chocolate brownie @ Bon Matin Paris

This once again reminds me never to buy bakery-style brownies, no matter how stylish (or stylishly-marketed) the bakery is.  The brownie had a fine layer of cocoa powder on top, rendering it one of the most bitter brownies I have ever had.  There were plenty of chocolate chips and chocolate zing to it, but it was way too dry and crumbly.  (15RMB / US$2.50)

Eat it or starve?: Starve.

Address:  114 Four Seasons Shopping Mall, 169 Wujiang Road x Taixing Road, Shanghai
TEL: 6271 5738
Style: Bakery
(Multiple locations in Shanghai.)


blueberry waffle @ Chex Choux

Pick this up a couple of weeks ago at Reel Kitchen, the underground food court right by the Kerry Center.  For 9RMB, it was actually pretty good: it was cold, fluffy, and filled with blueberry and cheesecake-flavored cream.  Reminds me of those 150 yen Japanese waffles at 36 Sticks -- they had the same texture and taste.  I wouldn't mind coming back here the next time I get a craving for frozen waffles.  (9RMB / US$1.50)

Eat it or starve?: Eat it.

Address: Reel Kitchen B2/F, Reel Mall, 1601 West Nanjing Road x Changde Road, Shanghai
Style: Stall


Cristal is a Mediterranean restaurant situated over Wujiang Road (aka the food street).  It is actually listed as "closed" on City Weekend (Shanghai lifestyle magazine/website for expats), so we had the equivalent of a private party on the premises, one Saturday night a few weeks ago.  The decor was exquisite, with lavish chandeliers and a premium bar space.  I went for dessert and dessert alone.

baba'l rum

What is it, you ask?

"Baba Au Rhum/Baba Au Savarin - A Savarin is a yeast dough baked in a ring mold and soaked in rum syrup, the center hole brimming with pastry cream, crème chantilly, or fresh fruit. The dessert is a close relative of the Eastern European baba, which includes dried fruit in the dough and is served without a filling."

It was like a fruit & bread soup.  And not a good one at that.
1. I didn't detect any rum in it.
2. The cream chantilly was overflowing.
3. The bread was soggy.
4. The fruit medley (pomelo, peach, and watermelon) was sour, whereas the rest of the dessert was sweet or even salty.
(Price: 58RMB / US$9)

Eat it or starve?: Starve.

chocolate killer

You know a chocolate dessert has to good if it has any variant of the words "death" or "kill" in its title.

And unsurprisingly, this was the best dessert of the evening.  Let's see, there was a free-standing chocolate lava cake, chocolate ice cream, and a pair of mini chocolate tarts.  The chocolate lava cake was warm and soft, contrasting nicely with the cold, rock-hard chocolate tart.  I didn't have any of the ice cream.  (Price: 88RMB / US$14)

Eat it or starve?: Eat it.

chocolate souffle

Cream and chocolate ice cream and chocolate bread pudding.  There was a thin layer of chocolate cake on top, and the rest was just all warm, vanilla bread pudding underneath.  I thought it was pretty good, but as it wasn't what we'd ordered, we returned the dish to the kitchen. (Price: 68RMB / US$10)

Address: 4/F, 328 Maoming Road / 175 Taixing Road, Shanghai
TEL: 6136 1388
Style: Mediterranean


I often pass by this cafe on the way home, and every time, every day, it is always packed around dinnertime.  I don't get it.  It's just a normal cafe with a normal menu (although the Taiwanese shaved ice desserts do look yummy).  Plus the waitresses have bad haircuts (like they'd just chopped their hair off with a pair of scissors) and look like men.

baked red bean sago pudding @ Bellagio

It took about 10 minutes for them to bring it out (and I asked for it cold!). 

There were 2 cute, tiny cups.  The sago was nice and lumpy, the pudding dense and eggy.  It felt like my stomach had hit a brick wall afterwards.  Aside from the few scattered on top, the red beans were concentrated on the bottom in paste-form -- as if dumped straight from a can (how creative) -- and I scooped them up reluctantly.  Definitely not something you can eat everyday.  (22RMB / US$3.50)

I later saw the same dessert at La Paleta (since they're owned by the same company), only packed to go.  I guess I should've just gotten it at La Paleta and saved myself the wait.

Eat it or starve?: Starve.

Address: 111 Xikang Road x Nanyang Road, Shanghai
TEL: 6247 2666
Style: Cafe
(Multiple locations in Shanghai.)



Finally, after 1.5 years of searching, I found a decent mont blanc in town.

mont blanc creme cake @ La Paleta

A lone chestnut and a chocolate disc on top.
Chestnut paste (it could have been a tad lighter, I admit) spiraling down from the outside.
Cold whipped cream (and not the bad kind either) stuffed to the brim on the inside.
Chestnut mousse, with a hint of rum, underneath.
All layered on a tart base.

If only mont blancs had a longer shelf life...La Paleta is too far to traverse on a whim.  It's a pity Bellagio doesn't do mont blancs.
(25RMB / US$4)

Eat it or starve?: Eat eat eat eat. (Nevermind the surly servers.)

