TOP 10 Chinese Dessert Soups

Chinese dessert soups (tong sui) are nutritious and widely available from humble hawker centre stalls to dessert chains and top-notched Chinese restaurants. They are welcomed accompaniments to end off a meal on a sweet note, and are also a popular choice for the last course of Chinese wedding banquets. Let’s check out some of these popular dessert soups!

TOP 1 Snow Fungus Soup

Snow fungus soup is one of the most nourishing Chinese dessert soups. Made by boiling nutritious ingredients such as snow fungus, red dates, goji berries, lotus seeds and ginkgo nuts, the snow fungus soup is concentrated with nutrients and is delightful to taste. Snow pears are sometimes added to enhance the soup. It is no wonder that it is popular and commonly cooked, be it at home where mothers cook for their families or restaurants where it is served as the last course as a nourishing dessert and to symbolize sweet blessings for weddings.


TOP 2 Red Bean Soup

The humble red bean soup is immensely popular among the Chinese residing in different places, and there are different renditions. The simplest version of red bean soup is where the red beans are boiled in water with sugar and pandan leaves for fragrance. The red beans are boiled till soft but they are still intact. The Cantonese style of red bean soup has beans that are boiled until the grains disintegrate and you can rarely find whole beans in the soup. Dried orange peels are added to the soup to impart flavour. As a result, the soup is thick and mushy with a citrusy fragrance. Sago pearls are sometimes added to give another dimension of texture.


TOP 3 Peanut Paste

This is a must-try for peanut lovers. Raw peanuts are first roasted or toasted till brown and fragrant. They are then blended to form a fine paste with oil, sugar and a bit of dissolved rice flour to achieve a smooth, velvety texture. The mixture is cooked on the stove till fragrant and its ready to be served. Peanut paste is sometimes served with glutinous rice balls.


TOP 4 Mango Sago with Pomelo

Mango sago with pomelo is exactly as its name states. Creamy mango puree is mixed with sago and topped with freshly cut mango cubes and pomelo to create this refreshing dessert. Unlike the other dessert on the list, mango sago with pomelo is only served cold, and it is considered a more contemporary dessert than the rest. Ice cubes are sometimes added to the dessert to increase the cooling factor.


TOP 5 Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet potato soup is made by boiling small pieces of sweet potatoes with sugar. Pandan leaves and ginger slices are added to enhance the taste. Sometimes, brown sugar and sago are used to add to the flavour and texture as well. It is a simple yet comforting bowl of dessert.


TOP 6 Ginkgo Nuts, Beancurd Skin and Barley Soup

This bowl of dessert presents an interesting combination of textures and a soothing taste. Barley is first soaked and boiled in a pot of water with pandan leaves. Ginkgo nuts are then peeled and halved to remove the bitter core before being added to the mixture. The last of the trio to be added is the beancurd skin as it is the fastest to cook and it softens in no time. Rock sugar is then added to taste. Some variations of this dessert include the addition of beaten eggs that are swirled to create a thicker soup, and some serve the soup with boiled quailed eggs.


TOP 7 Bubur Chacha

Bubur chacha is a tasty combination of sweet potatoes, yam, pandan leaves and coconut milk. Sweet potatoes and yam are cut into cubes and steamed or boiled in water with pandan leaves. Sago is then added along with sugar or palm sugar. The mixture is cooked till the sweet potatoes and yam are tender and the sago is translucent. Fresh coconut milk is then added to finish. The heavenly aroma arising from the mixing of coconut milk, pandan leaves and brown sugar entices you to want to tuck in rightaway!


TOP 8 Green Bean Soup

Unless red bean soup, green bean soup has more sago added to it and the beans are always cooked till they disintegrate. Besides the green beans, the other ingredients include pandan leaves, rock sugar and sometimes coconut milk to enhance the taste. The warm and smooth soup contrasts with the chewable green bean skin and soft sago to create a myriad of texture on top of the incredible flavour.


TOP 9 Glutinous Rice Balls in Sweet Soup

Glutinous rice balls are commonly eaten during the Chinese festival of dong zhi (winter solstice), but it has become so popular that it is now available throughout the year. You can even buy it off the shelf at local supermarkets. Glutinous rice balls are either plain or come with fillings such as peanut paste and sesame paste. They are a delight to munch on as the flavours explode in your mouth upon biting. They are commonly served in a clear soup made from boiling brown sugar and pandan leaves, or a sweet peanut soup where the peanuts are boiled till they melt in your mouth.


TOP 10 Black Sesame Paste

Black sesame paste is a smooth, velvety sweet paste made from the nutritious black sesame and a bit of glutinous rice or glutinous rice flour. The black sesame is first toasted or fried till fragrant before being ground into a fine paste together with the glutinous rice. Water and sugar is then added to the mixture and it is cooked till fragrant. The black sesame paste is not only delightful to taste, but is also believed to be able to help with the darkening of hair.



Photo credits: CiCi Li, The Woks of Life, rubbish eat rubbish grow, Taste Atlas,, Everyone Can Cook, the boy who ate the world,,, China Sichuan Food

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