Sweet Soup

糖水, pronounced Tong Sui, literally translates to “sugar water” in English. It is classified into two main types. Northern China ‘s variation is more viscous (hence why it is commonly referred to as Sweet Soup), while Southern China’s take on it is more watery (hence why it is known as Sweet Water). The dessert commonly contains toppings such as mango, red beans, glutinous rice balls, taro, grass jelly, tapioca, hard boiled eggs, bean curd, sweet potato, etc. Therefore it is more suitable to ask someone if they’d like to eat sweet soup rather than drink sweet soup.

More traditional types of the dessert include tangyuan (glutinous rice balls), red bean soup/paste, mung bean soup, tofu pudding, steamed egg custard, sweet potato soup, peanut paste soup, and sweet almond soup.


Photos from left to right: red bean soup with glutinous rice balls, peanut paste soup, sweet potato soup. 

Some modern and more trendy variations include sago(tapioca), papaya with snow ear fungus, black glutinous rice, and my personal favorite: mango pomelo sago !!!


Photos from left to right: sago with red beans, papaya with snow ear fungus, mango pomelo sago.

Fun fact: There is a special type of sweet soup called lotus seed and lily  that is a traditional dessert eaten by the bride and groom before or during their wedding day that symbolizes a long happy marriage and hopes of having children soon.


Photos from left to right: Lotus seed and lily sweet soup, traditional tea ceremony during a Chinese wedding.

I usually don’t make much Asian desserts at home because I must admit that my grandma is the pro when it comes to Chinese food. I have made tangyuan/glutinous rice balls filled with red bean paste in junior high and since then I haven’t really made much else. Last night I decided to try making a type of sweet soup with a combination of some of my favorite ingredients: tapioca and glutinous black rice !


Tapioca with Glutinous Black Rice and Taro

Makes 4 servings.


  • 200g Taro
  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • 150g Uncooked Tapioca
  • 100g Black Glutinous Rice
  • 1000g Water
  • 20g Rock Sugar (can add more to taste)



  1. Before starting the recipe, soak glutinous rice in water for 2-3 hours.
  2. Peel and small/medium dice the taro. Steam for about 15-20 minutes until soft. Reserve.
  3. Boil a pot of water and pour in tapioca. Cook 8-10 minutes. Stir often. When cooked pour through a strainer and run under cold water for 1 minute.
  4. Strain the glutinous rice from the water and boil in 1000g water for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add rock sugar to taste. Depending on the liquid remaining in the pot, save about half the liquid.
  5. Combine the taro, coconut milk, tapioca, and black glutinous rice to taste. Dessert can be eaten hot or chilled.


Recipe adapted from http://www.daydaycook.com/recipe/2/details/28361/index.html

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