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Guide to Asian Desserts

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Sweets are a universal language…it’s true. While some have an extreme sweet tooth, others love the enjoyment of digging into a sweet treat. While there are many ethnic desserts all over the world, which one do we pick to enjoy to tonight’s dinner?

How about some desserts from Asia? From mooncakes to Asian sweet bread, there is a myriad of desserts to choose from.

Here’s a guide to some typical Asian sweets:

Traditional Mooncakes

Mooncakes are traditional Chinese food during the mid-autumn festival. Typically, mooncakes are round or rectangular shaped with an elaborate design on the top. The filling of the mooncake can be a rich and thick red bean or lotus seed paste. There are cakes that have just the filling but others have one or even two salted duck eggs in the middle. The crust is relatively thin and covers the entire cake.

Mooncakes are rich and sweet, perfect with a cup of tea.

Pineapple Buns

The name “Pineapple Buns” is actually deceiving because there is actually no pineapple in the buns. The name is derived from the crust, which is scored in a fashion that is similar to the outside of a pineapple. This dessert is definitely customary in Hong Kong bakeries. The structure of the bun is that there is a fluffy, soft bread-like layer that makes up the “bun” part. On top of that layer is a thin layer of crust which is crunchy and crumbly.

Pineapple buns are not too sweet and has a perfect fit for fluffiness and crunchiness.

Red Bean Soup

Red Bean Soup

This dessert is a very popular dish in Asian restaurants. I had recently visited a couple of Asian restaurants and almost all of them served this dessert for the final course. Read bean paste and lotus seeds are cooked with rock sugar to make a thinner kind of porridge. Small tapioca pearls are also added to the “soup” as well.

Red bean and glutinous rice soup is a nice warm dessert to end a hearty meal.

Hong Kong Style Egg Waffle

The Hong Kong style egg waffle is typical street food in Hong Kong. It looks like a golden-brown honeycomb and breaks off piece by piece. It has a strong cake aroma. The outside is crunchy contrasting with the soft inside.

The batter of this egg waffle is very simple, but the experience of having this dessert on the go make this dessert a staple.

Asian Sweet Bread

Asian Sweet Bread

I’m sure everyone has experienced walking past a warm bakery with delicious smells wafting onto the sidewalk.  A popular item in Asian bakeries is Asian sweet bread. This bread is very distinct from any other kind of bread. Some distinguishing features are its shiny golden colored crust and round, smooth shape. The inside of this bread is incredibly soft and light.

Asian sweet bread is not very sweet, but the texture and taste makes it one to remember.

There are plenty more Asian desserts to cover! This is only part one of the series “Guide to Asian Desserts.” Look out for the second installment soon! Egg tarts and glutinous rice balls to be included.

Happy eating!

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