Since gaining our independence in 1776, American ingenuity and love of sugar have joined forces to concoct amazing desserts that have helped make Americans’ waist lines great! Yes, apple pie, fruit cobblers, brownies, chocolate chip cookies and s’mores will always be favorites and a source of patriotic pride. However, there are always new, sumptuous treats from faraway lands to sample in Tempe’s myriad restaurants serving international cuisines. Here are a few globally inspired confections that will seduce your taste buds and expand your dessert horizons.
The Middle East – Baklava
Haji-Baba | 1513 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 894-1905
Polish off a satisfying Middle Eastern meal of gyro or chicken shawarma plate with a piece of the heavenly Haji-Baba baklava. This classic Middle Eastern dessert is composed of delicate layers of phyllo dough, filled with chopped nuts and laced with a honey syrup. You can have your baklava with walnuts, pistachios or cashews, or if you can’t decide on one type of nut filling, order the oh so regal Queen Baklava which is filled with all three. A piece of Haji-Baba baklava and a cup of their rich Arabian coffee makes an excellent afternoon pick-me-up that will keep you going hours.
Italian – Budino al Cioccolato
Spinato’s Pizzera | 96 S. Rockford Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 967-0020
As with all things Spinato’s, the Budino al Cioccolato is amazing and a reason to go to Spinato’s other than for their equally yummy pizza. It’s arguably the best chocolate pudding, you’ll ever taste, especially if you love the dark chocolate and orange combo. The custard is a luxuriously rich dark chocolate with just a subtle hint of orange. The candied pecans sprinkled on top are a lovely crunchy contrast to the velvety, pudding. It’s elegant and decadent. It’s bellissimo!
India – Ice Cream
Curry & Scoop | 1805 E. Elliot Rd., #106, Tempe, AZ 85284 | (480) 838-0200
Sure, you’ve had ice cream all your life, but you probably haven’t tried the tantalizing Indian flavors at Curry & Scoop. How about Gulkhand, a rose petal ice cream, or Kesar (Saffron) Almond or Carrot Halwa? They carry all of your favorite American flavors of ice cream, but they make all of their Indian inspired ice cream in house. Not only are these exotic treats a surprise for your taste buds, they are also super refreshing on a hot Arizona day.
Japan – Pastries
Arai Pastry | 1335 W. University Dr., Ste. 4, Tempe, AZ 85201 | (480) 966-9002
East meets West at this appealing little place that’s known for its beautifully decorated, made-to-order cakes and traditional Japanese pastries called pan. (Pan is the Japanese word for bread, which was first introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in the 1500s.) They are little buns stuffed with sweet or savory fillings like bean cured (An Pan) and custard (Cream Pan). These yummy little bites of yeast pastry are light, fluffy and not-too-sweet–the perfect snack or desert. Arai Pastry also serves sandwiches, salads and coffee.
Hong Kong – Bubble waffle (also called egg waffle or egg puff) and bubble tea
Mango Rabbit | 1250 E. Apache Blvd., #112, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 912-6283
This hidden gem is located on the Northwest corner of Dorsey and Apache Blvd. Its globally inspired concept features fresh ingredients only and a fun spin on eating your made-to-order bubble waffle or boba drink. We recommend the Godiva Dark Chocolate Bubble Waffle. It’s quite the process to make as they create their waffles on the bubble waffle iron as ordered. It turns into the most beautiful masterpiece (absolutely photogenic) with tasty toppings. If time isn’t on your side, be sure to check out one of their tasty non-dairy milk teas, more specifically we LOVED the Tiramisu as it was recommended to us and was very sweet.
Where do you like to grab your globally-inspired desserts in Tempe, Arizona? Tell us in the comments.
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