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ISO Chinese Sesame Balls

Went out for dim sum at NBC Seafood ( 404 S. Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park, (626) 282-2323) yesterday (Friday) with some buddies, and I was the lucky one who got to bring home the left overs. The Missus went wild (as in, she's still talking about them a day later) about one of the items, these black and white sesame balls that I usually think of as a dessert. They are made of that gelatinous chewy rice dough, covered in black and white sesame seeds, and filled, I think, with ground black sesame paste. The filling tastes sort of like tahini, sort of like peanut butter.

So, can anyone tell me what these delicious little items are actually called, and, more importantly, whether going out to dim sum is the only way to purchase them? Are there bakeries or other shops that carry these things where one can purchase them to take home?

TIA hounds.

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  1. It sounds like sesame mochi balls- you can find frozen ones at any Ranch 99 or other Chinese supermarket and boil them. They won't be covered in the black and white sesame seeds, but my family used to do that, and serve it in a little bit of the boiled water. If you "pop" them open, the black sesame paste on the inside mixes with the water as a sort of sweet soup. Alternatively, I guess you can boil them, drain them, and then roll them yourself in sesame seeds. If you are looking for something fresh, you might be able to find them in a bakery- they are also sometimes stuffed with red bean, etc. Hope that helps.

    1. They are called jin drua (sp?) in Cantonese pronunciation. Yes, they are usually available in dim sum. Captial Seafood has a dim sum take out section that would carry them. I have seen some vietnamese bahn mi places carry them also. A lot of authentic food take-out places would have them.

      2 Replies
      1. re: WHills

        I know them as "jin dui" (which sounds a bit like "jinn doy?"). Sometimes they're stuffed with red bean, sometimes with sesame paste. I like the sesame paste better. You can get them to go at Dim Sum Express (Garfield between Garvey and the 10), at MHL (a few doors east of Garfield and Garvey) and, if you're in the Valley, usually at BBQ Unlimited on Sherman Way between Coldwater Canyon and Ethel. I believe Banh Mi Che Cali has them at all branches though stocks may be depleted more often than not.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          Your pronounciation sounds about right.

      2. I get them frozen at Ranch99. Its so easy to keep in the freezer and take out a few balls for a quick 10 minute dessert.

        1. Also some of the Chinese bakeries like Diamond Bakery on Garvey and Atlantic carry them as does that place that used to be Fong Burgers on Garfield just north of Garvey.

          1. i think you're talking about tong yuan...like people said you can pretty much buy them frozen in any chinese mkt (Ranch 99 etc)

            1. i think this is what you're looking for, but the ones you had were probably white with sesame seeds covering it...they may or may not have been in water or a sweet soup

              http://cheateat.typepad.com/blog/2004...

              1. You can get those deep-fried sesame balls at Yum Cha Cafe or at Dim Sum Express.

                In fact, now that I think about it, you can get those balls at most any dim sum places that have take-out orders.

                They are best eaten fresh and warm straight from the kitchen, however.

                1. Some of the deli/bakeries at 99 Ranch probably make them... I know the Rowland Heights 99 Ranch sells these at the hot foods deli area next to the bakery. They're large and golden, though I can't vouch for their taste as I've never tried them. But they sure look good!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: gsmoose

                    I think those large and golden ones are different - they're deep fried, and have a mung bean filling. (Don't know what they're called, but I never liked them as a child.) The ones the original poster is talking about are different, but others have covered them in their responses. I've always gotten them.. well, from my mother's freezer, who undoubtedly buys them from Ranch 99.

                    1. re: jacinthe

                      yeah they're not fried, they're boiled and i've never seen tong yuen made big from my family or at a restaurant

                  2. Yesterday I got some from the take-out counter at Empress Pavilion.

                    1. He is not talking about tong yuan, but jiun dua (Sesame Balls). Fried with black filling on the inside. Sam Woos also has it for takeout.

                      1. Bought 2 at 99 Ranch in Van Nuys yesterday morning. 75 cents each. Yummy.