Address: 800 Huamu Road x Haitong Road, Shanghai
Tel: 6845 3781
Style: Bakery / Cafe
(Multiple locations in Shanghai.)


La Paleta, brought to you by the same guys who own Bellagio (Taiwanese cafe/diner chain), is a fusion bakery/cafe offering "daily fresh cakes with Japanese twist" [sic].  Apparently, one of their head chefs was brought over from Japan, which explains the Japanese twist on their cake selection.  In any case, it certainly was a step up from the typical bakery in China -- though it still can't rival anything you can find in Japan.


It was a cloud of cream.  A puddle of cream.  A cup of cream.  Literally.  It was just cappucino-flavored cream over whipped cream over more cream.  Do you know how many calories are in cream?  I could only eat 1/3 of it before I gave up. (20RMB / US$3)

Eat it or starve?: Starve.

banana mousse cake

I could see the Japanese influences on this one (the tiramisu was obviously the brainchild of the Taiwanese chef).  The outer layer tasted like a lemon meringue (all light and fluffy), while the inside was stuffed with banana mousse (rather bland) and sponge cake (which I chucked).  It left me less than satisfied -- it was one of those cakes that look amazing but have little to offer in the way of taste.  Still, the more I look at it now, the more it mesmerizes me... (20RMB / US$3)

Eat it or starve?: Starve (but keep your eyes open).

Address: 800 Huamu Road x Haitong Road, Shanghai
Tel: 6845 3781
Style: Bakery / Cafe
(Multiple locations in Shanghai.)


Just in:

arroz con leche @ Cantina Agave

There were oodles of raisins, rice, milk, a mint leaf, and even a cinnamon stick, all tucked in this stamina soup.  I have to say, they must've put tumeric or some Indian spice in it, because I wanted to throw up on the first bite.  Asides from that, it tasted pretty good.  (25RMB / US$4)

Eat it or starve?: Eh.

flan @ Cantina Agave

I knew I was in for a real treat as soon as I saw the dark rich caramel color.

It was, in a word, intense.

Intensely rich.
Intensely sweet.
Intensely creamy.

I kept dunking the flan into the caramel syrup.

Best. flan. ever.  I don't know how it could get any better than this. (35RMB / US$6)

Eat it or starve?: Eat it and smile!

Address: 291 Fumin Road x Changle Road, Shanghai
TEL: 6170 1310
Style: Mexican



I had my doubts when I saw this, but it actually tasted pretty good:

bobo chacha @ Food Fusion

Yes, it is a putrid yellow color.
Yes, there is mystery fruit floating inside.
Yes, I ate the whole damn thing.

The sweet potato, taro, and tapioca combination never fails to please.  In fact, this was one of the better bobo chachas I've had in Shanghai (which doesn't say much about bobo chachas in Shanghai).  (12RMB / US$2)

Eat it or starve?: Eat it but keep your eyes closed.

Address: Parkson 8/F, 918 Huaihai Road x South Shanxi Road, Shanghai
TEL: 6385 3906
Style: Malaysian



honeydew icekimo @ Daily Fresh

What exactly did they put in this green and white slush-like thing?
I was curious to know as well.

"IceKimo is made out of a unique combination of fresh fruits, natural flavoured ice & fruit toppings. IceKimo is served in a cup. It is shaved to produce very fine and thin slices of ice that is smooth and refreshing as soon as it touches your mouth. Available in many different variety of fruit flavours which includes Honeydew, Mango, Soursop, Strawberry, Pineapple. All naturally made to taste." ~from the Daily Fresh website

The first time I got it was in Hong Kong, though I didn't know what exactly it was called -- I just thought it was an HK dessert.  I guess I was wrong.  Daily Fresh is actually a Malaysian chain, and the actual product itself originated in Taiwan (along with bubble tea and all those other goodies).  

What does it taste like?  Like snow that melts in your mouth as soon as you taste it.  The Chinese call it 雪花冰 -- literally, "snowflake ice."  It was more subtle -- more elegant -- than Japanese kakigori, American snowcones, and other variants.  The green honeydrew syrup, coconut jelly, and green spoon were nice adornments for this delicate dessert. (8RMB / US$1.25)

Eat it or starve?: Eat it.

Address: Wuning Carrefour, 20 Wuning Road x Changshou Road, Shanghai
Style: Street stall
(Multiple locations in Shanghai.)


baklava @ Haya's Mediterranean Restaurant

I love how the baklava was all bite-sized and packed neatly into the tupperware, easy for consumption.  Plus, it was really good value for the money.  I hate soggy baklavas as much as I hate soggy crepes -- they really can be a hit or miss -- but my apprehension was soon alleviated.  This was more of a snack than dessert, really -- everything was so light and dainty and so...oil-free.  Not to say that it wasn't oily (because it was -- and it hit me a couple of hours later), but it was a welcome relief after a series of exceedingly rich baklava and other Mediterranean-style desserts.  Before I knew it, I had polished off half the "pastries."  (35RMB / US$6)

Eat it or starve?: Eat it...just not all in one sitting.

Address: 415 Dagu Road x Chengdu Road, Shanghai
TEL: 6295 9511
Style: Mediterranean
(Multiple locations in Shanghai.)