From Chinatown to Koreatown to the lesser-known Vietnamese hub of Little Saigon, New York City houses an array of Asian enclaves bursting with history, culture, and change. In fact, we have these immigrant communities to thank for New York’s matcha craze, kooky creameries, and much more. Here are 10 of our favorite Asian dessert spots in New York City.
The 1950s-style Hong Kong waffles have arrived in modern-day New York City courtesy of Wowfulls. These retro treats, which pack a crispy exterior and soft inside, come in delicious flavors, including green tea and chocolate, and feature toppings such as ice cream, Pocky sticks, or even fried chicken for a sweet-meets-savory snack. A local Instagram-favorite, Wowfulls is open on the weekends at popular foodie fest Smorgasburg and every day at the spot’s East Village brick-and-mortar location.
Don’t let taiyaki’s literal translation—“fried fish”—fool you; the Insta-worthy offerings at Taiyaki NYC are sweeter than Snapper. Here, fish-shaped waffle pastries are baked and filled with sweet red beans, custard, or soft-serve ice cream in Asian-inspired flavors such as matcha and black sesame. Enticing seasonal specials, including pumpkin spice soft-serve and croissant taiyaki, make this Chinatown creamery a year-round destination for New York City dessert lovers.
Occupying a one-block radius in Manhattan, small-but-mighty Koreatown is home to over 100 small businesses. Among the enclave’s offerings is Grace Street Cafe, a gourmet café specializing in Asian indulgences. Sugar seekers will love the hot spot’s Korean-style doughnuts, green tea ice cream waffles, and red bean and mochi affogato.
Local institution Chinatown Ice Cream Factory has been upping New York City’s ice cream game for over 30 years. This pioneering shop, which dishes out unexpected Asian flavors such as Chinese almond cookie, egg custard, and durian, paved the way for today’s bevy of “out there” ice cream spots. Visit this family-run restaurant for jelly bubbles and mochi-topped cones, Chinese ice cream layer cakes, and to see where your artisan ice cream obsession all started.
Drawing inspiration from France, Japan, and Europe, Patisserie Tomoko creates confections with a cosmopolitan flair. Green tea crème brûlée, black sesame macarons, earl grey-chocolate mochi, and more round out the spot’s selection of genre-bending bites. As if the patisserie’s daring desserts could get any better, the Williamsburg-based business also offers a three-course dessert flight complemented by your choice of wine or sake.
Specializing in dessert tapas as sweet to look at as they are to eat, Spot Dessert Bar is a cult-favorite destination of Insta-obsessed foodies. Classic confections are reimagined through a contemporary Asian lens here, where dessert-loving locals share menu items such as green tea-ramisu, chocolate green tea lava cake, and Japanese layer cakes.
Say “no” to Nutella®—the Asian-inspired offerings at T-Swirl Crêpe will change the way you feel about this quintessentially French dish. Here, super-sized crêpes come stuffed with matcha custard cream, lychees, chocolate Pocky sticks, and much more. Hours vary depending on location.
One of many bakeries in the Asian enclave of Chinatown, Fay Da Bakery stands out for the sheer volume of its offerings, which include both sweet and savory options. From the recognizable Oriental sugar cookies and Japanese cheesecake to the excitingly unfamiliar taro pudding cake, coconut-peanut mochi, and lotus puffs, Fay Da’s desserts are sure to appease any appetite. Please note that the hours vary from location to location.
French confections get the Asian treatment at family-run business Bibble and Sip. Matcha cream puffs, black sesame and almond croissants, and yuzu-matcha macarons are just a sampling of the creative concoctions whipped up in this multi-cultural kitchen.
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