Tong shui is not a fad, it has been around for eons in Southern China. Tong shui translates into literally into sugar water, it is usually a desert served after lunch or dinner. It is believed to have a chilling effect on the human body, hence it is usually consumed in hot summers. They are usually sweet and made from various beans, vegetables and lots of sugar.

The faddish Yankee tong shui is not even considered the same genre by people back in Asia, who disdain from the fancy and tasteless fusion cuisine some yuppie Americans are so fond of. Dumplings are never eaten with tong shui, it is strictly a desert dish and is consumed at the very end of a meal. If cold, it is served without a spoon, drink it from the bowl. If hot, spoons are supplied.

Real tong shui can only be found in Southern China, any place north of Fujian is unacceptable. I have yet to find good tong shui in Shanghai, plenty can be found in Hong Kong. For a good sample, visit the First Hong Kong Tong Shui and Tea Shop, a little cubbyhole in Wanchai next to the Southern Playground in the middle of the business district. Easily reached by subway, it served good stuff of all sorts. Highly recommended. The steamed chicken there is also excellent (served in an adjacent shop). The place has been in business for decades.

Whatever you say, white man. You're the one who said it was a fad in the first place.

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