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Eating all the foods: Asian sweets

Published March 21st, 2014

Asia may not be as well known for its confectionery contributions as some other countries, so we’re here to change that. You need something to temper all that spicy and Asian desserts deliver just the right amount of cooling creaminess, smooth consistency and exotic fruity tastes to cleanse the palate. Asia may not bring super-sweet treats to the global sugar-laden lolly buffet, but we reckon you’ll be equally enamoured with the interesting textures and tastes, not to mention the eye-popping colourful appeal, of these delish Asian sweets. Naturally, we at Student HQ sampled a smorgasbord of Far East sweets just for you, and these are our faves.

 

 

Taiwan: Bubble tea

OK, so not really a dessert but enough of us at Student Flights HQ are hooked on this Asian spin on iced tea to omit it from our list. A tea with texture, bubble tea can be milky or plain with a black or green tea base, then flavoured with syrup and with your choice of bubbles (tapioca pearls) or jelly toppings all slurped up in a super-wide straw. Delish!

 

 

Hong Kong: Sesame balls

You’ve probably seen these bad boys at yum cha. Chewy and gooey, the crisp outer shell of the sesame ball hides a smooth red or green bean paste inside. Made of deep-fried glutinous rice dough for that sticky texture, the bean paste interior is earthy with a sweet and starchy texture and taste.

 

 

India: Jalebis

What orange apparition is this? Glowing an unnatural Fanta shade, Indian jalebis fly in the face of understated Asian sweet treats. Deep-fried spirals of subtly spiced dough are liberally doused in gooey, sticky, sugary syrup. It’s crunchy and toothache sweet.

 

 

Indonesia: Pandan chiffon cake

Another colour not readily found in candy or cake, pandanus leaf imparts a green tinge and a fragrant sweet taste kind of like a subtle aniseed-y bubblegum. Like kryptonite, it’s known to make Asian expats weak at the knees. You’ll really just have to try it yourself to discern its unique attributes.

 

 

Philippines: Halo-Halo

Meaning ‘mix-mix’ in Tagalog, this colourful concoction may look like a hot mess but it’s a party in your mouth. Promise. Think shaved ice topped with milk and a sweet mix of beans, fruit, coconut, tapioca or sweet potato and finished with a sprinkle of sugar, crème caramel (leche) flan or ube (purple yam) ice-cream.

 

 

Japan: Mochi

Like soft pillowy clouds, mochi is a sticky rice cake on the outside and gooey paste on the inside. Popular flavours include green tea (matcha), peanut, taro, strawberry and red bean (azuki). Also comes in ice-cream form with a thin layer of mochi covering flavoured ice-cream fillings.

 

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.