After the last satisfying article about signature dinners around China we are bringing you the post-dinner meal that everyone loves: dessert and snacks. Chinese desserts are often forgotten, but they are delicious and a perfect way to complete dinner.
To find the English menus for restaurants all over China with these dessert items, search the Spoonhunt APP!
Hangzhou’s signature dessert is appropriately named Lotus Shortbread 杭州荷花酥 Hángzhōu héhuā sū after its shape and color. With layers of crispy, flaky and sweet bread, this dessert can also be served midway through a classic Hangzhou banquet.
The dessert of Cantonese capital Guangzhou is called Ginger Milk Pudding 姜汁撞奶 Jiāng zhī zhuàng nǎi. This is the most famous dessert in most Cantonese cities, including Hong Kong and Macau. Due to the TCM view of ginger, it’s often eaten during cold weather to prevent illness.
Kunming, capital of the Yunnan province in south central China, has a strong cuisine culture, and their signature dessert is Fresh Flower Cake 鲜花饼 xiānhuā bǐng. Representative of the classical periods in Yunnan, this cake’s main ingredient is rose.
The “spicy” province of China has a surprisingly sweet and sour signature dessert to counteract the 麻辣 in Yibin Cold Cake 宜宾凉饼 Yíbīn liáng bǐng. Made from glutinous rice, agar, red bean paste, sesame, and osmanthus. It has a lot of health benefits such as detoxing, reduces swelling, and alleviates swelling.
Tianjin’s signature dessert is called Donkey Rolls 驴打滚 Lǘ dǎgǔn. Rest assured this dessert is not actually made of donkey (although Donkey Meat is delicious), but actually soybean powder with glutinous rice, honey and red bean paste. Also known as rice cakes, these mild and filling desserts are popular among locals.
The capital of China is known for duck, jian bing and this dessert: Candied Fruits on a Stick 冰糖葫芦 Bīng táng hú lu. A popular street snack that has made its way to many other China’s cities, this candied fruit can be hawthorn fruit, strawberry, mango, grapes, etc. Depending on the fruit inside, the hard and sweet candied sheel can contain sweet or sour fruit inside.
Taiwan’s desserts tend to be more well known, especially among expats. The most popular traditional dessert amongst locals in Taiwan is Pineapple Cake 凤梨酥 Fènglí sū. People love this dessert because the south Taiwanese accent of Taiwan makes the word pineapple sound like the Mandarin word for “prosperity comes.”
China’s tropical island off the southern coast is Hainan and their signature dessert is Coconut Rice 椰子饭 Yēzi fàn. Nicknamed “coconut boat” because the shell of the coconut acts as a veseel for the sweet rice, this Hainan treat is usually served to honored guests.
The largest city in China, Shanghai, has a very different kind of signature dessert called Yellow Crab Shell 蟹壳黄 Xiè ké huáng. Also called Sesame cake, this “bun” can be filled with many different ingredients from sugar to scallions, red bean paste and corriander.
This popular street dessert Dragon’s Beard Candy 龙须糖 Lóng xū táng can be found all around China, but it is best known in Anhui. The layered, powdery string candy is filled with peanuts and takes true skill to make properly. Turning a large ball of sugar glue into string isn’t easy, but it is delicious.
The northwestern-most province of China, Xinjiang, has a very traditional Muslim dessert: Walnut Cake 切糕 Qiē gāo. Often sold by Uyghur street vendors, the cake comes in a huge loaf and you request small slices to be cut off for your dessert. The cake is made of corn syrup, raisins, sesame, osmanthus, dates and of course, walnuts.
Tibet’s signature dessert is not a solid food, but rather a tea. Butter Tea 酥油茶 Sūyóuchá. The tea gets its name and sweet taste and smell from cow or sheep’s milk. This traditional Tibetan tea is creamy, smooth and warm.
Wuhan has a very familiar looking dessert for Western travelers and it’s nicknamed a Chinese Donut 面窝 Miàn wō. Unlike the traditional donut, Wuhan’s version is made of rice and soybean powder mixed together. Black sesame is added before it is deep fried to make it crispy.
The ancient southern capital of China, Nanjing, has a famous dessert called Osmanthus Sugar Taro Balls 桂花糖芋苗 Guìhuā táng yù miáo. This dessert is made of sweet taro glutinous rice balls in osmanthus sugar soup. The smell is so sweet, you get drawn to it from the street.
Which Chinese dessert is your favorite? Let us know in the comment below!
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