What’s the most popular dessert on social media? Lately it’s Ladurée macaroons and or Belgium chocolates with afternoon tea. Best friends gather together, sharing and savoring over fabulous flowers, fine china, and laced table decors.
Here in China, we enjoy the same kind of sweet pleasure with green tea and treats. Although these pastries are not branded and some of the best are the homemade ones, they require no less culinary skill and dedication. They also represent hundreds years of tradition. Some were served for Chinese royals in past dynasties, and some are made only for the celebration of Chinese festivals. Mothers, aunties and grandmothers used to sit together in the kitchen, teaching the young ones about these amazing gastronomic legacies.
Let’s enjoy the visual presentation of these Chinese delicacies.
Water Lily Crisp 荷花酥
This crispy pastry is named for its resemblance to the water lily flowers that lay atop Hangzhou’s West Lake in the spring. You can usually find a rich red bean paste filling in the middle.
Crystal Laurel Flower Cake 桂花糕
Autumn is the best season for this cake. At that time, all the laurel flowers are blooming and their sweet smell can travel for miles. Made with sticky rice and laurel flower and honey, Chinese have celebrated this seasonal treat for over three hundred years. Many ancient poems have described the moment: a sip of aged wine, a few laurel flower cakes under the full moon, accompanied by scholars and friends.
Almond Tofu 杏仁豆腐
Almond tofu looks like the Chinese version of jello, but it’s less sweet and more refreshing. It’s made of almond milk and jelly, topped with flower honey and goji berries. It’s a perfect dessert or snack for the summer time. This dessert is also famous for its nutritional value and skin nourishing qualities.
Victory Cake 定胜糕
In the Song Dynasty, before the beloved military general Han set off for his expedition, villagers would gather and make this cake with the character “Victory for Sure” printed on the cake. It’s made of the best glutinous rice and cherry blossoms, steamed until it’s puffy and soft.
It doesn’t sound that delicious but it’s made of the essence of cilantro and spices from Guangdong. It’s known to be good for your appetite and organs. It’s a great vegan option.
Rose Honey Sweet Potato 蜜汁玫瑰芋头
You can only find this in Yunnan because the best rose sugar can only be found there. Traditionally, Yunnan folks will make the ingredients with rose petals and store them for a long time before using. The longer it has been sealed, the better it tastes. That’s the soul of this dish.
New Year Cakes 红年糕
During the Chinese New Year, Chinese will prepare the New Year cakes as the symbol of luck and happiness. It tastes like the hawthorn berry, and has a sticky, chewy texture with a hint of sweetness. The Chinese name is pronounced as “Nian Gao,” and the last sound is the synonym of the word “high” or “higher.” Therefore this dessert means the best wishes of improvement and development for the upcoming year. With this, we wish you a wonderful 2015!