5 Weirdly Named Chinese Desserts You Should Try

By Bailey Hu, December 7, 2017

1 0

Chinese cuisine may be world-famous, but some dish names just don't translate well (ants climbing up a tree, anyone?). Below we list five desserts that, while in desperate need of rebranding, are nevertheless delicious.

1. 'Double-skin milk' (双皮奶)


This Cantonese steamed dessert tastes kind of like pudding. Done right, the texture is creamy, soft and smooth. Ingredients are kept simple – milk (traditionally from water buffaloes), egg white and sugar – but the process of cooking (i.e., creating the 'two skins') can be surprisingly tricky. Eat it plain or with toppings like red beans, mango or lotus seeds.

2. 'Ginger milk curd' (姜撞奶)


The name literally translates to 'ginger hits milk,' which is a pretty accurate description of how this Cantonese dessert is made. Warm, sweetened milk is poured into a bowl with ginger juice, then covered and left to set for a few minutes. The result is a delicate, milky concoction with a zesty ginger kick. Whatever you do, though, don't stir – the ultra-soft texture might revert back to liquid form.

3. Eight treasure rice (八宝饭)


With ingredients like lard and glutinous rice as well as a fruitcake-like appearance, this dessert can be a little off-putting. But health concerns aside, it's much better than it looks (and sounds). Warm babaofan is sweet, soft, and studded with 'treasures' – tasty dried fruit and nuts. It's also sticky and filling, so we recommend going easy on this after-dinner treat.

4. 'Sugar oil cake' (糖油粑粑)


This Hunanese dessert may not look like much, but it's a tempting snack when made fresh. The recipe is easy: combine glutinous rice flour with water, then pan fry lightly. Add in sugar water to caramelize, and you'll soon have chewy, sweet, golden-brown 'cakes.' The simple treat is served in Hunan restaurants and street food stalls, but it's also a cinch to make at home.

5. Wife cakes (老婆饼)


Also known as sweetheart cakes, this Cantonese dessert is made of candied wintermelon inside a flaky pastry crust. Origins of the name have been lost to time, though more than one story gives credit to a loving couple. Ironically, since lard is involved in their creation, wife cakes probably aren't that great for your heart.

Bonus: 'Condom ice cream' (安全套雪糕)


While trawling the Chinese net in search of desserts, we came across this awkwardly-packaged frozen treat that shocked and alarmed parents back in 2009. Despite appearances, the paopao xueni ('bubble slushie') dessert was not wrapped inside a condom, and even enjoyed some popularity among schoolkids. It seems to have fallen out of production since, sadly – proof that the world just wasn't ready yet.

READ MORE: 4 Chinese Convenience Store Ice Creams You Should Try

[Images via m.bug.cnlenglianjia.comSohu.combaike.so.comzsnews.cn]

more news

The Top 5 Most Festive Chinese New Year Dishes

A look at the top five festive Chinese dishes and their symbolic meanings.

Shanghai Food & Drink Gossip: January 2024

Your monthly serving of new restaurants, bars and tasty gossip tidbits.

Shanghai Restaurant Review: Meta American-Chinese Resto in China, Lucky You

The ultimate meta food inception - a Chinese American restaurant in China where patrons eat an American take on what Canto food is.

How to Order Takeout on China's Ele.me Food Delivery App

We give you a quick guide to one of China’s ‘Big Two’ in the food delivery world.

How to Order Delivery on China's Meituan Food App

You too can have food delivered to your doorstep in China.

Bruce Lee’s Daughter Sues Chinese Fast Food Chain

If you’ve ever walked past a Real Kung Fu fast food joint and thought, ‘Geez, Louise, that logo sure looks a lot like Bruce Lee,’ then you aren’t alone.

China's Latest Viral Food Documentary is All About Breakfast

The new Tencent Video production satisfies our rapid bite-sized content consumption cravings and increased obsession with food.

2018 Food & Drink Awards Nominees: Chinese Cuisine

Vote for your favorites in That's Shanghai's 2018 Food & Drink Awards! Here's a look at our nominees for Shanghai's favorite places to eat Chinese cuisine.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at Thats_Shanghai for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Shanghai With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Shanghai!

Visit the archives