These Cantonese-inspired meals are made with natural sweetening alternatives

Mary Tang shares Cantonese-inspired sweetening alternatives like monk fruit and longan pulp.
February 25, 2020 2:24 p.m. EST
February 26, 2020 12:34 p.m. EST
Cutting back on added sugar doesn't have to mean starving your sweet tooth entirely! A lot of Asian cuisine uses natural sweeteners for that extra-flavourful punch, making it the perfect way to still get your sweets without all the negative effects, and stopping by The Social to whip up some Cantonese-inspired sweetening alternatives is the food blogger behind Mary’s Happy Belly, Mary Tang. She shared not only some great ways to enjoy sweets without the guilt, but also some delicious recipes that will get rid of your cravings with ease.Check out the recipes by clicking on the images, and watch the video above for our whole chat with Mary!


Monk Fruit sweetener is a popular alternative to sweetening food over white sugar found at health food stores. The scientific name is siraitia grosvenori and it’s called “luo han guo ” in Cantonese. The fruit is from China and has been used for centuries for medicinal uses and a sweetener. The fresh fruit is green but it’s normally sold dried at Asian grocery stores, as it’s hard to store and imported from China. Based on traditional Chinese medicine, many ingredients can be seen to have cooling, neutral, or heat properties (yin and yang) and monk fruit is considered a great thirst quencher with cooling properties.

Monk fruit tea

Pork and apple soup


Dates are sweet and really so good for you, as they are high in fiber and nutrients, and also versatile. For an amazing dipping sauce, just soak the dates in water, then blend them with hot water. If you don’t find the paste sweet enough, add more dates.

Pork back ribs with Chinese 5-spice date sauce and a spicy apple sauce


Most fruits are great to caramelize - bananas, apples, cranberries, pineapples to figs. You can use freshly squeezed orange or pomegranate juice instead of sugar to cook it down, or unsweetened apple juice. You can add oil to saute them down or use any of those juices to add to the fruits to bring out the sugars in the fruits. For vegetables, squash, leeks,and carrots also caramelize well.

Caramelized onions on toast


Longan is a tropical fruit and the longan pulp is the dried edible fruit without the shell and seeds and becomes soft when cooked in liquid. It's similar to a lychee, but less aromatic in taste.The name comes from Cantonese lùhng-ngáahn which means 'dragon eye' because it resembles an eyeball when its fruit is shelled.

Chinese sweet potato and ginger dessert

[video_embed id='1885642']BEFORE YOU GO: Cut back on sugar with these family-friendly recipes[/video_embed]

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