7 MUST TRY Desserts in APAC
Embarking on a culinary journey through the vast and diverse region of Asia-Pacific (APAC) is a sensory delight. From spicy curries to delicate dim sums, this part of the world offers an array of flavors that can tantalize any palate. However, no meal is truly complete without a sweet ending. Join me as we explore seven must-try desserts from APAC, each one a testament to the rich tapestry of cultures and traditions that grace this remarkable region.
Cendol – Malaysia:
In the sultry heat of Malaysia, where the air is thick with the scent of tropical blooms, one finds solace in the cool, silky embrace of Cendol. Whether you eat it on the spot, or with a surprise delivery in KL, this dessert is a symphony of textures and tastes, blending finely shaved ice, vibrant green rice flour jelly strips (cendol), sweet red beans, and palm sugar syrup with a generous pour of creamy coconut milk. The result is a harmonious medley of sweet, nutty, and refreshingly cool notes that dance on the palate. It’s a dessert that encapsulates the essence of Malaysia – diverse, vibrant, and utterly delicious. Each spoonful is a refreshing sip of the tropical paradise that is this enchanting country.
Matcha Tiramisu – Japan:
As the land of the rising sun, Japan has gifted the world with many culinary treasures, and the Matcha Tiramisu is a jewel in its crown. This dessert marries the velvety richness of traditional Italian Tiramisu with the gentle bitterness of powdered green tea. The result is a sublime, harmonious dance of flavours that linger on the tongue. The vibrant green hue is a testament to the quality of the matcha, and every bite is an experience that transports you to the serene gardens of Kyoto.
Durian Sticky Rice – Thailand:
Thailand is renowned for its vibrant street food culture, and amidst the bustle, the Durian Sticky Rice stands out as a tantalizing treasure. While the strong scent of durian may require some getting used to, once you overcome it, you’ll be met with a velvety, custard-like fruit that harmonizes seamlessly with the sweet, coconut-infused rice. This combination of textures and tastes is bound to leave a lasting impression on your culinary recollections.
Mooncakes – China:
Steeped in centuries-old traditions, Mooncakes are an integral part of the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations in China. These delicate pastries are filled with a medley of ingredients, from lotus seed paste to sweet bean paste, with a golden egg yolk nestled at their heart. The combination of flaky crust and luscious fillings is a testament to the skill and artistry of Chinese pastry chefs. Each bite is a moment of quiet contemplation, a taste of history, and a connection to a culture rich in symbolism.
Halo-Halo – Philippines:
From the tropical archipelago of the Philippines comes the vibrant and eclectic Halo-Halo. This dessert is a sensory explosion, featuring a colourful medley of shaved ice, tropical fruits, sweet potato, and various jellies, all crowned with a scoop of velvety purple yam ice cream. Perfect for any occasion or as a surprise gift in Manila – it’s a joyful celebration of contrasts – hot and cold, creamy and crunchy, sweet and mildly savoury. Every spoonful is an adventure, a taste of the tropical paradise that is the Philippines.
Mango Sticky Rice – Thailand:
Returning to Thailand, we encounter yet another masterpiece, the Mango Sticky Rice. This dessert is a testament to the sublime simplicity of Thai cuisine. Sweet, ripe mango slices are elegantly arranged atop a bed of glutinous rice, drenched in a fragrant coconut milk sauce, and garnished with toasted mung beans for a delightful crunch. It’s a marriage of humble ingredients that results in a dish of unparalleled indulgence, leaving you with a warm, satisfied glow.
Black Sesame Dumplings – China:
China graces our list once more with the exquisite Black Sesame Dumplings. These petite parcels of joy are made from glutinous rice flour and filled with a luscious black sesame paste. Boiled until tender, they’re then rolled in a fragrant coating of ground peanuts. The interplay of textures and flavours is nothing short of magical. With each bite, you’ll find yourself transported to a quiet courtyard in ancient China, savouring a time-honoured delicacy.
These seven desserts from APAC are not just sweet treats; they are windows into the heart and soul of a region rich in history, culture, and culinary artistry. Each bite is a voyage, a passage through time and tradition, inviting you to savor the essence of Asia-Pacific. So, as you set forth on your own gastronomic adventure, remember to leave room for these must-try desserts. They are the sweet, final notes of a symphony that celebrates the incredible diversity and unity of this extraordinary part of the world.