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Green tea soft serve Chanoma
Photograph: City Foodsters

The best Asian desserts in Sydney

Beat the heat and treat your sweet tooth with these decadent desserts

Written by
Melody Reynauld
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Take your stomach on tour of the best Taiwanese, Japanese, Thai and Chinese desserts in Sydney, from sticky, two-bite rice cakes to elaborate waffle sundaes.

Want more sugar-fuelled goodness? Check out are guide to the best sweet treats in Sydney.

On a budget? Work your way through our list of the 50 best cheap eats in Sydney.

RECOMMENDED: The 50 best restaurants in Sydney.

The best Asian desserts in Sydney

  • Restaurants
  • Sydney

Try the: Malaysian kuih

Kuih (pronounced ‘kway’) originates from Malaysia – it’s an umbrella term for snacks made out of glutinous rice. You can find them at Alice’s Makan, a cracking Malaysian cheap eat hidden in the food court opposite the KFC at Town Hall Station, but they’re usually all gone by 4pm, so order them with your char kway teow at lunch. The coconut and pandan kuih lapis (literally ‘layered cake’) is rainbow-like with its stripes of pink, green and white that alternate between the coconut and pandan flavours that are a staple in Malaysian cuisine. Firmer than jelly but not as chewy as mochi, it delivers different types of sweet in one bite before it all melts together.

  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Sydney

Order the: Thai mango and sticky rice

Tawandang is a super popular Thai-German brewery in Thailand. In Bangkok, the location hosts nightly singing and dancing performances. The Sydney location retains that exciting atmosphere even without the shows, with loud background music and colourful décor. They put nearly half a fresh mango on sticky rice dressed in coconut milk so you get that see-saw effect between sweet and salty, cold and hot, and soft and firm.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Surry Hills

Order the: Barfi

This square sweets doesn’t get as much attention as other Indian desserts like kulfi and jalebi (thanks, Lion) but it’s the one thing you’re sure to find at any Indian restaurant. Little squares of hardened condensed milk come sprinkled with metallic leaf called vark. Barfi comes plain or flavoured with almonds, pistachios, peanuts, coconut and rose water. The plain barfi at Jaipur Sweets is cheaper than most places ($1pp for plain barfi, $2pp for other flavours). We’re told the most popular of their barfi selection is the pista (pistachio) and if you’re new to the crumbly Indian snack, be aware that it can be very fragrant with Indian spices like cardamom, so it’s not for vanilla palates.

  • Restaurants
  • Sydney

Order the: Matcha soft serve

No summer dessert list is complete without a soft serve – and no country owns it quite as well as Japan. At Chanoma, you can deep dive into the specifics of matcha and grab a genmaicha soft serve. Genmaicha is green tea that has been combined with roasted brown rice. Because the rice dilutes the tea and adds sugar and starch, historically it has been consumed by the poor. The result is a soft serve that is not too sweet and perfectly creamy.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Sydney

Order the: Egg waffle

People have been getting those Emperor Puffs off of Dixon Street for decades, but did you know that they have a cousin around the corner in the form of egg waffles? Hong Kong Day Dessert – a two-minute walk from Emperor Puffs – turns egg waffles (which they call egglets) into cones to take on the go or served flat on wooden boards. They come with mango, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, or as matcha-flavoured egglets with matcha ice cream and sweet red bean paste. Go all out on a chocolate egglets served with cookies and cream ice cream, fresh strawberries and chocolate sauce.

District 1 HCMC Macquarie Centre
  • Shopping
  • Macquarie Park

Order the: Vietnamese iced coffee

Coffee was introduced to Vietnam by the French in 1800s and has since become the world’s second largest producer of the stuff. District 1 HCMC (for Ho Chi Minh City) in Macquarie Centre is a little hideaway of colourful lanterns and dark wooden décor. They use Vietnamese coffee beans by Trung Nguyên to create a drink that is half coffee, half  condensed milk – a thick concoction that starts out strong and bitter and ends on a sweet note. The barista will stir it down for you over ice – that’s where the refreshment lies.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Sydney

Order the: Baobing at Meet Fresh

It's no surprise that baobing, a shaved ice dessert that’s been eaten in China since seventh century AD, is extremely popular in summer. Toppings include fruit, red beans, mung beans, peanuts, and taro. Grass jelly is the most popular topping at Meet Fresh, which they’ve titled Signature Herbal Jelly. The black jelly comes in large flat slices, paired with tapioca pearls and some purple and orange chewy jubes made out of taro. Underneath is a bed of ice and a small side of milk in one of those packets you’d get on a plane. There’s an option for a hot version should you could come back in winter.

After some sweet baked goods?

  • Restaurants
  • Patisseries
We’re pretty lucky that here in Sydney we have some of the best darn pastry chefs in the country. From the genius that is the strawberry watermelon cake at Black Star Pastry, to that ginger tart at Bourke Street Bakery, here’s where to get a lil’sweet stuff in Sydney.
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