There are tens of “Chè” (or “Che”) which refers to various Vietnamese sweet soup (or pudding) desserts. Vietnamese people around the country love to eat Che. People in each region have created Che recipes which meet local preferences, tastes, and local products. For example, Hanoi has many hot sweet soups to eat in the autumn and the winter. Hue people have created a wide range of royal sweet soups which needs time, skill, delicate and experience to cook and back alley sweet soups which are more simple but not less delicious than the royal ones. In South Vietnam, there are 2 seasons: the rainy and the dry so that Che is eaten cold or hot. In South Vietnam, they can cook Che from many kinds of beans and peas, grass jelly, agar agar, tapioca starch, sweet potato, palmyra fruit, pomelo skin, glutinous rice, glutinous rice flour, coconut milk, pandan leaf, beet root, etc. Rich, viscous, opaque “milk” coconut milk, which is packed with the sweet, floral, nutty flavor of coconut, plays an important role in cooking Che in South Vietnam as well as entire Vietnam. Coconut milk is considered as “the last piece of the puzzle”, it makes the dessert greasier and tastier. Here are 15 Best traditional Vietnamese sweet soup (or pudding) desserts in South Vietnam:
1. Vietnamese agar agar and mock pomegranate seeds dessert (Chè sương sa hạt lựu)
Vietnamese agar agar and mock pomegranate seeds dessert consists of agar agar jelly and/or grass jelly, mock pomegranate seeds, sweet mung bean paste (or mung bean sweet soup), coconut milk sauce. The white translucent agar agar jelly and black grass jelly are tender, crisp and refreshing. Mock pomegranate seeds are made from tapioca starch, food colorings (green pandan leaf extract, beet root juice, etc.), water chestnut (or jicama, coconut meat). They taste chewy outside and crisp inside. Soak small water chestnut or jicama cubes in different mixtures of water and food colorings, coat them with tapioca starch, then boil them until the tapioca turns translucent and the colorful filling can be seen. Sweet mung bean paste is sweet, tender, smooth and in yellow color. The greasy, viscous, sweet and a little salty coconut milk sauce is made by cooking coconut milk, salt, sugar and tapioca starch. Sometimes, they also add chewy and tender cendols which are droplets of worm-like rice flour jelly to the sweet soup. It is better to serve cold with some ice. A portion of Vietnamese agar agar and mock pomegranate seeds dessert looks colorful and attractive. The dessert is not only nice-looking but also sweet-tasty so that it is a favorite food of a lot of Vietnamese people and foreigners.
2. Vietnamese pomelo skin sweet soup (Chè bưởi)
Vietnamese people have created pomelo skin sweet soup – a very delicious dessert recipe from pomelo skin, which is sometimes thrown away, peeled mung bean, coconut milk, tapioca starch, peanut, sugar, salt. The perfect mix of chewy, crunchy, and juicy pomelo skin seeds or juliennes coated with tapioca flour, sweet and smooth mung bean sweet soup, greasy coconut milk sauce, crisp crushed peanuts and cool shaved (cubed) ice can surprise any person thanks to the great taste. One of the highlights of this dessert is the way they prepare and coat bitter, spongy pomelo skin and make cubes or juliennes which are chewy outside and crunchy inside. Another highlight of the sweet soup is its typical smell which comes from pomelo skin and peanuts. It can be served hot or cold with ice. The fragrant and tasty is a worth a try in Vietnam.
3. Vietnamese glutinous rice dumplings in syrup (Chè trôi nước)
Vietnamese glutinous rice dumplings in syrup plays an important part in the rich culture of South Vietnam as well as entire Vietnam. It is a must food on many important occasions such as Mid-January in the Lunar calendar (Rằm tháng giêng), Traditional Vietnamese first birthday celebration (Thôi nôi), Mid-year festival (Tết đoan ngọ), etc. Spherical glutinous rice dumplings which have chewy, sticky crust and smooth, buttery, tender mung bean filling looks like nice and attractive in smelling, clear, translucent, brown or yellow ginger syrup. The dessert is usually topped with crushed peanuts, toasted sesame and coconut milk. It can be eaten hot or at room temperature. Vietnamese glutinous rice dumplings in syrup is not only delicious food but also a part of Vietnamese culture.
