5 Must-Try Chinese Desserts

Posted on: 29 October 2015

Going to your local Chinese restaurant on a Friday night is a real treat. Everyone is familiar with the Chinese staples like chilli beef, prawn crackers, and chow mein, but when it comes to dessert, Chinese sweet things may not be as well known to you.

But there are a surprising number of delicious Chinese desserts that anyone with a sweet tooth will love, so why not ask your local Chinese restaurant if they can whip up one of these treats on your next Friday night out?

Eight Treasure Rice. It seems that most cultures have their own variant on a classic rice pudding, and Chinese culture is no exception. The eight treasures rice is named so because it has eight forms of deliciousness piled on top of sweet and sticky rice. Red bean paste is one of the essential ingredients, and the remaining items are things like candied fruits and peel.

Tang Yuan. This is another rice centred dessert, but instead of grains of rice, rice flour is used. The rice flour is mixed with sugar and water and rolled into a dumpling, which can be filled with a whole suite of goodies. Popular ingredients you might find inside Tang Yuan include red bean paste, pumpkin paste, sesame seeds, and ground peanuts.

Red Bean Buns. If your favourite Chinese restaurant happens to serve dim sum, you might have already been tempted by a Red Bean Bun. Small steamed buns are staples of dim sum cuisine, and they are usually filled with savoury items such as shredded pork and prawns. But in this variation, sweet red bean paste is the star of show as it is in so many classic Chinese desserts. You might also find variations with pine nut paste or taro paste.

Custard tarts. When you think of custard tarts, you probably think of Europe and specifically Portugal before thinking of China. But because Macau was once colonised by Portugal, these sweet bites of custard and pastry made their way to the island of Macau and then on to the mainland. The best custard tarts have thin, crisp pastry and an eggy, sweet filling.

Grass jelly. One of the stranger dessert items in China, this kind of jelly is made from the stalks and leaves of a plant that is a member of the mint family. This jelly is typically diced up and served chilled in a bowl alongside some fruits.

Next time you visit a local Chinese restaurant like Sun Wah Restaurant & Function Centre, see if they have any of these dessert items on the menu for you to try.