“Chè” – 7 Must Try Vietnamese Sweet Desserts

“Chè” is a general Vietnamese word to describe any traditional Vietnamese sweet beverage, which is usually available in the form of pudding, or as a plain drink. It tends to incorporate fruit, vegetables, beans, seeds, glutinous rice and tapioca powder, and is often topped with coconut milk. Even though “chè” is mildly sweet and doesn’t always have the most appealing look, most people are totally addicted to this unforgettable kind of sweet treat. There are so many varieties of “chè” to make a list, but here are the 7 tastiest desserts that can you shouldn’t miss when visiting Vietnam – all tasted and described by our local Saigonista, Khuê!

Chè Chuối – Banana with Sago Pearls and Coconut Milk Sweet Soup

Form: Condensed Soup

Serve: Warm

Price Range: 8,000- 10,000 VND/ serving (approx. $0.36- $0.45)

“Chè chuối” is a delicious daily sweet dessert made from a type of flavorful banana called “chuối xiêm”. Cooked in coconut milk with sago pearls, “chè chuối” has a sweet and creamy flavor, a delicate banana scent, and looks like pudding. A little bit of roasted peanut topping counterbalances “Chè chuối”’s creamy flavor, and adds a splash of color to the dessert. 

Banana With Sago Pearls And Coconut Milk Sweet Soup

Banana with Sago Pearls and Coconut Milk Sweet Soup

Chè Trôi Nước – Sweet Glutinous Rice Dumplings

Form: Condensed Soup

Serve: Warm

Price Range: 8,000- 10,000 VND/ serving (approx. $0.36- $0.45)

“Chè trôi nước” is a kind of glutinous rice dumpling, filled with mung bean paste and cooked in sweet ginger syrup. This dessert’s name literally means “floating on water” because when boiled, the balls rise from the bottom of the pot to the soup’s surface. “Chè trôi nước” are served hot, topped with white sesame and occasionally with some coconut milk. Because of the meaning of its name, which can be loosely translated to ‘fulfillment’, “chè trôi nước” is often eaten on the first birthday of a child, and during other traditional holidays. Its texture is similar to Japanese mochi and Chinese tangyuan, because of the chewy and gummy rice, which covers the soft and savory mung bean paste underneath. The golden gooey syrup adds a sweet flavor and an aromatic ginger fragrance to the super-delicious sweet soup!

glutinous-rice-dumpling

Sweet Glutinous Rice Dumplings

Chè Bắp – Vietnamese Sweet Corn Pudding

Form: Pudding

Serve: Warm or Cold

Price Range: 8,000- 10,000 VND/ serving (approx. $0.36- $0.45)

“Chè bắp” is a typical Vietnamese pudding, or dessert soup, made with sweet corn, glutinous rice, and is often topped with thick, syrupy coconut milk and toasted sesame seeds. It can be eaten warm or cold, as a snack, at any hour of the day! The natural sweetness of corn combines with the creamy coconut milk in a chewy texture of glutinous rice, a combination that makes for a very lovely summer treat.

sweet-corn-pudding02

Vietnamese Sweet Corn Pudding

Chè Ba Màu – Three Color Dessert

Form: Drink

Serve: Cold

Price Range: 8,000- 10,000 VND/ serving (approx. $0.36- $0.45)

Literally translated as “the three color dessert”, the main ingredients of “chè ba màu” include three types of colored beans and jelly, covered with slightly sweetened coconut milk. Kidney beans, mung bean paste and green jelly are all commonly used to create the red, yellow and green color of this snack. These yummy desserts are usually served in colorful layers, and then mixed up when eaten. “chè ba màu” is quite popular in Vietnam because of its pretty look and its sweet, refreshing taste. There is nothing more enjoyable on a summer day than enjoying a glass of a vibrantly colorful dessert! “Chè ba màu” is quite popular in Vietnam and can be found in most Vietnamese restaurants, street vendors and dessert shops.

Three Color Dessert

Three Color Dessert

Chè Long Nhãn Hạt Sen – Logan and Lotus Seed Sweet Soup

Form: Drink

Serve: Warm or Cold

Price Range: 10,000- 15,000 VND/ serving (approx. $0.45- $0.68)

“Chè long nhãn hạt sen” was started in Hue, the former capital of Vietnam. Its pure look, along with its light sweet taste and numerous healt benefits, has made “chè long nhãn hạt sen” one of the most popular dessert amongs locals. Preparing the dessert is not very difficult, but it requires plenty of care and patience. At first,  you have to remove the seeds from ripe longan fruit, using a sharp-pointed knife. This needs to be done gently, in order to avoid tearing any of the longan’s flesh. Then you have to fill them with lotus seeds, and cook them with some sugar. You’ll fall in love with the thick juicy longan, the soft, aromatic lotus seeds and the wonderfully refreshing sweet soup. People in Southern Vietnam tend to make this dessert with dried longan as the dried fruit can be found all year round.

