Vietnam is not often known for it’s desserts, but actually Vietnam has a great variety of sweet confectionary, and anyone coming here to sample the street food should also take some time to try the desserts as well. A lot of the desserts are influenced by French Cuisine as Vietnam was a French Colony for nearly 150 years, but it’s also got a lot of Chinese influences and influences from other parts of South East Asia. Most of the desserts involve some combination of rice, coconut and sugar giving them a truly Asian and tropical flavour.
Bánh bò or “cow cake” as it’s often called is a Vietnamese favorite. It has the appearance of a honeycomb and is made made from glutinous rice flour, water, sugar, and yeast. Coconut milk is also part of the batter, giving it a slight flavor and aroma of coconut.. This desert often is dyed in various colors making it a very colourful and delicious treat.
This is a rectangular shaped dessert is a variety of bánh made in the Thái Bình Province of northern Vietnam. It is made of sticky rice, sugar, gac or gardenia, sesame, carrots, mandarin orange peel, and lard. The mixture is roasted and ground, then put into a square box. It’s very popular especially in the Northern part of Vietnam.
Bánh da lợn
On the other hand, is a colorful steamed layer cake made from tapioca starch, rice flour, mashed mung beans, taro, or durian, coconut milk and/or water, and sugar. It is sweet and gelatinously soft in texture, with thin (approximately 1 cm) colored layers alternating with layers of mung bean, durian, or taro filling. This can be found in street food stalls all across Vietnam and is one of the more popular desserts.
This is tapioca pudding made from a mixture of bananas and tapioca. It also includes grass jelly or sương sáo which is cooked by boiling the old leaves of Mesona chinensis—a plant closely related to mint—along with potassium carbonate and starch. This is usually served warm, but can also be eaten chilled. Again it’s a popular street food dish, so is very easy to find anywhere that street food is sold. It’s a delicious snack any time of the day.
Bánh chuối (banana cakes)
A sweet banana cake that is hugely popular all throughout Vietnam. Although its exact ingredients may vary, it is usually made with ripe bananas, coconut milk, sugar, and shredded young coconut. The cooked banana often appears purplish-red in colour. This cake mixes the flavors of bananas with the flavour of coconut to create a truly tropical treat.
So next time your in Vietnam try one of the desserts and get a nice taste of Vietnam, a mix of Asian, French, and tropical flavours and Cuisines.