and garnished with soy sauce.
Dragon’s Beard Candy is the Chinese variation of candy floss (or cotton candy). The sweet and sickly threadbare coating contains a more rewarding filling inside, and it can often be purchased from street food vendors all over mainland China.
Eight Treasure Rice is a chewy pudding that is usually served during the Chinese New Year period. Such is the size of a usual pudding, the whole family can tuck into this sweet treat!
Guilinggao is the proper name for Turtle Jelly, and is sold as a Chinese medicine as well as for dessert. Because of its ingredients, it is often a very expensive way of ending your meal!
Lai Wong Bao are a mainstay of Chinese dessert dim sum, but more recently these egg-lookalikes are eaten either on their own as finger food or as part of a more fulsome dessert after a meal. Often served cold, the custard is supposed to be runny, like egg yolk!
Mango Pomelo Sago is a famous dessert from Hong Kong originally, yet it has now spread not only to other parts of China, but also around the rest of the world. It is very sweet and sickly, using a lot of sugar and coconut milk, but the good thing is that rather than just a pudding, the actual flavour can be used for things like ice lollies, or even mooncakes!
Mooncakes are traditional Chinese bakery products that are usually eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival, although nowadays it can be found in bakeries and cafés all year round. These bite-sized products also make a very popular gift to loved ones or family members!
Nai Lao is Beijing-style yogurt where the milk is first heated and then sugar is added to give it the unique texture, and make it different to western-style commercial yogurt.
Put Chai Ko is a sweet pudding cake that can be decorated with any ingredient imaginable. Usually, these cakes are bite-sized, although larger can be found on the dessert menus of restaurants.
Tang Yuan is made from glutinous rice flour mixed with a small amount of water to form balls (similar to Japanese Mochi), then cooked and served in boiling water. Although often eaten unfilled, Tang Yuan can be filled with chocolate, fruit preserves, or sweet sesame.
Tong Sui literally means “sugar water”, and is the name given to any warm custard or soup-based dessert in mainland China. This is also eaten feverishly in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
So which desserts take your fancy? Let me know in the comments section below!