Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, July 18 – Black sesame is another food/drink that you don’t see much in the USA but it is common in China. It is often used in desserts as a soup/paste/porridge or drink, or as a filling inside rice balls. For the soup, it is usually mixed with rice, water and sugar. You can buy “instant” powder that you just add water to, or, it’s supposed to be easy to make your own, but we haven’t done that yet! We have found that the powder in the supermarkets also usually have milk and peanuts in them (a no-no for me!). The brand we buy is from Hong Kong and is peanut and dairy free and has less sugar than the others. You can also buy special flavors like red date, walnut, etc. Black sesame is also used in Traditional Chinese medicine as it is high in B vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin E. It is used for anti-aging, a lactation aid for nursing mothers, and to treat anemia, digestion and constipation, and to reduce blood pressure! I don’t know why, but it tends to keep me awake at night, so I stick to having it in the daytime. I like to add enough water to drink it, but I think it is supposed to be thicker if you have it true Chinese-style. The supermarkets have quite a large section as you can see by the area of black packages in the picture. On one side is oatmeal and the other is walnut milk powder.