If it’s date night, breakup night, or just Tuesday night, whatever the reason, there’s always a good excuse for dessert. Especially when it comes to these, Sydney’s very best Asian desserts. From the wildly modern to the time-honoured and traditional, we’ve got something for everyone.
Mmmmmatcha @ Koi Dessert Bar
Chippendale & Ryde
There was never any doubt that a creation from everyone’s favourite dessert boy, Reynold Poernomo, was going to end up on this list one way or another—the only question was which. We’ve gone with his Mmmmmatcha, no @-ing us if you’re some matcha-hating weirdo. Matcha cremeux, black sesame sponge, tuile and freeze dried mandarin, it’s, uh, pretty damn good.
Ice Stream Ramen From Dessert Kitchen
If you’re reading this list in the hope that we’ll tell you where to go and get your Instagram on, you’re in luck. It’s here. It’s blown up New York, it’s blown up Melbourne, and now it’s busy blowing up Sydney. The name is a bit misleading to be fair, the ‘noodles’ are made with a Japanese seaweed product called kanten—think agar agar and you’ll be close. The noodles sit in a soup of condensed milk, crushed ice, and rice balls. Mango and honeydew melon join the noodles before the entire bowl is topped up with a white peach sauce. It’s sweet without being sickly, and makes for some crazy fun photos.
Taro Snow Flakes By LNC Dessert House
Close to the prettiest dessert on the list, the taro snowflakes at LNC Dessert House are super simple and super delicious. The shaved ice is absolute magic. Super super fine, it has an almost chewy, gummy, mouth feel—a little like Turkish dondurma, only without the mastic. Finished off with gelatinous rice balls, its just yum.
Emperor Puffs @ Emperor’s Garden Cakes And Bakery
If you’ve got a mate who’s new to town, bring them here. If you’re walking through the city, bring yourself here. Emperor’s Garden has been churning out their amazing Emperor Puffs for the last I don’t even know how long, turning their production line into a well-oiled machine. Even if the puffs were terrible it’d be worth going just to see them getting made, but fortunately they’re amazing—and cheap as chips. Light, airy, sweet, delicate, moreish; however you want to describe them, just make sure you get more than you think you need. Don’t disappoint your future self; you’re always going to want just one more.
Japanese Soufflé Pancakes At Harajuku Gyoza
The legends over at Harajuku Gyoza are turning all your dessert dreams into a delicious reality, serving fluffy stacks of spongey soufflé-style pancakes paired with Nutella sauce (we know), fresh banana and topped off with a big ol’ dollop of cream and maple syrup. Not to mention the crispy parcels of Nutella gyoza goodness or the Matcha raindrop jelly cake with pistachio crumble and Matcha sauce (FYI it’s as gorge as it is tasty). Wrap your laughing gear around allllll of the sweets because one just won’t do.
Coconut Sago From China Lane
Sago is a bit hit or miss for some people, but this is the place for the true believers. Deliciously plump, loaded up with sticky black rice, and topped with juicy, juicy mangoes, the sago is soft and smooth. A great modern take on a traditional classic, it might be a bit too sweet for some—but that’s half the point.
Japanese Cheesecake By Uncle Tetsu’s
These unassuming cheesecakes took Sydney by storm when they arrived (pretty much this time last year) and guess what, they’re still holding up now. If you haven’t had it yet, and aren’t totally sure what to expect, it’s pretty much the complete opposite of cheesecake as you know it. Instead of the bang of, well, everything, it’s all very understated, you might even say reserved. It’s light and airy, with barely a hint of sweetness, and only traces of an ice cream flavour. A perfect example of knowing how to hold back, and that sometimes less is more #deep.
Matcha Anmitsu @ Chanoma Cafe
At Chanoma Cafe, where matcha is everywhere and everything, picking one dessert really feels a bit like cheating, although we will say that it’s hard to go past the matcha anmitsu. Anmitsu is a traditional Japanese dessert made up of agar agar jelly, all kinds of fruit, azuki bean paste, and delicious little mochi. If that all sounds like a bit much, give the soft serves a whirl, they’re silky smooth and pack a fantastic whack of matcha flavour.
Gelato Filled Bun From Jarern Chai Boon Cafe
Drop everything; get down to Jarern Chai Boon now. Their gelato filled buns are some of the most ridiculous, most fun things we’ve seen in ages. Take your pick of gelato: cashew butter; single origin coffee; guava & chilli salt sorbet; banana & chocolate; and fresh coconut, before finishing it off with your choice of salted caramel, pandan custard, or kakawa dark chocolate. It’s might be made for the Instagram era, but it’s so, so, worth it. Glorious, silly, sweet AF fun.
Why not channel your sugar rush into a full performance at one of Sydney's best karaoke bars.
Image credit: Harajuku Gyoza