ipsedixit wonders why Americans love savory Asian foods, but Asian desserts have never really caught on in America. “When will sweet red beans get traction on American dessert menus in the same way that things like egg rolls or fried rice have on the app/entrée side?” asks ipsedixit. “Or what about things like mochi? Or shaved ice? Almond tofu anyone?”
Part of this is that Asian desserts tend to be less sweet, and Americans prefer stronger, sweeter desserts, says gfr1111. “One of the things that surprised me the most in Singapore was all the chocolate cake covered with chocolate frosting available in the downtown bakeries,” says gfr1111. “These cakes look gorgeous. However, when you eat them, you discover that the chocolate cake has almost no chocolate flavor and the chocolate frosting is made out of gelatin and a minimal amount of chocolate. It isn’t very sweet, either.” K K agrees: “While I don’t know what Black Forest Cake tastes like in Europe, the version in Hong Kong is lighter and doesn’t overload like some triple chocolate cheesecake.”
Asian desserts also use “weird” textures and “weird” flavors in their desserts, and Americans are pretty conservative about what is considered dessert. “Western palates are going for novel sweet savory desserts now, partially because they are accessible tweaks of standards,” says JungMann. “Sweetened tofu, beans, or avocado, however, meet a little more resistance. Not only are these savory foods, but they are popularly categorized and limited to certain applications.” “And the whole notion of beans in a dessert is off-putting for some,” says BigSal.