There is such a wide variety of desserts to be found across Asia. It’s not all about glutinous rice and bananas!
OK, so we’ve taken a look at 23 of the most tantalising European desserts, and 23 of the best American desserts, so now let’s check out 23 of the most delicious Asian desserts, which are listed in alphabetical order. Interestingly, there are 4 desserts included here from both Japan and Thailand! Remember to let me know which of these after-dinner treats tickles your fancy!
Bánh Chuối Nướng, Vietnam (recipe)
If you think that travelling around Asia means you might encounter a few “dodgy” foods, then fear not, as in Vietnam they have simple banana cakes – known as Bánh Chuối Nướng – that have been baked to perfection. Fresh banana cakes that have been freshly baked? Sounds good to me!
Bubur Cha Cha, Malaysia (recipe)
This sweet dessert from Malaysia may look like Cendol, but in fact Bubur Cha Cha is an assorted medley of sweet potatoes, yam, and black-eyed peas that are cooked in a sweet coconut milk base. It is a colourful and sweet dessert, and is generally prepared during festive seasons.
Buko Pie, Philippines (recipe)
Buko Pie is extremely popular with Filipinos, many of whom consider it their “national dessert”. It resembles a coconut cream pie, except that it is made with young coconuts (“buko” in Tagalog) and has neither cream in the coconut custard filling or meringue swirls on top of the baked coconut custard. Instead, the pie uses sweetened condensed milk, making it denser and healthier.
Cendol, Indonesia (recipe)
The basic ingredients of Cendol are coconut milk, jelly noodles made from rice flour with green food colouring (usually derived from the pandan leaf), shaved ice and palm sugar. Other ingredients such as red beans, glutinous rice, grass jelly, creamed corn, might also be included. Although said to have originated in Indonesia, Cendol is also just as popular in Singapore and Malaysia.
Chè, Vietnam (recipe)
Chè is a Vietnamese term that refers to any traditional Vietnamese sweet beverage, dessert soup or pudding. Varieties of Chè are made with mung beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, tapioca, jelly, fruit (longan, mango, durian, lychee or jackfruit), and coconut cream.
Douhua is the short form of doufuhua. It is a Chinese snack made with very soft tofu. It is also referred to as tofu pudding and soybean pudding. Also very popular in Taiwan.
Egg Custard Tart, Hong Kong (recipe)
These Egg Tarts are famous all over Asia – but nowhere more so than in Hong Kong! The locals here cannot get enough of these small treats, and as well as being as a key component of Dim Sum, they are also enjoyed as after dinner snacks!
Halo-Halo, Philippines (recipe)
This is a popular Filipino dessert with mixtures of shaved ice and evaporated milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans, jello and fruits. It is served in a tall glass or bowl. You may see some similarity in Halo-Halo with Ais Kacang from Malaysia, as they are both shaved ice desserts.
Ichigo Daifuku, Japan (recipe)
As if simple mochi wasn’t good enough for you, spring time in Japan sees these glutinous rice cakes pounded into shape with the addition of a whole strawberry (and red bean paste) placed inside. This is a classic Japanese dessert and I am sure you’ll agree that it looks as good as it tastes!
Kakigōri, Japan (recipe)
Kakigōri is a Japanese summertime dessert flavoured with syrup and a sweetener, often condensed milk. Popular flavours include strawberry, green tea (ujikintoki), melon, “Blue Hawaii”, and sweet plum. The texture and presentation of Kakigōri is similar to Baobing and Bingsu from Chinese and Korean cuisines respectively.
Khanom Khrok, Thailand (recipe)
Khanom Khrok are simple coconut cakes that are small enough to be carried in the palm of your hand and eaten on the go. However, Thais enjoy their cakes by the bucket load – and who can blame them with these tantalisingly tasty treats?!
Khao Niao Mamuang, Thailand (recipe)
Famous among tourists in Thailand is Khao Niao Mamuang, which is sweet coconut sticky rice with mango. This has now became one of Thailand’s most popular desserts and is famous all over the globe.
Khao Tom Mat, Thailand (recipe)
Khao tom is a Thai dessert of seasoned steamed sticky rice and cooked banana that is traditionally wrapped in banana leaves. Also eaten in Laos and Myanmar (under different names).
An essential component of Dim Sum, the colourful Lai Wong Bao has been delighting the Chinese for many a century. The soft and fluffy bao is filled with fresh creamy custard (usually heated) and it can be difficult to eat with chopsticks!
Mango Pomelo Sago, Hong Kong (recipe)
Mango Pomelo Sago is a Hong Kong dessert that was supposed to have been invented pretty recently, in 1984. It is composed of mango, pomelo, sago, coconut milk, cream and sugar. It has since been exported all over the world – and is eaten on mainland China as well.
