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Pacifying the Dragon with Tong Sui

Pacifying the dragon with Tong Sui

Sai Kung is one of the most beautiful places in Hong Kong.

I had the rare opportunity to participate in the Jiao Festival  in Tseng Lang Shue Village, Sai Kung, Hong Kong which only takes place once every 30 years.

Pacifying the dragon with Tong Sui

I was able to observe a very special ritual called “Pacifying the Dragon”. During this ritual, a duck was used to lead the dragon represented by a long red cloth; a rooster will be used as its tail up to the top of the highest peak in the local village.  This dragon visited certain locations near the village where rituals were performed by Zhenyi Daoists and ritual representatives.

Pacifying the dragon with Tong Sui

Of course, I was one of those crazy people who climbed up this unpaved treacherous hill with the locals to keep the spirit of the festival alive. I was intrigued to watch as the various components of the parade were assembled; a duck to lead, a lion, a chicken at the end, a "Man of fortune" bearing a clay urn containing grain, which is buried on the hillside to pacify the dragon.  The Jiao Festival event occurred during the weekend of mid-December 2011, I'm a bit ,okay just a tad late, on getting my posts published.

Of course Bam's Kitchen is leading up to a recipe and you can stop worrying as I promise this cute little duck was NOT on the dinner menu.

Pacifying the dragon with Tong Sui

The local villagers in this area speak Hakka and are so friendly and kind. Ohh my goodness and the amazing food. Unfortunately, this food we were not allowed to eat as this food is a food offering for this religious and spiritual ceremony.

Pacifying the dragon with Tong Sui

All this climbing mountains and surrounding myself with food, that I cannot eat, was making me hungry. I want something nurturing, warm and slightly sweet. I think I want some of my dear friend's, Wang Xiao Yu's Tong Sui (Chinese Sweet Dessert Soup). Alice is one of the sweetest persons I know and she makes the sweetest little dessert soup. To my dear Alice ,this post is dedicated to you. Keep reading ahead to find out the secret for making this delicately sweet soup.

糖水 (Tong sui) is a sweet dessert soup. Unlike Western desserts, Asian desserts are lightly sweet and refreshing. The warmth of the soup in the winter months is really soothing. It is a really simple dessert with just a few ingredients and a very short cook time. One of my favorite ingredients in the soup is wolf berries (gogi berries) gou ji zi.  Please visit my dear friend's Sharon's  website at  to learn more about this interesting Chinese herb and also delicious Chinese soups.

Pacifying the dragon with Tong Sui

Wang Xiao Yu's Tong Sui

Serves 4 adults or 2 hungry teenagers

  • 200 ml of water
  • 1/2 cup of small Chinese Glutenous rice balls (frozen)- if located in the western world, you could substitute tapioca or plain white rice,  but does not have that same chewy texture. Plain diced mochi is a good alternative in Asia.
  • 1/4 cup or rice jiu (Chinese rice ETOH)- ( I think a better alternative may be a sweet dessert wine or umeshu)
  • handful of wolf berries- (can try substituting with light-colored sultans)
  • drizzle of honey or alternative sweetener
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Chinese Sweet Osmanthus Flower Tea (can substitute with crushed chrysanthemum tea)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Pacifying the dragon with Tong Sui

Step 1: In a medium-sized pot, place in water, Chinese glutenous rice balls, rice or sweet dessert wine, wolf berries, honey and Chinese Sweet Osmanthus Flower Tea and let simmer for about 5-10 minutes.

Pacifying the dragon with Tong Sui

Step 2: Slowly add egg in a stream and incorporate into soup. Adjust and add more honey as desired,

Step 3: Enjoy your Sweet Dessert soup  (Tong sui) with friends and Chinese tea on a cool winter's day.

Pacifying the dragon with Tong Sui



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Healthy World Cuisine (HWC) Magazine is committed to provide a lifestyle traveling culinary experience featuring fresh ingredients, easy recipe preparation and culinary enjoyment. READ MORE...

Pacifying the Dragon with Tong Sui

By HWC Magazine  , , ,   

February 29, 2012

  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yields: 4 Adults or 1 Hungry Teenager


glutinous rice balls -

wolfberries -

egg -

honey -

Chinese rice ETOH -

Chinese Sweet Osmanthus Flower Tea -


  • Yyyyuuuuummmmmmm 🙂

  • Wow… this is such an impressive post today, from the photos you’ve taken to this exotic looking sweet dessert! I would love to try making this, it’s so pretty and exotic looking. I love that you’ve used Chinese Flower Tea in it:)

    • Thanks Smidge. I have added Western ingredient substitutions in hopes that others, even from Canada, can try it. The Chinese flower tea really gives it a nice delicate floral essence. Take care, BAM

  • I adore the traditional custom aspects you have put into this post – makes this dish even more exotic and exquisite!
    So awesome!

