Sugar Marmalade (Scarborough)
Sugar Marmalade is a mini-chain serving Toronto traditional Chinese desserts with modern twists.
Around since 2010, the idea behind Sugar Marmalade is to popularize Chinese dessert culture. Though most Chinese desserts are originally soupy, they’ve added unconventional toppings like ice cream and fruit to traditional fare like sago and tofu pudding.
This is not the first Sugar Marmalade location nor is it the largest, but the narrow space isn’t the smallest either with tables suitable for four.
Golden Treasures Mixed ($7.99) is a soupy but fruity version of sago with a mango juice base, aloe, popping yogurt bubbles, chunks of mango and a scoop of vanilla ice cream all topped with shreds of grapefruit pulp.
Fresh Fruits with Sago Mixed and Pearl Delight ($7.49) describes a dish of sago topped with unconventional chewy rice ball “pearl delight,” a mix of crisp fruits and a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with mango and chocolate sauce that add more texture to the dessert.
Coco Torpedos ($9.99) are an example of a more inventive dessert. For the Red Coco Torpedo, a red bean dumpling is nestled in stewed egg white inside of a hollowed-out coconut.
This is where things start to get a little more creative and DIY: coconut juice, basil seed, chewy rice balls, and red bean are presented on the side to mix in a little at a time to your liking.
The red bean and red bean dumpling are both rich and go well with the chewy dumpling dough and creamy, sweet coconut.
Traditional Tofu Pudding ($8.99) is similarly interactive. The dish arrives as a liquid in a container that you pour soy milk into and cover without disturbing. After a timer goes off the pudding is set into a jelly.
You get one free topping of your choice out of mango, strawberry, pearl delight and others. Savoury sweet potato and taro delight are an extra $2, and red bean, almond or sesame soup is an extra $3.
There’s also a little brown sugar on the side to sweeten up this slightly bland but warm and jiggly dessert.
Japanese Style Popcorn Chicken ($9.99) is topped with mayo sauce, okonomiyaki sauce, shreds of salty nori and funky, umami bonito flakes that dance on top of the crispy nuggets while they’re still warm.
Italian sodas are $5.99 and while refreshing, a strawberry and lime version is almost as sweet as the desserts here. All the drinks have to be stirred well; this one has all of the strawberry syrup at the bottom.
There’s open WiFi here with the password posted on each table next to a server call button.