Chinese food is amongst the world’s favourite cuisines. However, unlike many well-loved national cuisines, say Italian or French, when it comes to desserts, Chinese is frequently overlooked.
While a few Chinese desserts are a bit exotic and require some people to step out of their comfort zone, by and large, Chinese cuisine offers a number of excellent desserts that are well worth adding to your recipe collection.
Red Bean Buns
Red bean is the predominate ingredient in Chinese desserts. Red bean, which looks enough like chocolate that it fools many people at first glance, has a distinctive sweet flavour and is typically used in a paste or pureed form.
The most common and easiest to prepare at home red bean dessert is bao. Red bean bao (baozi) are very similar to pork bao, which is a staple of northern Chinese and dim sum restaurants. The filling is placed inside a bun, which is steamed until the bread and paste are cooked and hot throughout.
You might also want to try some of the other steamed bun Chinese desserts such as black bean paste, taro paste, or pine nut kernel paste.
Prepared frozen red bean buns can be found at many supermarkets as well as many Chinese takeaway restaurants. They are also easy to make at home using this simple recipe.
Sweet Egg Buns
Most of us are familiar with Chinese custard tarts (which are actually Portuguese in origin) and are a staple at most Cantonese and dim sum restaurants. Sweet egg buns are a bit harder to find but are well worth sampling.
Sweet egg buns are similar to red bean buns with a filling made from egg yolk and sugar. Sweet egg buns are very rich, very sweet, and very tasty.
Sesame Seed Balls
Sesame Seed Balls are incredibly popular and can be found in most Chinese restaurants and Asian bakeries. Sesame seed balls are a staple of Chinese New Year celebrations. Sesame seed balls are made by filling glutinous rice flour with red bean paste, rolling the balls in sesame seeds and then deep-frying.
The most common Chinese dessert is actually American in origin, but nonetheless tasty. They all also easy to make with the recipe found here.
The Chinese desserts we listed above are almost as common as the pineapple fritters you find at most Chinese restaurants. However to experience an even better Chinese dessert experience, you will probably need to do a deeper search on a site like Hungry House which lets you explore the menus of the Chinese takeaways near you. Below are a couple of desserts we think are well worth the search.
Pumpkin pancakes are incredibly simple to make. These deep fried delicacies have three ingredients, pumpkin, flour and sugar. Pumpkin pancakes are incredibly sweet, so a little can go a long way. They are most often found at Sichuan-style restaurants, but are occasionally offered at others as well.
Deep Fried Durian
Deep Fried Durian is the perfect dessert for the adventurous and those willing to step out of their comfort zone. Durian is a large fruit that has a fairly bad reputation despite being quite delicious. When cut Durian is one of the worst smelling fruits on the planet. The smell is so bad that many buses near the markets that sell durian will not allow passengers to board if they have cut durian. Handling cut durian with your bare hands is also not recommended as it takes seemingly forever to be rid of the smell. This makes finding a restaurant that serves the dessert the best way to sample the tasty dessert.