Traditional Tong-Sui at Sweet-i in Sungai Dua, Penang

* This article was published in the New Straits Times (Life & Times) on 7th November 2010.

I have been devouring tong-sui (Chinese dessert) stalls for years, so it was a great discovery when I finally found Sweet-i. The tong-sui stall operated by Soon and his wife for the last few years in Sungai Dua, has a wonderful sweet range of Chinese style desserts.

Previously located on the roadside at Jalan Helang, the tong-sui stall has since shifted into a nearby house. Customers can enjoy the desserts with sit-down service in the comfort setting of the house.

Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang

There is definitely something sweet for everyone in Sweet-i. The stall has a rather wide range of desserts, with ten different types per day.  The menu changes depending on the availability of ingredients. The prices for these sweet soups are reasonable, around RM2 per bowl. The dessert menu which includes Black Sesame, Bubur Cha Cha, White Fungus, ‘Gui Ling Gao’ (Herbal Jelly), Almond and Red Bean, is clearly written along with the prices and displayed in front and beside the counter.

The black glutinous rice (bubur pulut hitam) is boiled with pandan (screwpine) leaves with a smooth texture. Some opt to have it serve with a touch of richness of the coconut milk while others like it the way it is. Either way, it is just warming. The bubur comes in two prices, a packet at RM1.50, with a container at RM1.80.

Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang

The special of the day was the black sesame, at RM4 per bowl. This reminds me of the  time I encountered this tong-sui in All About Sugar & Gift. I happily pounce on this dessert which is dreadfully difficult-to-get in Penang. I was astounded and pleasantly surprised by this soothing black sesame tong-sui. Made from freshly grinded black sesame, the tong-sui was awesome, bursting with flavor.

Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang

On the other hand, I could not resist the wheat porridge (bubur gandum).  Boiled together with brown sugar and coconut milk, the bubur maintained an equally creamy texture but could not yield a robust flavor. Known as Mak Zuk in Cantonese, it  is sold for RM1.50 per packet and RM1.80 per container.

Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang

The red bean soup is one of the most popular Chinese dessert. Sweet-i has it done in two ways, boiling it to a thin clear soup with scent from the Mandarin peel and the thick creamy version (only on Monday and Friday).

Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang

RM1.50 per packet/RM1.80 per container

You can drink your way to coolness at Sweet-i. There is a concoction with ingredients of sha shen, winter melon, red dates and fungus. This soup is said to be a good antidote for cooling down the body as explained by the owner. This simple refreshing drink cost RM2.50 per pack and RM2.80 per container.

Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang

Most of the Lou Han Guo soup sold around town tend to have too much soup, very few ingredients and overly sweet. However the version in Sweet-i comes with a great combination of  ingredients, including pieces of lotus seed, Chinese almond,  dried longan and florets of white fungus.

It was really satisfying with a subtle sweet taste. A container of this tong-sui cost RM2.80, while optional add-on of gingko cost RM1. I bought a container of this dessert and left chilled in the refrigerator. Leftovers are delicious either taken cold or reheated.

Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang

Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang

Equally notable is the Bo-Bo Cha-Cha, a coconut milk base tong-sui with colorful pieces of roots – orange, yellow and purple plus other ingredients of sago pearls and green jelly.

Besides serving the Bo-Bo Cha-Cha at room temperature, Sweet-i had this dessert taken to a whole new level by serving it with added shaved ice. This icy version is indeed satisfying on a hot day. A packet of this fragrant dessert cost RM2.20 while a container cost RM2.50.

Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang

Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang

Icy version of Bo-Bo Cha-Cha


There are two types of peanut tong-sui, the clear peanut tong-sui (thor tau jin th’ng) at RM1.50 and the thick creamy version at RM3. I am looking forward to try the thick version which is only available on Wednesday and Saturday.

Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang

Sweet-i has two blend of “Yi Mai” (barley). The clear version has pieces of fu chuk (dried beancurd strips), barley and pumpkin. I was a bit surprised to find the pumpkin as  it is not commonly used in this soup.  Tasty for some, but I still prefer the whitish version which is boiled with fu chuk, barley and fungus.

Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang

RM2.50 per packet/RM2.80 per container

Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang

RM2.20 per packet/RM2.50 per container

The lemon, fungus, golden pear, kei jee and coralline algae (san hu cao) soup is a light and refreshing soup which is considered by many to be good for health.

Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang

This sweet temptations shop house is worth seeking out if you are looking for a place to indulge in desserts. The varieties of desserts that I had were both comforting and pleasant. Click here for the Map Location. Sweet-i is located along a row of houses in the service road which faces Jalan Sungai Dua (diagonally opposite Tesco Sg Dua).

Tong-Sui – Chinese Sweet Concoctions at Sweet-i, Sungai Dua Penang

Sweet-i
727F, Jalan Sungai Dua
Penang

Tel :  012 4853627   (Mr Soon)

Business Hour: 2pm – 9pm

Closed on Thursday

GPS Coordinates : N05.351361, E100.298500

***Updated on July 2012  : The have shifted to No.41, Jalan Nipah, Taman Lip Sin, 11900 Pulau Pinang.

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