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Chinese Tong Sui Recipe

Chinese Tong Sui Recipe

Tong sui is a sweet soup from China, made with sugar, beans, milk, and fruits. The name of this dish translates to sugar water in Cantonese.

Nuts or seeds may also be added to tong sui, either ground into a paste or added whole. Modern recipes also include tapioca pearls, which are particularly popular with children and teenagers.

Tong sui is often enjoyed at family gatherings, festivals, and celebrations. This sweet soup is traditionally enjoyed after a meal or as an afternoon snack.

In Chinese communities around the world, you can find tong sui served in teahouses, dessert shops, and at home. There are a variety of types of tong sui, including traditional red bean soup and sweet almond soup.

Origin & Cultural Significance

The tradition of tong sui dates back centuries in China; early versions of this dish were enjoyed by only the imperial court, but over time these sweet soups became accessible to everyone.

This dish originated in the Lingnan region of China, and today is a popular dessert across the country and other parts of the world. 

Traditional tong sui recipes reflect the idea of balance and nourishment. The ingredients of the tong sui may vary depending on the season, for instance red bean soup is commonly enjoyed in the winter as a warming dessert.

In Thailand, a similar dish called Tapioca Pudding is made with sweet coconut milk, water chestnuts, and tapioca pearls.

Tong Sui

Chinese Tong Sui Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Tong sui is a sweet soup from China, made with sugar, beans, milk, and fruits.


  • Red beans - 1 cup
  • Water - 4 cups
  • Granulated sugar - 1/2 cup
  • Coconut milk - 1/2 cup
  • Glutinous rice balls (tangyuan) - 2 tbsp


  1. Rinse the red beans thoroughly and soak them in water for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  2. Drain the beans and place in a large pot with 4 cups of water. 
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the beans are tender and begin to break down.
  4. Add sugar to the pot and stir until it dissolves completely. Adjust the sweetness to your liking.
  5. Cook the glutinous rice balls separately, according to the package instructions, and set aside.
  6. To serve, ladle the sweet red bean soup into bowls. If desired, drizzle with coconut milk and add cooked glutinous rice balls.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 214Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 14mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 3gSugar: 25gProtein: 5g

Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.

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