• An array of classic Hong Kong desserts (Instagram/pandali7788)Source: Instagram/pandali7788
Forget the Michelin-starred meals in Hong Kong! For us, it's all about the dessert platter afterwards that's the most important.
Tammi Kwok

5 Jun 2018 - 12:15 PM  UPDATED 15 Jan 2019 - 11:22 AM

1. Milk pudding (雙皮奶)

Soft silky puddings are prized in Cantonese cuisine, and milk puddings have acquired quite a fan base in Hong Kong! Set with egg whites, these bowls of snowy-white custards can be had plain, or flavoured lightly with ginger syrup. 

Condensed milk, lemon and gingernut puddings

The lemon cuts the intense sweetness of the condensed milk perfectly and the crushed biscuits on top give a sort of upside-down-cheesecake effect.

Muhalbiyah with rosewater

There was a food stand close to my childhood home that sold nothing but muhalbiyah, or milk pudding. We kids loved the sugar rush we’d get from the cheap and tacky syrup with its artificial colouring, while the adults had a version made with grenadine syrup. 

2. Red bean soup (紅豆沙)

If you're a fan of the azuki bean desserts, then you'll love red bean soup. Literally translating to "red bean sand", red bean is basically cooked in water and sugar until it breaks down into a thick, lava-like mush. Variations are also commonly available - pumpkin, lotus seeds and ginkgo can be added for a more satisfying dessert. 

Matcha and red bean chocolate biscuit

Channelling those Tim Tam vibes! Check out these incredibly moreish (and adorable) biscuits that are a matcha made in heaven! #BringBackTheClassics

Green tea dorayaki pancakes

Dorayaki makes a tasty teatime cake rather than after-dinner dessert. However, simply adding matcha to the cake batter – and serving with cream – gives you a smarter-looking dish more appropriate to a dessert course. I’ve provided a recipe for the adzuki bean paste, but you can purchase tinned cooked red bean paste from Japanese or Asian supermarkets.

Rice with red bean paste (donkey rolling on the ground)

This Chinese snack of red bean paste rolled in glutinous rice is traditionally scattered with soy bean flour which is how the dish got its name – it’s said to look like a donkey rolling on the ground, raising dust.

3. Black sesame soup (芝麻糊)

Have we mentioned that we really like soups? Black sesame is also ground and cooked into a thick paste, and this rich, black bowl can be had at any time from breakfast to a little after-dinner somethin'-somethin'. If you're a black sesame super-fan, you'll probably be able to finish the bowl on your own, or you could also order this mixed with the milder almond paste dessert, for a little yin-yang deliciousness! 

Hong Kong Day Dessert
Shop 8, 405-411 Sussex St, (Enter from, Little Hay St, Sydney NSW 2000

Black sesame cream puff

Like a giant profiterole, topped with a streusel-like mixture that adds sweetness and crunch.

Black sesame pancakes

Think delicious black sesame paste stirred through fluffy pancake batter. Umm, yum! Or in the words of Natsuko Kuwahara's dog Kipple: “Geez, cutlery. How I long for fingers.”

Black sesame chocolate cake

This is my favourite cake ever, ever, ever. Black sesame seeds are the bomb. In Ayurveda, we use them to warm and settle nervous system energy.

4. Egg tarts (蛋撻)

You didn't think we'd talk about sweets from Hong Kong without mentioning egg tarts, did you? Whether you love the ones with puff pastry, shortcrust pastry, or the Portuguese versions that are popular in Macau, there's no denying that a box of these marigold-yellow tarts is a must-eat when in Hong Kong! 

Dan tat (egg tarts)

Considered to be a legacy of the Portuguese and British, these ubiquitous Cantonese custard tarts have been around since the 1940s.

Egg tart

It will come as no surprise that silky, smooth custard-y tarts reign supreme in Hong Kong. How could they not!

Egg tarts

These tarts feature a very soft, light custard and a delicate, crumbly pastry that melts in your mouth. You will need a 12-hole (⅓-cup capacity) muffin pan for this recipe.

5. Sweet silken tofu (豆腐花)

There's no better argument for the versatility of tofu than having it for both your main and your dessert. This tofu is usually served from large steaming barrels and topped with fragrant ginger syrup. 

Silken tofu with ginger syrup (tahwa)

Tofu really has a sensational sweet side as Luke Nguyen shares on of his all-time favourite desserts.

Silken tofu with oolong tea

Inspired by the flavours of different teas, Varuni uses oolong tea to make tofu from scratch. The fragrance of the tea helps to create a balance of flavours created in her tea inspired bento box. Using local gin and dill with fresh oysters from Tasmania, this is a great recipe using some of Tasmania’s best produce.

6. Glutinous rice balls (湯圓)

Traditionally served at a family table to signify togetherness and union, these chewy little dumplings come plain (and in cute colours like pastel pink and green), or filled with flavours like black sesame, peanut, salted egg yolk, and chocolate! 

Peanut butter sticky rice balls in green tea

Each ball is a mouthful of complimenting textures and flavours – chewy and runny, sweet and slightly salty, intensely nutty and rich – balanced with the subtle bitterness and fragrance from lightly honey-sweetened green tea.

Tea-infused sticky sesame dumplings

Tea hasn't always been used for drinking. It's been used as medicine, money and as for food. In this recipe Luke Nguyen uses his fresh green tea leaves to infuse his sweet sesame dumplings.

7. Mango pudding with sago and pomelo (楊枝甘露)

At yum cha, the typical 'safe' dessert to order for a child would be the mango pudding. Creamy pudding set in a cup or glass would often be topped with a drizzle of evaporated milk. This variation brings the classic dessert to a whole new grown-up level: sago pearls and a fresh citrus hit of pomelo add another level of flavour to this summer classic. 

The Dessert Kitchen
Shop1/78 Harbour St, Haymarket NSW 2000

Mango sago

Based on the classic Cantonese mango sago pudding, this is a fine dessert. In this variation, I've paired mango with coconut cream and milk-soaked sago, plus a pinch of salt. Served cold, it is a light and gentle end to a meal.  

Mango pudding

Every single Cantonese restaurant in the world has mango pudding on the menu. If white people order deep-fried ice cream, then Asians order mango pudding. For Mr Wong, I wanted to give this classic more texture and put my own stamp on it. I added tapioca, those mouth-popping balls that you eat with frozen yoghurt, fresh pomelo and mango, as well as passionfruit granita to accentuate the tropical fruit vibe.

Luke Nguyen's Food Trail explores some Hong Kong-style tea and treats. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more.

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