    Choc Chip Uru

    • Maybe I should bring more of these cultural experiences into my posts. It is something unique that many people do not usually have the opportunity to experience. Take care, BAM

  • Wonderful pictures! Looks like you had an amazing experience! And sweet soup? How cool!! Looks delicious!

    • Thanks Stephanie, have you ever tried sweet dessert soup? Take care, BAM

  • What gorgeous photos! It makes me feel like I was there! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • It was a really a unique experience and such a big event that even people who used to live in this village flew back to participate from all over the world. Take Care, BAM

  • The festival looks and sounds wonderful. I’m so intrigued by the recipe, I’ve never had the good fortune to eat anything lik ethis before. Thank you 🙂

    • Sweet dessert soups are very common is Asia. However this one is very unique because of its special ingredients. I know that the original recipe might be hard for westerners to obtain the ingredients but please do give it a try with the substitutions and I think you will really enjoy it. Take care, BAM

  • I’ve never had rice balls before but they look really good. And I must say, I loved all of your photos.. thge bright colors really put a smile on my face toda

  • Hello Kay, that is my favorite part is the chewy little rice balls. they actually do not add flavor to the dish but give it its unique texture that is so commonly part of the desserts in Asia. Take Care, BAM

  • This is so interesting, you lead an amazing life!

    • I think each person leads a very different and amazing life it is just how your mind interprets it. Don’t you think? Take care, BAM

  • i suddenly have a hankering for chinese food!!!

    • I have many more chinese recipes under the category of Chinese cuisines. Please take a look to see what might fix your hankering.. Take Care, BAM

      • thanks so much. i will definitely check it out soon.

  • the festival sounds amazing. love the dessert soup 🙂

    • Thanks Tandy. I have been trying to read your mind so we don’t accidentally keep posting the same kinds of foods on our websites as we both have this rhythm going… I guess I was safe with Dessert soup.

  • Zoe @ Pantry and Fridge

    I love traditional ceremonies, traditions and such. It’s so interesting to me to see all the things I’ve never been part of growing up American.
    I have a dear friend from Hungary and some of her traditions and holiday foods are wonderful and fun to be a part of and enjoy.
    This looks really fun – glad to hear that beautiful duck was an attendee and not on the menu 🙂 I am partial to Ducks. Kinda have a thing for them.
    I really enjoy your days/posts. 🙂

    • I have always been drawn to others different from myself. I love enjoy learning about other cultures, languages and food. So much to learn and so many lovely new and interesting people to meet. I wish there were more hours in a day. BAM

  • Tong sui is the best part of the holiday in my opinion, next to the rest of the feast 🙂

    • You know there are so many dessert shops here in Hong Kong, have you ever been to any of them? I have a couple I like but you know they do not have an English name… LOL. BAM

  • I was hoping that little duck was for dinner! Am i mean?
    You are making me miss HK! Anyway I love tong sui and goji wolfberries! they are absolutely lovely in chinese savoury soups too! (and with exceptional health properties!)

  • How awesome is this! I love the guy holding the duck! I wish we had more tradition here in the US!

    • Create your own traditions, Jen. I have seen some of those creative dishes you make so you have it in you. BAM

  • What an experience! Beautiful photos, and such an enticing soup. It’s so different from anything I’ve tried before, which only makes me want to test out the recipe even more!

    • Thanks Hannah. It is a really unique recipe. We have these types of desserts all the time in Asia but not so much in the western world. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Take care, BAM

  • How wonderful to be a part of such a memorable event.

    • I am blessed to be able to take part in some of these activities. So many, so little time…

  • What a rarity and privilege to take part in this event. I had the pleasure of having a sweet glutinous rice ball soup at pre-wedding ceremonies we attended in China last year. Wondering if it’s the same…?

    • The glutinous balls are the same it is the soup base that is always different so many flavor combinations. Was yours a sweet red bean base? I find the sweet glutinous balls in the freezer section of our grocery store. Take care, BAM

  • Love Sai Kung. What’s the name of the remote bay you get a boat and then walk to in Sai Kung national park?

    • Andy, there are many options to obtain a boat in Sai Kung. Some take a boat from Sai Kung pier or from Hebe Haven pier to East Dam and the huge sea arches in Nine Pin and Ung Kong. Take Care

  • Jo-Lyn

    Interesting… =)

  • I love Tong Sui, and yours look yum! Japanese eat glutenous rice balls (mochi) but we eat very different way. I like this simple dessert.

    • Actually mochi is one of my Japanese favorite desserts and a weakness I have when venturing into B2 of Sogo department store. . I love it in the sweet bean soup. I used to love the holiday in Japan where we would all take part in pounding and making the mochi rice cakes.

  • Thank you for sharing this ritual! Sure your mouth was watering with the delicious Hakka foods on the table for offerings. Hope you will post some of those recipes.

  • Thank you. There are so many interesting dishes here in China it would take a lifetime to post them all but I will most certainly share some more of the traditions and festive dishes soon.

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