20 Best Desserts You Must Try Out in Shanghai

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Desserts You Must Try Out in Shanghai


In Shanghai, dessert aficionados are treated to a diverse array of sweet delicacies that embody the city’s rich culinary heritage. From traditional Chinese sweets to modern interpretations, Shanghai’s dessert scene offers something for every palate. Indulge in classics like sweet red bean paste-filled buns (dou sha bao) and delicate mooncakes, or savor innovative creations like creamy egg tarts and flaky scallion pancakes with sweet fillings. Embark on a delectable journey through Shanghai’s bustling streets and discover the irresistible flavors that define its dessert culture.

20 Best Desserts You Must Try Out in Shanghai

1. Xiaolongbao (Soup Dumplings)

While not traditionally considered a dessert, these iconic Shanghainese dumplings often feature a savory pork filling with a burst of flavorful broth inside. A culinary sensation not to be missed.

2. Mooncakes

Particularly popular during the Mid-Autumn Festival, mooncakes come in various flavors and fillings such as lotus seed paste, red bean paste, and salted egg yolk. They represent a cherished tradition and are often exchanged as gifts.

3. Sesame Pancakes (Jianbing)

Although commonly enjoyed as a breakfast snack, sesame pancakes are a delightful treat any time of day. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, they’re often filled with sweet or savory ingredients like red bean paste or sesame seeds.

4. Red Bean Soup (Hong Dou Tang)

A traditional Chinese dessert made from red beans cooked into a sweet soup. Served warm or cold, it’s a comforting and nourishing treat enjoyed by locals for its simplicity and subtle sweetness.

5. Glutinous Rice Balls (Tangyuan)

Often served during the Lantern Festival and other festive occasions, tangyuan are chewy glutinous rice balls filled with sweet fillings like black sesame paste, red bean paste, or peanuts. They symbolize togetherness and harmony.

6. Shanghai-Style Egg Tarts

A variation of the classic Portuguese egg tart, Shanghai-style egg tarts feature a flaky pastry crust filled with a creamy, custardy filling. They are often enjoyed as a dessert or snack with a cup of tea.

7. Osmanthus Rice Cake (Gui Hua Gao)

A fragrant and delicate dessert made from glutinous rice flour and infused with osmanthus flowers. This floral-flavored cake is often enjoyed during the Mid-Autumn Festival and other special occasions.

8. Sweet Fermented Rice Soup (Jiuniang)

A traditional dessert made from fermented glutinous rice and sweet osmanthus syrup. It has a slightly tangy flavor and a pleasantly chewy texture, making it a popular choice during celebrations and festivals.

9. Crystal Sugar Dumplings (Bingtang Hulu)

A colorful and whimsical treat featuring skewered fruits or candies coated in a crunchy layer of caramelized sugar. Bingtang hulu offers a delightful combination of sweetness and crunchiness, perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth.

10. Shaved Ice (Bao Bing)

A refreshing dessert consisting of finely shaved ice topped with various sweet toppings such as fresh fruit, red bean paste, grass jelly, and condensed milk. Bao bing is a perfect way to beat the heat during Shanghai’s hot summers.

11. Taro Balls (Yu Tou Qiu)

Soft and chewy taro balls served in a sweet syrup made from rock sugar. This comforting dessert is enjoyed both hot and cold, offering a delightful combination of flavors and textures.

12. Soy Milk Pudding (Dou Jiang Dou Fu Hua)

Silky-smooth tofu pudding served with sweet syrup or ginger-infused sugar water. This creamy and nourishing dessert is a popular choice for breakfast or as a light afternoon treat.

13. Hawthorn Candy (Shanzha Tang)

Tangy and sweet candies made from hawthorn fruit paste and sugar. These traditional treats are often enjoyed during the Lunar New Year festivities and symbolize good luck and prosperity.

14. Lotus Seed Soup (Lian Zi Tang)

A soothing dessert soup made from lotus seeds, rock sugar, and sometimes dried red dates. It’s believed to have nourishing properties and is enjoyed for its delicate flavor and comforting warmth.

15. Mango Pomelo Sago (Xiang Bin Yang Zhi Gao)

A refreshing dessert featuring ripe mango, chewy sago pearls, and citrusy pomelo segments mixed with sweet coconut milk. It’s a popular choice during the summer months for its tropical flavors and cooling properties.

16. Sesame Balls (Jian Dui)

Crispy and chewy fried balls made from glutinous rice flour and filled with sweet black sesame paste. These golden brown treats are a favorite at dim sum restaurants and street food stalls.

17. White Rabbit Candy Milkshake

A modern twist on a nostalgic childhood treat, this milkshake combines creamy milk with crushed White Rabbit candies, resulting in a sweet and nostalgic beverage loved by both locals and visitors.

18. Purple Sweet Potato Cake (Zi Shu Gao)

A soft and subtly sweet cake made from mashed purple sweet potatoes, glutinous rice flour, and sugar. It’s often steamed and served as a dessert or snack.

19. Shanghai-style Wontons in Sweet Sauce (Wonton in Xianmi)

A unique dessert featuring small wontons filled with sweet black sesame paste and drizzled with a sweet syrup made from brown sugar and soy sauce. It offers a delightful contrast of flavors and textures.

20. Candied Hawthorn on a Stick (Bingtanghulu)

Tangy hawthorn fruit coated in a crunchy layer of caramelized sugar and served on skewers. Bingtanghulu is a beloved street food snack enjoyed by people of all ages.

These delectable desserts showcase the diverse flavors and culinary traditions of Shanghai, inviting you to indulge in a sweet symphony of tastes and textures that capture the essence of this vibrant city.

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