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Chinese desserts galore

One Chinese New Year many moons ago, I organised a dinner in Dublin for 35 friends and colleagues. In keeping with the theme of the meal – Chinese dishes which non-Chinese can’t find on their version of the menu (the restaurant owner was very nervous when he saw 35 non-Chinese walked in with me because I had pre-ordered some very traditional dishes!) – I had specially ordered red bean soup for dessert. The meal was a great success but I wish I could say the same about the dessert; a majority of the diners abandoned it after a spoonful or two, and proceeded to order frozen desserts available in just about every Chinese restaurants in Europe (you know which one I’m talking about, right?).

Asian desserts

Asian desserts

It is true that Chinese desserts are not very conventional by European/Western standards. Many are in the form of warm soup or custard, the ingredients often include beans or seeds or nuts, there are glutinous and/or jellied textures… I could go on, but that’s no reason to confine Chinese/”Asian” restaurants’ dessert menu to ice cream, frozen stuff, and at a push, banana/pineapple/apple fritters. If bubble tea and the chemically-induced flavours could gain popularity in the West, why not other desserts too?

Faced with limited options in Paris (or even Dublin for that matter), I went on a Chinese dessert quest while in Hong Kong. There are dessert shops everywhere, from the single-owner small corner stalls to the multi-location brand name (would Honeymoon Dessert please consider opening a store in Paris?), to satisfy the craving. It even became a habit that I would have dim sum for lunch, then walked the block to find a dessert shop for the sweet treats.

Asian desserts

Asian desserts

Asian desserts

Asian desserts

Asian desserts

Asian desserts

Asian desserts

Asian desserts

From the many varieties of sago pudding, to milk and soy custard, to tong yuen (glutinous rice balls), I had a great time tasting them all. The shops that do desserts with durian were particular favourites, as I truly miss the fruit. And I would defend it like a French defending cheeses – it’s not smelly, it’s fragrant, and the variety that you find in Asian supermarket is a pale imitation of the real deal that ripens on tree instead of being removed before its prime for international travels.

Methinks for my next trip home to Malaysia, I’m going to stalk my grandaunts and aunts for their recipes of certain Asian desserts, and for those which ingredients may be hard to find in Paris, I’ll stash a suitcase-ful of them to be brought back. I ought to learn how to make them. So far, I’ve attempted soy milk, bubur cha cha and mua chi in my kitchen and they have been well-received by F and my rather food-adventurous friends, all of whom admittedly had been to Malaysia with me and been exposed to the gamut of Malaysian/ Chinese food possible. Maybe they’ll be glad to have more of what we were having in Malaysia. Who else wants to be my guinea pig?

Places I went to for desserts in Hong Kong:
– Yee Shun Milk Company (G/F 506 Lockhard Road, Causeway Bay)
– Honeymoon Dessert (multiple locations, including Western Market and Ngong Ping)
– The Sweet Dynasty (The Peak Galleria, 118 Peak Road)
– Sweet Brother Restaurant (G/F 35B DunTak Mansion, 33-35 Dundas St, Mong Kok)

All posts in this series:
Hong Kong: What can I do in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong: First impression: Hong Kong
Hong Kong: More dim sum, please
Hong Kong: Postcards: The (Victoria) Peak
Hong Kong: Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden
Hong Kong: Wong Tai Sin Temple
Hong Kong: Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha
Hong Kong: Tai O fishing village
Hong Kong: Postcards: Stanley
Hong Kong: Chinese desserts galore
Hong Kong: Occupy Central with Love and Peace
Hong Kong: Hong Kong by night
Hong Kong: So many markets
Hong Kong: How to gain a few kilos in a week
Hong Kong: Once upon a clear sky in Hong Kong



Category: Asia, Food & Drink, Hong Kong, Travel

Tagged: , , ,

4 scribbles & notes

  1. med says:

    Hmmm….u didnt try the Hui Lau Shan mango dessert chain store??? There is also one famous one in Yuen Long called BB Leung Fan hahaha. Anyway, definitely plenty of yummy dessert place or just food joints in HK ;)

  2. med says:

    Next round kekekekeke :)

    • Lil says:

      That’s assuming I go back to Hong Kong, but there are so many other places to still visit even in the region, e.g. Macau / Taiwan / Seoul!

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