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What is the name of this dessert at Mandarin Buffet...?

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Whenever I eat at Mandarin, I always look forward to one rather unique dessert that they have at most locations. It is a sort of coconut cake with a consistency like that of a pudding or jello... it is always shaped like a bundt cake, but it doesn't seem to contain wheat flour.

It is very soft and light, and only tastes very slightly of coconut. I believe it to have either a tapioca or a rice flour base, but trying to find any information on a cake of this variety is driving me crazy!

Does anyone know the cake I am referring to, and what the proper name for it is? I have tried looking up coconut rice flour cakes and tapioca ones as well, to no avail.


Mandarin Buffet
8787 Weston Rd, Woodbridge, ON L4L0C3, CA

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  1. Maybe a glutinous rice cake?

    1. Does it look like a snowball? Like what is in this photo:


      If so, it's mochi -- a rice flour pastry. Fragrant Bakery has some seriously awesome ones filled with custard. I'm sure there's a Chinese name for it (mochi is a Japanese term), but I don't know it. :)

      7 Replies
      1. re: TorontoJo

        Unfortunately not, but I do love glutinous rice balls as well, I make them at home all the time.

        It does share a very similar level of sweetness to them, where it's not especially rich or overbearing.

        The cake is shaped exactly like a jello bundt cake: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2443/4...

        but it doesn't have the consistency of jello per se. It is uniform throughout, there are no layers, and it is a very snowy white colour.

        1. re: TorontoJo

          The Chinese name (well, the transliteration) is tang yuan aka yuan xiao ;-) Fragrant Bakery's peanut sesame-filled tang yuan are pretty awesome, too ;-)

          BTW, does anyone know what the charcoal grey-coloured tang yuan at Fragrant are filled with?

          1. re: prima

            Hi Prima,
            I believe that it's a black sesame mixture - ground sesame seeds, white sugar, and sometimes coconut.

              1. re: crake

                Thanks growinggourmet & crake ;-) Might try one next time I'm at Fragrant.

            1. re: prima

              Actually, the chinese name for the dessert in TorontoJo's picture is not tang yuan. It is Law Mic Chi, 糯米糍.

              1. re: skylineR33

                Oops!!! I stand corrected. Thanks skylineR33!!!

          2. Could it be coconut pudding? e.g. http://tastytreats.wordpress.com/2007... - scroll down to July 7th.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Teep

              I think you might be right... I suspect that it may be a variation on a coconut pudding which also incorporates rice flour and is then moulded in a small bundt pan.

              I may just need to go back there and write the name down.

              1. re: crake

                Given Teep's info, I want to say Almond jello, but with coconut flavouring.

            2. This topic is breaking my heart as I love the Mandarin and am far away from it. Once my husband asked me where I wanted to go for dinner on my birthday and I said "The Mandarin" so we did---to Toronto from Chicago. For readers who don't know the Mandarin, imagine a Chinese buffet restaurant that is nice, with white tablecloths and real flowers. Imagine a buffet of 48 hot Chinese entrees, a Canadian buffet with prime rib of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, a grill buffet with steak and chicken and salmon and sometimes even lamb chops all done to order, a huge salad bar with shrimp, a stunning dessert bar, sometimes a waffle station, six kinds of soup, and ten kinds of ice cream. Their website has photographs. Several branches all over Ontario.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Querencia

                Thank you for giving the Mandarin the respect it deserves. It's no Lai Wah Heen, but it gets the job done for my Can-Chinese food needs. Bring on chicken balls and red sauce.

                Lai Wah Heen
                108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3, CA

              2. does it have a mousse-like texture (ie airy, fluffy)?

                1 Reply
                1. re: pinkprimp

                  Yes! It does. It's also a bit springy.

                2. I am pretty sure you are describing coconut pudding. At most dim sum places it comes in squares, not bundt shape. The texture can vary from very springy, bouncy (this is made using agar agar) to very creamy (this means that there is a good portion of dairy or coconut milk). The Mandarin version is most likely on the bouncy side...don't think ther is a lot of coconut milk in there.
                  This thread maybe of interest

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sweetie

                    That is definitely what I am leaning to having read some of the articles linked in the responses. I'm going to try making it at home and see whether or not it in any way resembles that at Mandarin. Oddly enough yesterday I stumbled upon the exact thread you're linking to!