Show us your best black sesame sweet soup!
Show us your best black sesame sweet soup! Audrey/CC BY 2.0

Since we launched our food vertical, Gastro Obscura, last fall, we’ve been busy expanding Atlas Obscura’s offerings to include wondrous dishes and ingredients from around the world (to date, we’ve added more than 775 Gastro Obscura foods!). With the help of your suggestions, our personal lists of Want to Tries grows daily. So we thought it was high time to host our first ever cook-off, where we ask you to try making a Gastro Obscura dish at home and tell us about the experience.

For this first edition, we’re challenging Atlas Obscura readers to make black sesame sweet soup, a pitch-black dessert soup that’s creamy, nutty, and unforgettable all at once.

We’ve provided the basic ingredients list and directions below. Feel free to embellish or adjust the recipe however you’d like. For instance, some people like to add sweet dumplings.


1 cup of white rice (long grain or short grain)

1 cup of black sesame seeds

7–8 cups of water, depending on the desired consistency

1 cup of granulated sugar (add more sugar to taste)


1. Toast the black sesame seeds on low heat for 2 minutes in a skillet or wok, until they are fragrant.

2. Soak the toasted sesame seeds overnight in 2 cups of water.

3. Soak the uncooked rice in 2 cups of water overnight, or until soft.

4. Drain the rice and combine in a blender with 3 cups of water. Blend until smooth.

5. Drain the soaked seeds and combine in a blender with 1 cup of water. Blend until smooth.

6. Combine the blended seeds and rice in a soup pot, and add roughly 3 cups water. Add sugar as desired for flavor and consistency. Mix and bring to a boil.

7. Lower the heat, and simmer until thickened, about 5–10 minutes. Stir the soup regularly to prevent burning.

8. Serve warm. Expect to end up with 4 to 6 servings.

Once you’re done cooking your best black sesame sweet soup, tell us all about how it came out via the form below, along with an appetizing (or at least entertaining), Instagram-ready image of your dish, which you can email to The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, August 21. We’ll share our favorite submissions in an upcoming article. Thanks for helping us bring the world’s most wondrous foods to more kitchens, and let’s get cooking!

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