Many people enjoy this dessert cold with ice and some drops of grapefruit flower oil, but it is also delicious when served warm, or at room temperature. It is believed that consuming this dessert frequently will help you calm your nerves, reduce your stress and fatigue levels, and it may also improve your quality of sleep.

Logan And Lotus Seed Sweet Soup

Logan and Lotus Seed Sweet Soup

Chè Sương Sa Hạt Lựu – Rainbow Dessert

Form: Drink

Serve: Cold

Price Range: 10,000- 15,000 VND/ serving (approx. $0.45- $0.68)

Made from agar jelly, mock pomegranate seeds, mung bean paste and coconut milk, “chè sương sa hạt lựu” will not only refresh your body, but will also provide you with a good source of energy, to help you beat the relentlessly hot and humid summer days in Vietnam. Mock pomegranate seeds are vividly-colored seeds, made of water chestnut, diced into small cubes and coated with tapioca scratch. Eating these pomegranate seeds is very fun, as they’re crunchy inside but chewy on the outside thanks to the tapioca cover. Agar jelly, on the other hand, brings you a fresher feeling. It’s cool, slightly sweet and crunchy and soft, and it blends perfectly with the smooth, creamy coconut milk. Agar contains no sugar, no fat, no carbohydrates and is very high in fiber.

rainbow-dessert

Rainbow Dessert

Chè Bà Ba – Sweet potato, Taro and Cassava Dessert

Form: Condensed Soup

Serve: Warm or Cold

Price Range: 8,000- 10,000 VND/ serving (approx. $0.36- $0.45)

“Chè bà ba” is a typical Southern Vietnamese dessert, which contains a variety of ingredients. This delicious dessert is made with square pieces of taro, cassava and long sweet potato, well cooked in coconut milk, and decorated with translucent tapioca pearls. Its creamy flavor and lingering sweetness make “chè bà ba” a wonderful snack for both hot and cold days! This already delicious dessert can become even more flavorful, when topped with roasted sesame or minced peanuts.

ms-third-dessert

Sweet Potato, Taro and Cassava Dessert

You can find these Che desserts at “Chè 75” –  75 Tran Huy Lieu Street, Ward 12, Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

This Post Has 6 Comments

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    1. wildtussah

      Hi Thien, Thank you for your interest in our blog. It’s great to know that you want to learn more about your traditional cuisine. Although we cannot list all ‘chè’ names because Vietnamese desserts are many and various, here are some more Vietnamese Sweet deserts in English that we hope you’ll find them helpful.

      Chè đậu xanh bột báng – Mung Bean Sweet Soup with Tapioca Pearl Recipe
      Chè táo soạn – Sweet Mung Bean Pudding
      Chè đậu đỏ bánh lọt – Red bean, tapioca noodle and coconut sweet soup
      Chè đậu trắng -Vietnamese Sweet Rice Coconut Milk Bean Pudding
      Chè bưởi – Vietnamese Pomelo Sweet Soup Dessert
      Chè khoai môn – Sweet Taro Pudding with Coconut Milk
      Chè đậu ngự – Sweet fresh lima bean soup with jasmine
      Chè đậu đen – Black Bean Sweet Soup with Coconut Syrup
      Chè đậu phộng – Vietnamese Peanuts Sweet Soup Recipe
      Chè sâm bổ lượng – Ching bo leung sweet dessert

      You can find more on che here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%A8

      And cha:

      Chả lụa – Vietnamese Ham or Pork Roll
      Chả quế – Vietnamese Baked Cinnamon Pork Pate
      Chả bò – Vietnamese Grilled Beef Patties or Beef Roll
      Chả mỡ/ chả chiên – Vietnamese Rich and Crisp Sausage
      Chả cá – Vietnamese Fried Fish Cake
      Giò thủ – Vietnamese Headcheese
      Nem – Vietnamese Fermented/Cured Pork Roll
      Chả Huế – Vietnamese Hue Style Ham

      Thanks 🙂

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