“Tong Sui,” which literally translates to “sweet water,” or sweet soup, is a common name for a traditional Chinese dessert in Hong Kong. Eating this dessert after dinner is a long time tradition in Hong Kong, especially since the postwar period when Chinese migrants came to the city and brought along the sweet dishes of their hometowns.
Sweet soup consists of a soup base made of water with sweet syrup, coconut water or sometimes custard and is topped with fruit, sago, sweet potato, chewy rice balls and many other ingredients. The most commonly consumed varieties in Hong Kong are the traditional red bean soup and mango sago. They can be served hot or cold depending on your mood and the weather. But, sweet soups come in a wide variety – you’ll find a new version almost everywhere you go.
Hong Kong has myriad sweet soup restaurants – there’s one on nearly every street. At night, it is common to see locals frequenting a nearby shop with friends or family to enjoy dessert. It can be hard to decide with so many places to choose from and menus full of tempting options. So, we have rounded up some famous places to devour sweet soup in Hong Kong as well as go-to sweet soup choices to get you started.
Where to find the best sweet soup in Hong Kong
Yuen Kee Dessert
Yuen Kee Dessert has been around for over 100 years and is still as popular as ever. Aside from its rich history, the shop is also known for making quality desserts, as they still use the traditional method of stone grinding to make their sweet almond and sesame soup. You can enjoy almost every kind of sweet soup dish at Yuen Kee Dessert while reminiscing about old Hong Kong with friends.
Address: 32 Centre St, Sai Wan
Kai Kai Dessert
This Michelin-listed dessert shop is unmissable if you are looking for the best sweet soup in town. Kai Kai Dessert offers freshly prepared ingredients in their Cantonese-style sweet soup. The shop is not only lauded for its fame among the many celebrities that visit, but it is also a home for its loyal customers showcasing the unity and strong community bonds among Hong Kongers.
Address: 29 Ning Po Street, Jordan, Kowloon
With branches all over the city, Honeymoon Dessert is a go-to place for sweet soups, especially during the summertime. They are well known for their many different mango-flavored desserts. But, this ubiquitous Hong Kong dessert chain offers more than just mango dishes. Here, you will find desserts of all kinds, including traditional Chinese red bean soup and sweet ginger soup, ice cream and even seasonal mooncakes.
Your go-to sweet soup choices
“Leung fun,” or grass jelly, is a common choice for dessert on a hot day. Grass jelly is a plant-based jelly made of the Chinese mesona plant belonging to the mint family. The jelly comes in cubes with a smooth glassy texture. Eating grass jelly plain is usually slightly bitter, so it’s often paired with syrup, milk or condensed milk and topped with fruits, nata de coco or red beans. The bitterness of the grass jelly and the sweetness of the fruits and other add-ons create a nice balance of flavors.
Melt-in-your-mouth tofu pudding is an all-time favorite sweet soup for Hong Kong locals. Originating in China, this soybean curd dessert has been around for a long time and can be prepared in myriad ways. As a popular sweet soup, tofu pudding is usually jazzed up with different toppings like red sugar and ginger syrup or traditional black sesame as well as some rather adventurous toppings like chocolate, fruits or even taro.
Red Bean Soup
Local Hong Kong dessert shops pride themselves on their red bean soup. Red bean soup may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is still one of the most sought-after desserts in the area. Red bean soup has a sandy texture and commonly comes with glutinous rice balls. Due to the cooling effect of this soup, it is a crowd favorite during the summer. Not only is red bean soup a hearty dessert, but it also has nourishing qualities as it is high in protein and fiber.
Mango Pomelo Sago
It is safe to say that mango sago is one of the most well-known sweet soups, and one popular iteration is mango pomelo sago. During peak mango season, this dessert is especially refreshing and hard to resist. Sweet mango in a creamy coconut milk soup base is complemented perfectly with the slight bitterness of pomelo.
Sweet Potato Ginger Sweet Soup
Ginger and sweets? Who could have thought the peppery taste of ginger could work for a dessert? Sweet potato ginger sweet soup is one of those dishes that challenge your palate. The spiciness of the ginger paired with soft sweet potatoes is a lifesaver for sore throats. Another way to enjoy this variation is by replacing sweet potatoes with glutinous rice balls. This dish offers a host of health benefits and is an excellent choice to detoxify the body.
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