The sweet spot
SweetHoney Dessert6825 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95823
My Australian cousins thought I was crazy when I brought a can of pumpkin with me during a Christmas visit. I wanted a traditional pumpkin pie. This struck them as odd because they only use pumpkin in savory dishes, not sweet. It’s the same perception I tend to have toward Asian desserts with their use of beans in sweets. As Americans, we’re used to tasting beans in savory dishes, while in Asia you find red bean fillings in moon cakes, pastries and mochi. That said, I prefer Asian desserts because they’re less sweet, and I’m thrilled with the influx of Asian dessert spots in Sacramento, mostly found in Little Saigon.
The latest addition is SweetHoney Dessert on Stockton Boulevard. With over 600 locations in China, Southeast Asia and Australia, the company opened franchises in the United States starting in 2015. Closer to home, is its South Sac location and another in Davis.
The restaurants are small and often found at full capacity on weekends and evenings. Prices are reasonable ($4.50 to $13.95), so don’t be afraid to try a selection of desserts.
A favorite on our first visit was the Mango Pancake ($6.45), but don’t think flat and round. What arrived was likened to a cold Twinkie: large chunks of fresh mango that were juicy and at peak ripeness topped with a marshmallow-y vanilla cream and wrapped in a thin pancake.
The soup desserts at SweetHoney are served either hot or cold like the Stewed Hashima Jelly Soup with coconut milk, lotus seeds and snow fungus ($9.95). We enjoyed a warm coconut milk soup filled with ingredients that each had a distinct texture. The lotus seeds provided a nutty crunch that contrasted nicely with the gelatinous hashima and the chewy snow fungus.
In Chinese culture, dishes often include ingredients that tout a variety of health benefits. Unclear as to what all the ingredients were, we asked about the snow fungus and learned it was indeed a tree fungus used to treat dry coughs and increase bodily fluids.
The Walnut & Sesame Soup ($5.75) presented a new textural experience. Our server described how the nuts and seeds are pulverized, liquified and cooked. The soup arrived attractively plated in a signature square bowl with each soup perfectly poured diagonally. It was memorable not only for the appearance, but also texture. Imagine eating hot, really thinned out peanut butter and you’ll get the idea of this unusual mouthfeel. But it also left an unpleasant coating on our palates.
Tamer dishes are still plentiful at SweetHoney. On a second visit, the Snow Frost with mango and grass jellies ($5.95) showcased vanilla-shaved snow that was light and refreshing with an assortment of different toppings like fruit, beans and jellies. We also enjoyed the Mango Pomelo Sago and Green Jelly in Sweet Soup ($6.50), but were disappointed in the ratio of tofu pudding to mango soup. We felt the silky-smooth pudding should’ve been the highlight of the dessert versus the abundance of cold mango soup it floated in.
Don’t let the oddity of some of the above mentioned items deter you. A visit to SweetHoney is a simple stop for tame and recognizable desserts or an adventure in strange ingredients and health benefits.