Vietnam is a country known for its rich and diverse cuisine, particularly Vietnamese desserts. From refreshing iced desserts to warm baked goodies, there are plenty of delicious desserts to try during your Vietnam travel journey. Read on to find the top 10 picks for Vietnamese desserts to start your culinary exploration.
1. Best Vietnamese desserts? Vietnamese sweet soup (Che)
Vietnamese sweet soup, or "che", is a traditional dessert enjoyed throughout Vietnam. Made from a variety of ingredients such as beans, fruits, nuts, and glutinous rice, che is a sweet and refreshing treat, perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth on a hot day.
Some popular variations of che include che Ba Mau, which is made with three colored beans, and che Thai, which includes fruits and coconut milk. Che can be found at street vendors, local markets, and restaurants all over Vietnam. Don't miss out on this delicious dessert during your Vietnam trip.
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2. Yogurt with fermented sticky rice (Sua chua nep cam)
Yogurt with fermented sticky rice, or sua chua nep cam in Vietnamese, is a classic Vietnamese dessert that combines the sourness of yogurt with the sweetness of fermented sticky rice.
The dish is made by mixing plain yogurt with fermented sticky rice, resulting in a creamy and slightly tangy taste. The fermented sticky rice is made by soaking sticky rice overnight, then mixing it with a special type of yeast, giving it a slightly sour taste and soft texture.
This unique combination of flavors and textures makes sua chua nep cam a popular dessert among locals and tourists alike. It is often enjoyed as a refreshing and healthy snack on a hot day.
3. Vietnamese grilled banana (Chuoi nep nuong) - One of the most famous Vietnamese desserts
Vietnamese grilled banana, also known as chuoi nep nuong, is one of the most popular Vietnamese desserts that can be found at many street corners in the S-shaped country.
This sweet treat is made by grilling a ripe banana that has been coated in a mixture of sticky rice flour, sugar, and coconut milk. The result is a crispy, caramelized exterior and a soft, sweet inside. Some vendors may also add sesame seeds or peanuts to the coating for added flavor and texture.
Vietnamese grilled banana is typically served hot off the grill and can be enjoyed as a snack or dessert. Its sweet and satisfying taste makes it a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth.
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4. Sticky rice with ice cream (Kem xoi)
Sticky rice with ice cream, or kem xoi, is a favorite dessert in Vietnam that combines two beloved treats into one delicious dish. This sweet and savory dessert is made by topping a mound of warm sticky rice with a scoop of rich and creamy ice cream, typically coconut or durian flavored. The warm rice and cold ice cream create a unique dish that is both comforting and refreshing.
Kem xoi can be found at street vendors and dessert shops throughout Vietnam, and is a perfect snack for a hot summer day. Give this unique dessert a try and experience the perfect combination of warm and cold, sweet and savory flavors.
5. Mung bean cake (Banh dau xanh) - Among the iconic traditional Vietnamese desserts
Mung bean cake, or banh dau xanh in Vietnamese, is made from ground mung beans, sugar, and grapefruit flower essential oils. The mixture is processed into a soft sweet cake and often served with tea.
Mung bean cake is a favorite during holidays and special occasions, such as the Lunar New Year. It is also believed to have health benefits, including aiding digestion and promoting smooth skin. If you happen to be in Vietnam, you should definitely try this tasty and nutritious dessert.
6. Pandan rice cake (Banh duc la dua)
Pandan rice cake, or banh duc la dua, is one of the well-liked Vietnamese desserts made from rice flour, pandan leaves, sugar, and coconut cream. The cake has a soft and chewy texture, with a subtle fragrance and sweetness from the pandan leaves and coconut cream. It is usually served with roasted peanuts, shredded coconut, or sesame seeds.
To make banh duc la dua, rice flour is mixed with pandan juice extracted from pandan leaves, then steamed until firm. The cake is then cut into bite-sized pieces and topped with the desired toppings. Pandan rice cake is a beloved dessert in Vietnam, and is often enjoyed as a snack or dessert to a meal.
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7. Most popular Vietnamese desserts? Vietnamese donuts (Banh tieu)
Vietnamese donuts, also known as banh tieu, are simple yet tasty Vietnamese desserts. Made from a combination of wheat flour, sugar, and yeast, the dough is deep-fried until crispy and golden brown. The exterior is crispy and slightly sweet, while the inside is fluffy.
Banh tieu can be eaten plain or filled with a variety of ingredients such as sweet bean paste, coconut, or sesame seeds. They are often served as a snack or dessert, either on their own or paired with hot soy milk or Vietnamese coffee. Banh tieu are widely available throughout Vietnam, from street vendors to high-end restaurants.
8. Tofu pudding (Tao pho)
Tofu pudding, also known as tao pho, is among the common Vietnamese desserts. It has a silky smooth texture and a delicate, refreshing taste. A traditional bowl of tofu pudding consists of soybeans, jasmine sugar syrup, and ice. Nowadays, the locals often add more toppings such as grass jelly, tapioca pearls, shredded coconut, and dried coconut to enhance its taste.
The combination of the soybeans' unique flavor, the sugar syrup's sweetness, the jasmine flower's gentle aroma, and the ice's coolness creates a refreshing summer dish that will please everyone's palate. If you visit Hanoi during winter, you can still savor this dish, but with fresh ginger added instead of ice to warm your stomach.
9. Honeycomb cake (Banh bo) - A much-loved specialty of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam
Honeycomb cake, or banh bo in Vietnamese, is a popular dessert made from rice flour, sugar, water, and yeast. The cake has a unique honeycomb structure that is created by the yeast used in the recipe. The cake is often steamed, which gives it a soft and fluffy texture, and can be flavored with ingredients like pandan or coconut.
The cake is commonly found in the Mekong Delta region, and is often enjoyed as a sweet snack or dessert. It is also a popular food at festivals and celebrations. It is definitely worth trying if you have an opportunity to sample Vietnamese desserts.
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10. Banh pia - Among must-try Vietnamese desserts
Banh pia is a flaky pastry originating from the southern region of Vietnam. The pastry is made by mixing wheat flour, lard, and sugar, then repeatedly folding and rolling the dough to create layers. The fillings can be mung bean, taro, or durian, which are then wrapped in a layer of flaky pastry.
Banh pia has a slightly sweet and buttery flavor that is complemented by the creamy and rich fillings. It is often served as a snack with tea or coffee and is also a popular gift for friends and family.
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To fully experience Vietnam's diverse culinary culture, indulging in its delectable desserts is a must. The top 10 Vietnamese desserts mentioned above will not only please your taste buds but also offer insights into the country's history and traditions. Therefore, don't hesitate to try these sweet treats during your Vietnam travel journey and savor the unique flavors that Vietnam has to offer!
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