Say goodbye to basic bowls of green tea ice cream and fortune cookies. Asian restaurants are stepping up their game when it comes to dessert, and even some non-Asian restaurants are seeing the potential of using Far East flavors to put a new spin on old standards. While sweets are not typically served at the conclusion of a meal in many Asian countries, there’s no getting around it here. Read on for some the Asian-inspired desserts that are on our dining wish lists.
Ube Pot de Crème at Roka Akor-Old Orchard, Skokie, Illinois
While Roka Akor is known for sushi, sashimi, and Japanese A5 wagyu beef, their desserts will also grab your attention. A standout is the vivid, bright violet Ube Pot de Crème, served with a toasted rice tuile and fresh seasonal fruit. Ube, also known as purple yam, is an ingredient common in the Philippines. Make a reservation at Roka Akor-Old Orchard.
Matcha Moments at Culina at Beverly Hills, California
Although Culina is a modern Italian restaurant at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, the summer menu features antioxidant-rich, metabolism-boosting matcha in its Matcha Moments dessert. The delicate green tea ice cream with a pillowy matcha meringue served with a side of green tea represents East meets West, blending both Italian affogato and Japanese tea. Make a reservation at Culina.
Sesame Panna Cotta at Kuro, Hollywood, Florida
Kuro is a Japanese restaurant located inside the AAA Four Diamond-rated Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Pastry chef Ross Evans uses Asian flavors in classic recipes creating new taste sensations, such as soy caramel, sake sabayon, and matcha anglais. His Sesame Panna Cotta with ginger gelee, cucumber spheres, and nori sponge combines savory flavors with sweet. Make a reservation at Kuro.
Mango Pudding at E.P.+L.P. in Hollywood, California
At E.P.+L.P., Fijian-Chinese-Indian executive chef Louis Tikaram is inspired by his extensive travels across Southeast Asia and his native Australian roots. The chef fuses Pacific Rim ingredients and techniques with fresh California produce to create modern riffs on traditional Southeast Asian dishes, including the Mango Pudding, which is served with toasted coconut ice cream, citrus tapioca, and crunchy puffed rice. Make a reservation at E.P.+L.P.
Coconut Ash Pudding at Departure Restaurant and Lounge, Portland, Oregon
Inspired by a dessert Top Chef finalist Gregory Gourdet tried in Bangkok a few years ago, the Coconut Ash Pudding has a pudding base, followed by a rich coconut-coffee ice cream, which is then topped with puffed rice, a whiskey caramel sauce, shaved coconut ice, and edible flowers. The coconut ash is the charred and processed remains of the shell, which can then be incorporated into a variety of dishes. Make a reservation at Departure Restaurant and Lounge.
Matcha Vanilla Chiffon Cake at E&O Kitchen and Bar, San Francisco California
E&O Kitchen and Bar is celebrating 20 years in San Francisco of using Asian flavors in inventive ways — and its desserts are no exception. The dessert menu offers classic treats including cookies, panna cotta, and sorbets, which each have an Asian accent. Executive chef Sharon Nahm’s layered cake with creamy matcha mousse, white chocolate, and black sesame honeycomb is not to be missed. Make a reservation at E&O Kitchen and Bar.