Vietnamese food is already well-known as one of the best cuisines all over the world. But, do you know that Vietnamese desserts are delicious too? If you have a trip to Vietnam, I highly recommend you try the top 7 local Vietnamese desserts as will be introduced in this article. Each dessert comes from a region in Vietnam and reflects the Vietnamese culture.
Traditional Vietnamese desserts are not made from wheat because this plant is not grown in the country. Instead, sticky rice and mung beans are the main ingredients in most of the dishes. Vietnamese people have been so creative when using the two ingredients, together with sugar, honey, and salt to make a variety of sweets. Some desserts are made by stewing the ingredients, some are made by grilling or boiling them.
Cheese, cream, and chocolate, on the other hand, are not popularly used in Vietnamese desserts.
In the next sections, you will learn more about Vietnamese desserts, how they taste, and on which occasions Vietnamese people eat them.
Chè is a popular Vietnamese dessert in all regions in Vietnam. There are different recipes for chè but the main idea is stewing the beans or corns with water for a couple of hours, then sweetening the soup with sugar.
Vietnamese people usually eat chè with ice, sometimes with a pudding such as jelly, coconut milk, shredded coconut, tapioca pearls, and/or roasted peanuts. The dessert is often eaten as a snack between main meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) because you can get really full after eating chè. Chè is the best choice for summer because it helps cool you down when you eat it with ice.
There are more than 30 different types of chè from different ingredients, below are some examples:
Different types of chè have different flavors, so I encourage you to try as many types as you can.
Bánh trôi and bánh chay are made from sticky rice balls or glutinous rice balls. People put panela inside bánh trôi and mung beans inside bánh chay. After that, the stuffed sticky rice balls will be boiled until they float on the surface of the water in a pot. These two desserts are often garnished with brown sugar syrup or with ginger syrup, and sesame seeds. People usually eat bánh trôi when it's cold while they eat bánh chay when it's still hot.
Bánh trôi and bánh chay are often made and served during Cold Food Festival that is also celebrated in China and South Korea. However, in Vietnamese culture, the desserts have their own meaning.
There is a Vietnamese legend about original Vietnamese people born inside 100 eggs produced by The Mother called Âu Cơ. Her husband is Lạc Long Quân, who was very strong and intelligent. So, Bánh trôi and bánh chay represent the eggs. The festival is also celebrated in Vietnam to show gratitude towards Vietnamese elders.
Vietnamese mooncakes are usually made and sold before and during the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Tết Trung Thu in Vietnamese. There are two types of mooncake in Vietnam, bánh dẻo and bánh nướng.
Bánh dẻo is a white cake, which is made from roasted glutinous rice flour, mung bean paste, pomelo blossom essence, sugar syrup, and salted egg yolk. All ingredients are well cooked separately. After that, people fill the ingredients inside a layer of sticky rice paste and round them like a ball. The last step to make bánh dẻo is to put the stuffed sticky rice ball in a mold, press it hard. The final result will be a beautifully sculptured white pastry.
Bánh nướng is made from wheat flour, salted egg yolk, different kinds of seeds, dried Chinese sausage, and some pieces of pig fat. All ingredients will be stuffed inside a wheat ball, then the ball is also sculptured with a mold. Bánh nướng needs to be baked in the oven before being served. Nowadays, there are different types of bánh nướng with different fillings such as smoked salmon, black beans, red beans.
Bánh dẻo and bánh nướng are sweet and usually contain a lof of calories. They are often served with hot green tea during the festival.
In Vietnam, people eat ice cream with sticky rice. This might sound weird to you but it actually tastes quite good. You can combine any kind of ice cream with sticky rice, such as coconut-flavored, vanilla-flavored, or chocolate-flavored ice cream. Some people also dress some condensed milk on top, add peanuts or dried coconuts.
Ice cream with sticky rice is a perfect dessert for hot weather in Vietnam in summer.
Bánh bò nướng is a traditional dessert in An Giang, a province in Southwest Vietnam. It is sweet and looks like a honeycomb. The green color of the Vietnamese honeycomb cake comes from pandan leaves. In addition, rice flour, water, sugar, and yeast are used to make this beautiful dessert.
We always have a room for desserts. I hope your stay in Vietnam is long enough for you to try all the traditional desserts in this country. It is fun to know the ingredients in the desserts you try, and how they relate to Vietnamese culture.
I suggest that you learn Vietnamese phrases for food and vegetables from the Ling app, so next time you can explore what is inside your Vietnamese dessert. Even better, you can follow a traditional recipe to make an authentic Vietnamese sweet. Good luck!