Discovering Chinese sweet soups, between tradition and modernity – Italian Cuisine

A popular Chinese food trend that never goes out of style is traditional sweet soups, from the well-known red bean soup to those with exotic ingredients such as lotus seeds and taro

Can a soup be a dessert? The answer is yes, and the proof is the tong sui, literally "sugar water", or one Chinese sweet soup of Cantonese origin based on water or coconut milk. As with many Chinese dishes, the tong sui recipe has been handed down for generations and sometimes revisited in a modern way, so much so that it has become a popular food trend among tourists and also exported abroad. Although the most famous is azuki red bean, a dish often associated with the Chinese New Year holiday, they do exist many variations of more or less sweet soups. Let's find out what are the main characteristics and the most popular and popular recipes.

Tong sui: from traditional food to food trend loved by young people

There Cantonese sweet soup was born in the post-war period in the provinces of Guangzhou and Shanghai, before reaching Hong Kong. It is here that in the 80's and 90's the first tong sui and che shops were born the original recipe gradually underwent the influence of Western cuisine. Just like the even better known Taiwanese bubble tea drink, Chinese sweet soup has also ended up becoming, in modern times, a widespread street food customizable with different toppings, such as fruit and tapioca balls, and available in an extraordinary and creative variety of flavors and colors. There is, of course, no shortage too specialized shops whose cooks faithfully reproduce and serve the recipes of their ancestors, paying the utmost attention to cooking times and methods, the balance of flavors and the selection of quality ingredients.

A sweet soup for all tastes and all ages

This dessert, looking similar to a soup, it has a more or less thick creamy consistency and is generally served at the end of a meal, in hot or cold version according to the seasons. Among the most famous sweet soups we find, as we have seen, that with azuki beans, prepared with dried lotus seeds, orange or mandarin peel and cane sugar, but also that based on black sesame, the Do you ever know lou, or a sort of cream-colored pudding prepared with sago starch or, alternatively, tapioca pearls, water, coconut milk and evaporated milk. Then there is no shortage of soups anymore sweet and delicate, including one made with sweet almonds, sweet potatoes or taro; those more exotic based on tropical fruit (for example mango and pomelo), red dates or peach gum; those flavored with spices (for example ginger or cumin) or local aromatic herbs and, finally, those that have inside them ingredients salty for us westerners somewhat bizarre, such as turtle meat or dried frogs.
In short, there really is something for all tastes and food preferences, with inevitable additions of superfood ingredients that can range from goji berries to gingko biloba.

Photo: Chinese sweet soup with dumpling_900_Pxfuel.jpg
Photo: Chinese sweet soup with pomelo and mango_900_Kyle Lam Flickr.jpg

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