Chinese Desserts - History of Chinese Sweet Food

Incredible variety of foods and drinks that were invented by Chinese cooks and molded by more than 3 thousand years of fashion changes, access to trading routes and accessibility of local food ingredients have made Chinese cuisine into one of the most diverse in the entire world. In addition to thousands of distinctive dishes and wide variety of liquid beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), China managed to build large assortment of desserts that can be made both from raw ingredients such as fruits and more complicated recipes that sometimes entail cooking that can last several days or even weeks.

Picture Of Spring Roll Chinese Desert

Chinese desserts are of course sweet, but usually with less sugar content than deserts from the west. They also have larger percentage of natural fruit ingredients, and can be served not only after meals and with tea, but also during meals as essential part of Chinese Ying and Yang tradition of eating “balanced” meals. Traditionally, Chinese desserts are separated in several main categories, such as bakery products, confectionary foods (that include baked wheat products such as Moon Cakes), candies, sweets, rice-based snacks, dessert syrups, desert custards, jellies, and ice creams that can be eaten in several forms.

Traditional Chinese desserts have played not only important role in defying Chinese diet, but also diets of many Asian countries who maintained cultural and trading connection with China, making Chinese desserts even more influential and varied.

Types of Chinese desserts:

Picture Of Chinese Pineapple Sesame Pastries
  • Bing – Baked pastries made from wheat flour. Many types of smaller deserts are from this type, but also some of the larger ones such as Moon, Sun and Wife cake.
  • Candies –Made from malt sugar, cane sugar and honey, mixed with fruits, nuts and syrups.
  • Gio – Popular type of snacks that are based on rice, usually steamed and made from both normal and glutinous rice.
  • Ice Creams –Eaten as both traditional ice cream and as “shaved” ice cream desserts.
  • Jellies – Traditionally set with agar and mixed with countless types of flavorings (fruits, nuts, and other ingredients). Gelatin based jellies are present, but only in recently popularized recipes.
  • Soups –Desert soups from China are sweet, sometimes hot and sometimes cold. Some are specifically made to include medicinal herbs in their recipe.
Picture Of Chinese Herbal Pudding
Picture Of Chinese Culinary Deserts Physalis