China is probably not well known for its desserts, but you can still find sweets! Chinese desserts are usually lighter than Western desserts and feature a lot of beans and pudding-like cakes. Let us take a look at the 5 traditional sweets that you must try eat Beijing!
1. Tanghulu (Candied haw, or, the Chinese toffee apple)
This is sort of like the Chinese toffee apple and is extremely popular in Beijing. What is it though?! It’s actually haw berries on a skewer, coated with dried liquid sugar. It doesn’t need to be haw berries; you can also find candied kiwi or grapes, for instance!
If you want to take some home, you can also buy packaged tanghulu around Beijing and you will definitely find it at the airport souvenir shops.
2. Lu da gun (rolling donkeys)
Rolling donkeys are a type of cake in Beijing and actually has nothing to do with donkeys! Glutinous rice rolls are rolled in soybean flour and are also usually filled with red bean paste. They are quite sticky and chewy and barely sweet. Apparently, the name comes from when you roll it in soy bean flour, it looks like a donkey rolling on the ground and making the dust go everywhere.
3. Wandouhuang (Sweet pea cake)
The sweet pea cake is the yellow block in the feature image of this post! Sweet pea cake was one upon a time the emperor’s snack during the Qing dynasty. Now, it’s one of the most popular Beijing traditional sweets! Is it really a cake in texture? To me it tastes more like a pudding - the texture is fine and smooth and completely melts in your mouth when you eat it.
4. Baked pastries such as honey dew cake and red bean pastry
There’s an Old Beijing bakery called Daoxiangcun which Dan and I visited quite often. Daoxiangcun opened its first store in Qianmen in 1895 and since then it’s become a super popular and a staple in Beijing for its sweets and traditional desserts. Here you’ll be able to find a HUGE range of pastries and cakes, ranging from honey cakes, almond cookies to honey dew cake, red bean pastries and ox tongue pastries.
Daoxiangcun can be found at a lot of places in Beijing, the most famous being the flagship store on Qianmen Street.
5. Ludou gao (Mung bean cake)
The mung bean cake is extremely popular in summer in Beijing. It’s where mung bean powder is mixed with water to form a dough and then steamed. The Beijing variety is made without oil!