汤圆 (tang yuan) is a Chinese dessert made from glutinous rice flour that is mixed with a little bit of water to form the ball shape that houses multiple fillings, and then cooked in boiling water. Tang yuans can be whatever size you make them to be and are usually served in ginger or sweet soup unless other paste variations are available.
They are traditionally eaten during Chinese weddings and Winter Solstice Festival, which usual falls towards the end of December when the weather is a little more cooling. Families also indulge in it on special occasions such as birthdays and family reunions.
So here’s a list for you and your loved ones to use to hunt down the best Tang Yuan places in the lion city. Who says you’ll have to wait till December to enjoy it? They are easily available all around Singapore, to be enjoyed all year round.
The tang yuans are large and soft, but is limited to only one flavour, which is the sesame paste. The paste is slightly clumpy and the ginger soup could be less mild and more fragrant but the price is dead reasonable. I mean, six balls for $2.80 is unheard of.
Address: 480 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, HDB Hub, #B1-01, Singapore 310480 | Opening Hours: Daily, 7am – 10pm
Ah Chew is perhaps most famous for their bold dessert broths that the tang yuans (3 for $1.20) are doused in. The famed Durian Green Bean Soup with Seaweed is one of a kind and cannot be found anywhere else.
The tang yuans themselves are pretty delicious and come in sesame or peanut fillings. The tang yuans are soft and melts in your mouth. The ginger soup was warm and complemented the sweetness of the tang yuans.
Address: 1 Liang Seah Street, #01-11 | Opening hours: Mon – Thurs 12.30pm – 11.30pm, Friday 12.30pm-12.30am, Saturday 1.30pm-12.30am, Sunday 1.30pm-11.30pm | Website
Tau huay (soy beancurd) with tang yuans ($1.60) may be too heavy for some, but I reckon that this is a really good combination. I liked how it was done traditionally, without the jelly-like texture.
The tau huay was silky and the almond syrup was delicious and decadent. As for the tang yuans, although they weren’t as smooth, they were bursting with paste. The peanut paste in particular was crunchy, making these them a joy to munch on.
Address: 247 Jln Kayu, Singapore 799471 | Opening Hours: Mon – Thurs & Sun 7.30am – 12am, Fri & Sat 7.30am – 1am | Tel: 6758 5658 | Website
Tang yuan with tau huay ($1.70) The tau huay was really smooth. It is also sliced thinner than above-mentioned Selegie soya bean.
This is the perfect mid-afternoon snack that will revive your energy right back up if you’re feeling lethargic. The tang yuans may be slightly sticky but the paste was definitely smooth and flowed really well. This bowl of dessert goodness made my tummy really happy.
Address: 232 Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 574 | Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 12pm – 2am, Sun 12pm – 12am | Tel: 8288 7020
Away from the hustle and bustle of Chinatown, this is a great option to have dessert at if you’re completely tired of waiting for a spot a Mei Heong Yuen Dessert. Quiet and cooling, you can eat your tang yuans ($2.5o) in peace here, without having to queue up or fight for a seat.
Although the pastes are not the best in this list, the tang yuan itself is silky and smooth. Good to sink your teeth in. The pastes could be less thick and more flowy to give you the grainy textures when you bite into it. Other than that, the ginger soup pretty much made the tang yuans super delicious.
Address: 28 Upper Cross St, Singapore 058337 | Opening Hours: Daily 10.30am – 10.30pm | Tel: 62230562 | Website
Ren Ren Desserts is helmed by an old, loving couple who shares a passion for serving amazing homemade desserts. The tang yuans here are the bomb.
A hidden gem in the East, this humble dessert store is worth a try. The tang yuans ($2.30) are chewy yet soft. The sesame paste is also really thick and not too sweet. Served in a perfectly boiled peanut soup to complement the flavour of the sesame paste, you won’t ever look at this dessert store the same way ever again.
Address: 865 Mountbatten Road, B1-66, Katong Shopping Centre, Singapore 437844 | Tel: 9117 8228 | Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 1pm – 8.30pm & Sundays 1pm – 7pm
Located in the less busy second floor of Amoy Street’s famous food centre, Zhen Jie Dessert Ah Balling serves at least 200 bowls of tang yuans in peanut soup ($2.00) every day despite its location.
The peanut soup is consistent but not too thick and the peanut paste inside of the tang yuans is super creamy. The soup is certainly sweeter than most peanut soups in Singapore.
The tang yuans itself isn’t as bouncy but it is so soft that it will melt in your mouth. Trust me, these tang yuans are worth climbing a flight of stairs.
Address:#02-113, Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Road, 069111 | Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 10pm – 3:30pm, Closed on Sat, Sun & PH | Tel: 96521940
Dessert Station is manned by a friendly lady. She never fails to say hello with a smile and is truly passionate about the art of serving a good bowl of dessert.
Having stumbled upon it several times again and again as I make my rounds around the food centre, I decided that I should finally try it and it was one of the best decisions I have made in life (no kidding).
The tang yuans ($2.00) are really soft and sags over your spoon perfectly. The ginger soup is also really soothing and not too sweet.
The paste explodes out of the chewy ball and into your mouth. The texture of the paste is really is smooth and slowly flows out of the tang yuan, imitating a mini and mild volcanic explosion. Definitely worth making a pit stop here if you’re still hungry after your meal.
Address: Chinatown Complex Market and Food Centre, 335 Smith St #02-132, 050335 | Opening Hours: Daily 10am – 9pm
Mei Heong Yuen Dessert specializes in different Chinese desserts. Often packed with customers, the desserts are guaranteed to wow you over. Especially the tang yuans ($2.50).
These tang yuans were unexpectedly bouncy and had a smooth grainy textured paste. Both peanut and sesame pastes were equally delicious and the ginger soup was really balanced. It’s no wonder why people flock here after dinner.
Address: 63-67 Temple Street, Chinatown, 058611 | Opening Hours: Tues – Sun 12pm – 9.30pm, Closed | Tel: 6221 1156 | Website
If you know anybody who loves tang yuan and ask them which is the best place to get your tang yuan fix, they’ll probably say 75 Ah Balling Peanut Soup. With customers begging them to open up more stalls across the city, there has to be something so special about these tang yuans, right?
That’s right. These tang yuans (4 for $1.70 and 5 for $2.00) are so soft and velvety, your teeth will sink into them instantly. Moreover, they come in five different flavours, besides the usual two. They also come in green tea, red bean, and yam. I say the yam is really delicious even though I’m a huge fan of sesame. The peanut is also super, super crunchy! Omnomnomnom.
Lastly, the paste bursts out of the tang yuans once you bite into them so just chew on the whole tang yuan and finish it in one mouth.
Address: 505 Beach Rd, Singapore 199583 | Opening Hours: Tues – Sun 6.30am – 5pm, Closed on Mondays | Tel: 6293 8702 | Website