You’ll be Horrified By How Much Sugar Our Local Desserts Actually Have

Local desserts – our favourite go-to whenever our sweet tooth acts up. A bowl of cheng tng please? How about bubor cha cha? In this sunny island, we tend to head towards our local shops to catch a bowl of ice Kacang whenever the heat gets the best of us. 

However, are you aware how much sugar intake you are subjecting yourself to whenever you consume these local desserts? 

Cheng tng


A popular Chinese dessert, there are many variations of cheng tng and the standard bowl will consist of white fungus, longan, sago, barley, and dried dates swimming in a rock sugar-sweetened soup.

For many of us, a bowl of cheng tng brings comfort whenever we need to cool down in Singapore. What you didn’t know is that a bowl of cheng tng is equivalent in sugar content to a slice of chocolate cake. According to The Straits Times, the World Health Organisation (WHO) dropped its recommended daily sugar limit to 6 teaspoons, or 25g, in 2015. One bowl of cheng tng exceeds this limit by 60%, or 15g. Shocking?

Bubor Cha Cha


This thick coconut milk Asian dessert is sweet and hearty, and it is usually boiled with sweet potato, yam and jelly, served in a sweet coconut milk base soup. Colourful and eye-catching, it satisfies our craving in an instance.

As sweet as it seems, a bowl of bubor cha cha is almost equivalent in sugar content to 12 marshmallows (38g). Yet, 38g of sugar already exceeded the WHO’s daily sugar intake limit for adults by 13g. Perhaps it is too sweet to be true?

Tang Yuan 


Tang yuan is a traditional Chinese food that is most commonly eaten during Winter Solstice Day and Chinese New Year, but now, they are enjoyed all year round. It consists of glutinous rice flour balls, filled with roasted peanut and cooked in water with rock sugar syrup.

Remember your weekly milk tea drink? A bowl of tang yuan soup (29g of sugar) is 5g of sugar more than your typical milk tea with pearls. Yet, 29g of sugar already exceeds the WHO’s daily sugar intake limit for adults by 4g. Now who rather wants a milk tea?

Sesame Paste


Sesame paste- my favourite local dessert of all times. Typically served as a hot dessert, it has a thick paste consisting of roasted and blended black sesame seeds, cooked with corn starch, water and rock sugar. Doesn’t that sound delicious?

However, a bowl of black sesame paste (51g of sugar) has roughly the same sugar content as a hot fudge sundae. This has already exceeded WHO’s daily sugar intake limit for adults by 26g. (What?!)

Ice Jelly with Mixed Fruit


A simple, yet refreshing dessert that we all just can’t seem to get enough of. Crushed ice served with plain jelly and tinned fruit, ice jelly with mixed fruit definitely kept us going in this sunny island.

If we were to put it on a comparison list, a bowl of ice jelly with mixed fruit has slightly more sugar content than a can of soda and almost as much as a slice of chocolate cake. Funny how this dessert just doesn’t seem as fattening as a slice of chocolate cake, yet it has the capacity to hold just as much sugar. 

Now that you’re aware of your amount of sugar intake, maybe it’s time to start sharing your bowl of dessert with your friends instead of eating it all by yourself. It reduces your sugar intake- sharing is caring anyway. Now isn’t that sweet? 

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Vanessa Ong

Vanessa Ong

An eighteen-year-old girl who is fond of words and the wonders of the world. Perpetually lost in her own thoughts, easily excitable and appreciates a great deal of humour.
Vanessa Ong