White Fungus (Snow Ear Fungus) Sweet Soup with Papaya | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

White Fungus (Snow Ear Fungus) Sweet Soup with Papaya

White Fungus aka Snow Ear Fungus Sweet Soup with Papaya

We have a couple of ‘white foods’ in this dessert – the white fungus (snow ear fungus), the Chinese south and north almonds, which according to Chinese herbalists, are good for nourishing our respiratory systems and lungs. Having downed a bowl of this, my dry throat soothed a bit yet not sure how much the collagen content from the white fungus had improved my skin complexion (because some call it poor man’s bird nest).

Chinese almonds and white fungus are said to synergize the benefits of each other. That explains why they three always appear together in Chinese soups, sweet or savory.

Pairing papaya with the white ingredients is just one way to add more flavor, taste, and texture to the sweet soup. Variations could be endless; I interchangeably include red dates, or lotus seeds, or or dried longan, or wolfberries.

Making this sweet soup is easy although it requires hours of boiling. I rested the white ingredients in a slow cooker (mine is a 1.5L) and let them simmer in water. It was only toward the end of boiling that I attended the soup and added the rock sugar and papaya. I have prepared here a small amount for two, do adjust the quantities as required.

White Fungus aka Snow Ear Fungus Sweet Soup with Papaya in Slow Cooker

Cooking tender white fungus
There are plenty of varieties of white fungus. In my simple classification, I divide them into two types, crunchy or tender, the texture they attain after boiled. To me, it is not easy to tell from their dried form which is which, so I always like to buy white fungus at herbal shops and ask for my preferred type than getting those pre-packaged in supermarkets.

I love to swallow white fungus that is silky and tender in soups. If you are in the same school as me but have bought the crunchy type, then you may try to re-boil it the next day. The crunchy type (which I usually reserve for stir-fries) I have ever had turns into smooth and tender pieces after the second boil. Try to see if this trick also applies to yours.

Ingredients for White Fungus aka Snow Ear Fungus Sweet Soup with Papaya

  • Ingredients
  • 1 dried white fungus 雪耳, ~15g
  • 1/2 small papaya, ~100g, peeled and cut into bite size
  • 1 tbsp south almond 南杏, aka sweet apricot kernels
  • 1 tbsp north almond 北杏, aka bitter almonds
  • ~30g rock sugar or raw rock sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups water


Soak snow ear fungus in water for half to an hour or until it softened and roughly doubled in size. Discard water. Trim the firm part from its bottom (a separate post here has the details and photos).

Tear or cut the fungus into smaller pieces resembling petals. Wash them in a colander under running to remove any dirt. Drain dry.

Wash almonds, soak them in water for about 15 minutes. Discard water.

Put white fungus, almonds, and water in slow cooker. Bring them to a boil and cook for another 4 hours (in my 110W 1.5L slow cooker). You may need a shorter boiling time if using a higher power cooker.

Add sugar and papaya to the soup, and boil until the sugar is dissolved, 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve hot and enjoy!

White Fungus aka Snow Ear Fungus Sweet Soup with Papaya

Choose a papaya that is not too ripe, or it will turn mashy after boiled.

If you are using your slow cooker the first time to cook this, check it out after the soup is bring to the boil to make sure it does not spill over.

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  1. Smoky Wok (Jen)

    Thanks for the lovely explanation between the two types of white fungus and I love this nourishing and delicious dessert you have here 🙂 Looks so good!

  2. Pat

    Thank you for your post, enjoy reading and admire and appreciate the clear information you share with all. Have a good nice n beautifful days…

  3. Lucy L

    Love this post, thanks for sharing all these tong shui recipes. The photos with descriptions of ingredient is brilliant, I’ve not heard of raw rock sugar til i read your post =)

  4. TasteHongKong

    @Smoky Wok,
    Thanks! Enjoy soon.

    Thanks! You too.

    @Lucy L,
    Thanks and hope you will soon enjoy these tong sui 糖水 (sweet soup). The raw rock sugar is nice, worth searching for.

  5. Yi @ Yi Resevation

    Thanks for sharing this nice dessert. Great pictures!

  6. Liz @ Chef Basket

    Lovely photo. Not the most appetizing name for a delicious recipe.

  7. mycookinghut

    Another lovely tong sui!! I love it!

  8. tigerfish

    Initially I thought we made the same sweet soup! cos I saw the orange cubes among the snow fungus ( I used some sweet potatoes in this sweet soup recently…well it’s not easy to get good papayas over here)

  9. ju

    I did not know that papaya is only added during the last 10 mins. Thought it must be cooked for a longer time for the flavor to come out. Thanks for all the tong shui recipes.

  10. lena

    me too prefer the softer type of white fungus and i do not know the crunchy type can turn softer with a 2nd boil. But now, whenever i buy white fungus, i just make sure i get the softer type. This is a very soothing dessert, love that! oh, i just read your previous post abt the hard core of the fungus that can be used for facial..next time i shall try that ..maybe as a scrub!

  11. noobcook

    I really love this. It’s great for the throat and lungs.

  12. TasteHongKong

    Thank you for sharing.

    You are welcome.
    In this recipe, I think it is the sweet soup that flavors and sweetens the papaya. Because it is only briefly boiled, the papaya retains much of its texture thus giving us a good ‘mouthfeel’.

    If all possible, everything I put on my face I’ll try it on my hands first. Anyway, hope you enjoy using it as a scrub.

    Sorry for my delayed response. I was having problems (seemed to be with the server) in updating and publishing a new post. It was only until 2:00 a.m. this morning that I was able to publish the new post, and delayed getting back to you.

  13. Lori

    This dish has me completely intrigued. Several of the ingredients here are completely new to me. It looks delicious!

  14. anna

    I just found your blog today and I love it. It’s full of unfamiliar flavours that I look forward to exploring…

  15. TasteHongKong

    Just feel free to surf around, thanks!

  16. Judis

    So raunchy…
    “I love to swallow”

  17. Sandy Hoang

    I was told that this white fungus with papaya together can not be consumed if leave overnight. The white fungus will become poison. Can you please tell me whether this is true? Thanks for your response!

  18. TasteHongKong

    @Sandy Hoang,
    That sounds similar to the case of some vegetables, which if cooked and left over to eat for the next day may allow bacteria to produce carcinogenic material. I can’t agree or disagree with what you have been told, but to be on the safe side, you may want to eat it soonest.

  19. aishah

    Urgent! can you tell me what ingredient is used to add sweetness to the Snow Fungus Papaya Dessert? i hope that you can give the answer asap. tq

  20. TasteHongKong

    Rock sugar. Please excuse me for my delayed reply.

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