Whether you’re on a diet or not, you deserve to give yourself a little treat – or even a big one – every now and again. And with the seductive sweets in this feature, it’s worth making ‘every now and again’ happen as frequently as possible. Surrender and celebrate like a hedonist by delving into each of these 18 delights over one gloriously decadent month. You won’t be alone in this extravagant escapade!
Gulab jamun with pista kulfi
Made from milk and flour, then deep-fried and drenched in a syrup of cardamom, rose water, kewra (water distilled from pandanus flowers) and saffron, gulab jamun (18RMB) is a sweet explosion. Give in to excess and have it a la mode with a frosty pista kulfi (pistachio ice cream, 20RMB). At Khajuraho.
Praline and Blueberry
Maison Boulud’s sublime Praline (118RMB), a dark-chocolate parfait with coffee-mascarpone ice cream dotted with chocolate pearls, brings a rush of pleasure that may be best enjoyed alone. Not into such overt displays of affection? Your heart will still flutter as you spoon the Blueberry (108RMB), a vacherin of blueberry sorbet and orange blossom ice-cream, topped with airy petits meringues and supple whipped cream. Maison Boulud à Pékin
If the indulgence of Maison Boulud’s desserts makes you feel guilty, repent (a little) with an exquisite slice of Capital M’s Famous Pavlova (98RMB) from Capital M, just down the road: angelic meringue with pillows of cream, topped with sweetly tart fruits that’ll make you pucker.
New York Cheesecake
The luxurious New York Cheesecake (88RMB) at Writer’s Bar is a sensuous wedge requiring the appetites of three. It’s a thick, dense cream – not the melty sort that slips from the tongue – served without sauce. You can press it to the roof of your mouth and savour it, but at its size, you’ll be in the bar all day. Writer’s Bar
The gigantic, pneumatic sesame balls (麻团； 12RMB each, minimum order of three) at Xinfeiteng Yuxiang look light but are deceptively filling. Each golden globe possesses a rich filling of sweet, black sesame paste, winning the last of your digestive real estate.
Xinfeiteng Yuxiang (新沸腾鱼乡) The Place and Central Park 4/F North Bldg, The Place Shopping Center, 9 Guanghua Lu, Chaoyang District (6589 5588; www.ftyx.com). Open Mon-Fri 11am-2.30pm, 4.30-10pm, Sat-Sun 11am-10.30pm.朝阳区光华路9号世贸天阶中心北楼4层.
Red bean dumplings and almond jelly snow ice
End a meal of the best soup dumplings in the world at Din Tai Fung by sinking your teeth into the earthy sweetness of steamed red-bean paste dumplings (38RMB for ten). Alternatively try a mound of almond jelly snow-ice (38RMB), dressed with almond milk and chewy bites of an almond tofu-esque jelly that shimmies into your mouth. Din Tai Fung
Literally a loaf of buttered sweet white bread topped with vanilla ice-cream, the towering honey toast (珍岛蜂蜜厚多士, 42RMB) at Charme is a popular dessert in Hong Kong and one for incorrigibly naughty diets. Get to the gym for a week after!
Charme CBD Store 8-9 World City, 8-9 Jinhui Lu, Chaoyang District (8590 6088). Open 11am-10pm. 朝阳区金汇路8-9号世界城商业街 102号铺.
If you’re a peanut-butter fanatic, the peanut smoothie (33RMB) at Bellagio will make all your dreams come true. It is obscenely large and dreamily delish, and puts the ‘O’ in orgasmic. More a soft-serve than the traditional interpretation of a smoothie, this peanut-buttery ice-cream mountain may induce a nasty case of brain freeze if you can’t resist guzzling it down. Bellagio
Apple pie skillet
Union Bar & Grille’s large apple pie (48RMB) is served hot and heavy in a personal-sized skillet. A flaky, crisp shortbread crust rests atop super-sweet caramelised apples. If you like ice cream, we recommend having it a la mode for 20RMB. Union Bar & Grille
Mango and pomelo with sago
Snacking through the Cantonese dessert menus in town, the largest and most refreshingly delicious chilled mango and pomelo with sago (杨枝甘露； 28RMB for 900ml, 38RMB for 1.8 litres) can be enjoyed at the Otto’s Restaurant chain. At Otto’s Restaurant.
Churros tradicionales (35RMB) at Q Mex are airy sticks of deep-fried dough, lightly dusted with cinnamon and sugar, that seem to disappear in the mouth with barely a chew. These Mexican-style treats are served with a Spanish flair: a thick hot-chocolate reminiscent of the scalding sip sold early mornings along the streets of Spain. Q Mex
Paris Brest (38RMB) is a wheel-shaped choux (light pastry dough) pastry, filled with hazelnut whipped-cream, made to commemorate a 1,200km bicycle race held every four years from Paris to Brest and back. Eating these wheels of winning tradition, available at Voyage of International Cuisines, taste heavenly but are sinfully heavy, requiring real willpower to stop.
VIC - Voyage of International Cuisines VIC - Voyage of International Cuisines Sofitel Wanda Plaza (Level 6) Tower C Wanda Plaza, 93 Jianguo Lu (8599-6666 ext. 6521). 朝阳区建国路93号万达广场C座.
Dazzling and divine in a crispy edible bowl, ‘Barolo-style tiramisu’ (88RMB) is a delight for certain. Every spoonful carries satiating measures of bittersweet chocolate, espresso-soaked biscuits, and cream. At Barolo.
Steamed layer cake with egg yolk
Steamed layer cake with egg yolk (蛋黄千层糕, 22RMB plus 15 percent service charge) sounds bizarre, but bear with us. Layers of salted egg-yolk blended with coconut and cake, and topped with a blanket of white mantou-like bread, make this a unique and shockingly scrummy dish. It may be the missing slice in your Chinese dessert experience! At Jewel.
Sesame bitter chocolate cake
No chocolate cake has ever conquered a mouth more aggressively with ecstasy. Sesame Bitter Chocolate Cake (38RMB for a personal portion, 218RMB for one pound) is a crispy black mousse spread between two cake-like slabs of chocolate, then cloaked within a fudgy dark-chocolate fondant. This dessert owns you – and you’ll like it.
Kempi Deli 50 Liangmaqiao Lu Liangmaqiao, Chaoyang (6465 3388 Ext. 4227). Open 7am-10pm daily. 朝阳区凯宾斯基饭店1层.