From fortune cookies to fried milk to bubble tea, Chinese desserts bring so many unique and interesting flavors.
Dim sum, pork buns, and noodles are some of the dishes Chinese cuisine is known for. But other than fortune cookies, you really don’t hear much about the desserts!
The Chinese mostly prefer to end their meal with something light and simple, such as a piece of fruit or a slice of jelly.
But did you know that the colorful cuisine also has a variety of sweet offerings?
Using ingredients such as mung beans and five-spice, Chinese desserts have such fascinating flavors that are sure to intrigue your palate.
Today, come and join me as I explore the delectable desserts that China has to offer!
1. Almond Jelly
Almond jelly is one of the simplest and most popular Chinese desserts.
Made with almond-flavored gelatin and fruit salad swimming in a sweet syrup, it’s a light treat to cleanse the palate.
Almond jelly is a breeze to make and only calls for combining milk, ground almonds, water, and gelatin or agar.
It is then sliced into its signature diamond shape and served with fruit salad from a can.
2. Egg Tarts
Smooth and creamy egg custard is nestled in a flaky and buttery puff pastry. These bite-sized treats are sinfully delightful.
I remember visiting Macau a few years ago and snacking on egg tarts as I walked along its cobblestone streets.
You’re not supposed to eat them in bulk, but I couldn’t help it. They were just so addictive!
Fortunately, egg tarts are very easy to make and only take 15 minutes of prep time.
With this recipe, I can relive my Macau memorable experience in the comfort of my home. Yay!
Soy milk pudding is an incredibly soft and silky pudding made with soy milk and soy bean flour.
Gelatin or agar is added to get that lovely velvety consistency.
Served straight out of the fridge, it is a cool and refreshing treat, perfect for the summer.
Sweet and tangy pineapple filling gets nestled in a soft and flaky puff pastry. These pineapple tarts are a tropical masterpiece!
The combination of refreshing pineapple jam and melt-in-your-mouth crust is to die for! No wonder they are reserved for holidays and special occasions.
Red bean cakes are originally from Japan, but over the centuries, they haves made their way through Taiwan.
Also called as car wheel cakes, they are round and stuffed with a sweet red bean paste filling.
They’re mildly crisp on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside. These cakes create a beautiful harmony in your mouth.
Apart from red bean paste, these cakes can also be stuffed with pudding or savory fillings.
Chinese fried dough, crullers, or youtiao, is not just a popular dessert, but a breakfast dish as well. This bread is soft, chewy, and downright delicious.
Interestingly, this treat is called “yàuhjagwái” in Cantonese, which literally means “oil-fried-devil.”
These guys may be deep-fried in oil, alright, but they are far from being bad. In fact, they’re so good, they’re heavenly.
This sweet soup is the perfect way to warm you up on a cold day.
Chinese dessert soup is a traditional dish loaded with sweet potatoes, dates, and flavored with sugar and ginger.
The sweet potato and dates provide wonderful textures, while the combo of sugar and ginger gives it such a yummy flavor.
Plus, this soup is also easy to prepare. All it takes is to toss the ingredients in a pot and mix!
8. Bubble Tea
More commonly known here in the States as boba, bubble tea or milk tea is a sweet refreshing beverage that originated from Taiwan back in the 80s.
It’s a cold concoction made with milk and tea, and loaded with soft and chewy tapioca balls called pearls.
Mildly sweet and creamy, boba is the perfect way to cool you down on a hot summer day.
Today, it comes in many varieties such as honeydew, matcha, and strawberry. My favorite is taro. What’s yours?
9. Fried Milk
Fried milk is a rich and creamy snack that I can eat all day. Sure, it’s fattening, but also, who cares? It’s so good, it’s worth the calories!
Wondering how on earth it’s possible to fry milk? The trick is to thicken milk with cornstarch and let it firm up in the fridge.
Once solid, it is sliced into strips, dipped in bread crumbs, and fried until golden. I have a strong feeling this is going to be your new favorite snack.
10. Almond Cookies
Sure, chocolate chip cookies will always take the number one spot in the world’s best cookies, but it’s also nice to explore new flavors from time to time.
If you’re looking for more unique and interesting flavors, how about some almond cookies?
They’re crisp on the edges, crumbly in the middle, and sweet and buttery all around.
These almond cookies will be your next obsession. Try them with a hot cup of coffee and trust me, it will be love at first bite.
They’re also a snap to make. It’s just a matter of mixing the ingredients together and baking them for 15 minutes.
Clove, fennel, cinnamon, star anise, and pepper are five spices that are usually seen in savory dishes.
In this next entry, you’ll use them to make a chocolate cake.
This unique cake is sweet and moist with a little hint of warmth and spice.
The heat from the pepper adds such a slight zing that will make you want to take another bite.
It’s perfect for people who find chocolate cake to be way too rich.
The spices give the chocolate an earthy contrast and balance out the flavors really well.
Eight-treasure rice pudding is a dessert made with sweetened sticky rice. It’s a lot like a mango sticky rice, minus the mango.
It’s sweet, sticky, chewy, and super delightful.
