Friday, June 01, 2007

Chinese People Eat Desserts

Contrary to popular perception, Chinese people do eat desserts. Cakes and other sweet baked goods that fall into the "dessert" category are usually reserved for western cultures (except for western-style Chinese bakeries), but people who live in Taiwan are all very used to having various cold soupy desserts. This may look like black coffee, but it is in fact melted shian tsao. Usually, you eat shian tsao in little black jello-like cubes in a sweet syrup. The cubes are gelatinous, and when heated, turn into what looks like heavy slime-of-death but taste like heaven. Weird, but not to me or anybody familiar with Taiwanese night markets.Here's a closer look at the consistency of shao shian tsao (literally: burnt shian tsao). You can see how it is sort of slimy, between solid and liquid. It is delicious but hot. I'm so not kidding.
Another soupy dessert that people enjoy is doe hua. Doe hua is like the sweeter, more delicate cousin of silken tofu, reserved for desserts. One usually only eats it with sweet ginger soup with peanuts.
This bowl has the typical ingredients yi ren (or Job's Tears), doe hua, peanuts, and gingery sweet soup.

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