Melonpan, Japan (recipe)
These traditional buns from the Land of the Rising Sun are just as popular as pineapple buns from Hong Kong and are devoured in their millions every year!
Mooncake, China (recipe)
Mooncakes are Chinese bakery products infamously known as difficult to make authentically. Mooncakes are traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. The festival is for lunar worship and moon watching, when mooncakes are regarded as an indispensable delicacy!
Pandan Chiffon, Indonesia (recipe)
Pandan Chiffon cake is a light, fluffy or sponge cake of Indonesian origin that is flavoured with the juice of Pandanus amaryllifolius leaves. The cakes are light green in tone due to the chlorophyll in the leaf juice. Also a favourite snack in Malaysia.
Pisang Goreng, Indonesia (recipe)
Pisang Goreng is a snack food made of banana or plantain being deep fried in hot cooking oil, mostly found throughout Indonesia, but popular all over South East Asia. There are several variants: type of banana used; either coated with batter or not. A variant called “Pisang Goreng Pontianak” is widely popular in Indonesia and is one of the main street foods across the archipelago.
Sakuramochi, Japan (recipe)
Mochi is Japanese rice cake made of mochigome (a short-grain japonica glutinous rice) which is pounded into paste and molded into the desired shape. In Japan, Sakuramochi is known also as “Cherry Blossom Cake” and is traditionally made in a ceremony called “mochitsuki”.
Songkaya Fakthong, Thailand (recipe)
Also eaten wildly in Cambodia, Songkaya Fakthong is basically a scrumptious dessert of pumpkin custard! It is a cheap and cheerful way for the whole family to enjoy dessert!
Shwe Yin Aye, Myanmar (recipe)
Shwe Yin Aye is a coconut cream sherbet that is traditionally eaten after dinner. Many people in Myanmar will never turn it down – and neither would I! This is often served with a slice of white bread. Unquestionably the tastiest Burmese dessert!
Tang Yuan, China (recipe)
Tang Yuan is a Chinese food made from glutinous rice flour mixed with a small amount of water to form balls and is then cooked and served in boiling water. Tang Yuan can be either small or large, and are commonly filled with black sesame paste.
So that concludes my look at 23 of the most tasty Asian desserts! Which of these delicious desserts caught your eye? For me, the Pisang Goreng remains a favourite of mine, although Khao Niao Mamuang is delicious, too!
If you’re looking for MORE Asian desserts, check out my post 23 MORE Asian desserts you MUST try before you die!
Page last updated 14 July, 2016. Please report any dead links.
19 thoughts on “23 Asian Desserts you MUST try before you die!”
Not a big fan of the cendol and my most fav is pisang goren. Always!!
Always seems to be so much love for the pisang goreng! I am not surprised! But what don’t you like about the Cendol? Seem ok to me.
I have had some of those. Can’t say which is my favourite… But hey, you forgot our South Asian desserts!
Don’t worry Rajiv, Indian/Sri Lankan/Bangladeshi desserts are coming up in a later instalment!
Mmm, egg tarts are so good! Mango pomelo sago looks fantastic too, and the Thai mango with coconut sticky rice… yum! Some of the others don’t interest me as much- when people start adding creamed corn and grass jelly, it gets a little too weird for me! 😀
I agree there’s some strange ingredients used in Asian desserts from time to time, but it’s all part of the culture – and for us, all part of the fun trying them! 😛 I actually made my own Thai mango sticky rice the other day…that’s how much I love it! 😀
Cool! I’ve made a mango pudding of sorts with soft tofu- also delicious. Glad you had fun cooking 🙂
Heh happy to see some of my favs here!
Which ones were your favourites? 😀
Chendol, Liu Sha Bao (what we call the custard buns in Singapore), all the Thai desserts! And mochiiiii
Great choices! 😀 I love the custard buns too, and mochi is always a good treat (even the ice cream)!
We enjoy custard buns and tang yang filled with a peanut butter mixture almost weekly – they are so delicious! I have not tried any of the other desserts you presented but I look forward to! ☆☆☆
Hardly know any of these!
I must explore them next time in Asia!
I’ve eaten the pandan chiffon..there is an Indonesian influence here in the Netherlands and have tasted it at one of the stores here.
ok. you’ve successfully making me hungry. and it’s lunch time too! one more dessert i’d like to recommend to add to the list is indonesian avocado juice (fresh avocado, condensed milk, chocolate syrup, crushed ice) or avocado ice cream (fresh avocado, coconut milk, sugar). i’m not sure how available these are in other parts of south east asian regions, but if you never tried it, be sure to look out for it the next time you are in south east asia.