This version of the traditional dessert stuffs the sticky rice with a sweet red bean paste and is garnished with various dried fruits and seeds.
To top it off, it is drizzled with a fragrant chrysanthemum syrup that makes it smell heavenly.
Wondering why it’s called eight treasures? “8” refers to the number of toppings added to the dish. Very precious, indeed.
13. Fried Bananas
Deep-fried bananas smothered with maple syrup and dusted with powdered sugar is a quick and easy dessert that sure hits the spot.
Let’s be honest, nothing beats the goodness of deep-fried anything.
Ripe bananas are already sweet, but coating them in batter and frying them enhances their flavor even more.
The maple syrup adds a thick and sticky contrast that makes them even more addictive.
Similar in texture to almond cookies, sesame cookies are a crisp and crumbly snack made with lard.
Flavored with nutrient-packed sesame seeds, these cookies are high in flavor and low in calories.
That’s what I call the perfect combination!
15. Snowflake Cake
Snowflake cake is an incredibly soft and irresistible cake made with potato starch, gelatin, coconut powder, milk, cream, and raspberries.
Other fruits, such as blueberries, strawberries, and mango can be used in place of raspberries.
This drool-worthy dessert is named such not after its appearance, but after the cooling effect it gives anyone who devours it.
Served cold, it’s a fantastic way to cool you down on a hot summer day.
Sachima is a sweet and crisp snack made with egg noodles and sticky syrup. It seems such an unlikely combination, but it works!
Deep-frying transforms the noodles into crisp treats anyone would love to snack on.
Clumping them together is a sweet syrup that can be flavored with different extracts.
Sure, it requires some effort, but once you’ve learned the ropes, you’ll find that the whole process is actually simple!
Make it once and I’m sure you’ll be making it all the time.
Crisp, crumbly, and bursting with walnuts, these cookies will bring you eternal bliss.
Unlike most cookies, walnut cookies aren’t that sweet. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself popping them in your mouth one after another!
Fortunately, they don’t contain as many calories as other cookies, so go right ahead.
Apart from the flavor, these cookies also smell amazing. Walnuts give off such an appetizing aroma, making them impossible to resist.
Sesame seed balls are soft and chewy round snacks filled with sweet sesame filling.
The balls are made with rice flour, which is what gives them that sticky, gelatinous texture.
They are completely covered with sesame seeds for that added crunch and to avoid them from sticking to your hands.
Apart from sesame seed, other popular fillings include red bean paste and peanut paste.
19. Mung Bean Cake
Mung bean cake, called “dvougao,” is a classic Chinese dessert eaten during the summer.
It’s made with – as you may have guessed – mung beans and is filled with a sweet paste. The cake gets its stunning shape from mooncake molds.
This ancient dessert is eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival, along with rice wine and salted duck eggs.
This tradition is said to prevent diseases caused by the summer heat.
20. Chinese Egg Cake
Egg cake is another popular Chinese cake that’s steamed instead of baked. Also called mini-sponge cake, it’s super soft, fluffy, and rich.
If you’re looking for an easy recipe, this is it right here.
It calls from basic pantry ingredients – eggs, flour, sugar, baking powder, oil, and salt. It also comes together in just under an hour!
But don’t be fooled by its simplicity, because this cake will absolutely knock your socks off.
21. Pineapple Buns
Super soft rolls are filled with a crisp topping. Don’t be misled by its name, though, because they do not contain any pineapple at all.
Pineapple or polo buns are named after their appearance.
It may need a bit of imagination, but if you look closely, the lined edges make them look like pineapples.
The bread is ultra soft and tender, and the cracked surface adds a crisp and crumbly contrast.
22. Fa Gao
Fa gao, or fortune cake, is a dense and gummy-ish cake usually served during Chinese New Year.
Also known as prosperity cake and lucky cake, fa gao is eaten to bring prosperity in the year ahead.
Just like the Chinese egg cake, fa gao is steamed, not baked. Mini-sized cakes are cooked at high heat, causing the surface to crack into four segments.
The resulting appearance is said to look like a smile, although if I’m being honest, it doesn’t look like one at all! I still think it looks awesome, though.
Red bean popsicles are mildly sweet and ultra-satisfying. They’re the perfect summer treat!
Adding red beans to popsicles might sound odd, but it’s actually very common in China and other Asian countries.
I love the chewy and chunky texture they add to the smooth popsicle.
24. Mango Pudding
Mango pudding is a thick and creamy mousse-like treat flavored with sweet ripe mangoes. That golden sunshine hue is gorgeous, to boot!
I love how this pudding is not overwhelmingly sweet. It’s perfectly light and refreshing, which is exactly what you’ll crave after a heavy meal.
Plus, you can’t go wrong with the combination of cream and mangoes.
These two ingredients complement each other beautifully, yielding one spectacular dessert.
25. Fortune Cookies
Last but not least, we have what is perhaps the most iconic Chinese dessert there is: fortune cookies!
Popular for their hidden prophetic messages, these cookies don’t just offer flavor, but an exciting experience as well.
Sure, they require a bit of effort, but just imagine how much fun it is for family and friends!
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