4. Vietnamese three color dessert (Chè ba màu)
The name of this dessert let us know that it consists of 3 parts which have 3 different colors. They are green agar agar jelly, yellow peeled mung bean sweet soup, and red bean sweet soup. The agar agar is crunchy, mung bean sweet soup is smooth, buttery, sticky and red bean sweet soup is tender, buttery. Pandan extract is usually to make the jelly green and enhance its flavor. 3 parts are put into a glass in layers with some ice, greasy coconut milk, crunchy shredded coconut meat and crispy toasted crushed peanuts. The refreshing and energy-boosting three color dessert can help you to beat the heat and reduce the tiredness.
5. Che ba ba (Chè bà ba, Chè thưng)
Che ba ba is a traditional Vietnamese soup which is originated in South Vietnam. “Che” means sweet soup, “ba ba” is a traditional Vietnamese garment which associated with rural Southern Vietnam. Che ba ba is cooked from various ingredients including sweet potato, cassavas, taro, peeled mung bean, peanut, seaweed, tapioca strip, tapioca pearl, coconut milk, pandan leaf, sugar, salt. It has been said to be as sweet, loving and gentle as women in South Vietnam. This sweet soup is buttery, sticky, crunchy, greasy, chewy, and sweet. A bowl of hot or cold Che ba ba will satisfy your taste and fill your stomach.
6. Vietnamese palmyra sweet soup (Chè thốt nốt)
Vietnamese palmyra sweet soup originated in An Giang province where palmyra trees are abundant. The sweet soup is cooked from palmyra fruit flesh, palm sugar, tapioca starch, peeled mung bean and coconut milk. The soul of this food is palmyra fruit flesh translucent pale-white, similar to that of the lychee but with a milder flavor and no pit. This amazing dessert can be served hot or cold. It has been said to be more delicious to eat the sweet soup with some ice and nata de coco. Palmyra sweet soup attracts dinners of all ages with the greasy taste of typical taste of palmyra flesh, the greasy taste of coconut milk, the stickiness, tenderness, the buttery taste of mung bean and sweet palm sugar.
7. Vietnamese grass jelly and coconut milk dessert drink (Chè sương sáo nước cốt dừa)
Grass jelly is refreshing and very healthy. Vietnamese can make the jelly from green grass jelly or dried grass jelly powder. There are 2 types of grass jelly: white and black. The greasy and sweet broth is made from coconut milk, sugar, condensed milk (optional), fresh milk (optional). Sabja seeds are also added to the sweet soup to make it more delicious. A bowl (or glass) of Vietnamese grass jelly and coconut milk dessert drink can cool you down in the hot summer.
8.Vietnamese cendol with mung bean (Chè bánh lọt đậu xanh)
Vietnamese cendol is a sweet dessert which contains droplets of worm-like jelly, coconut milk, and syrup. The most important part of this food are chewy and tender droplets of worm-like jelly which is called Bánh lọt, Banh lot jelly in Vietnamese. The greasy coconut milk, buttery and smooth mung bean paste, sweet syrup and chewy, tender Banh lot jelly and some ice blend well together. The dessert can beat the heat in the summer and make diner refreshing.
9. Vietnamese sticky rice pudding with black-eyed pea (Chè đậu trắng nước cốt dừa)
Vietnamese sticky rice pudding with black-eyed pea is one of the most popular food in South Vietnam, especially Mekong Delta. It is a must-food which is offered to God and the ancestors in order to wish Vietnamese babies all of the best things their first birthday celebration. The dessert is cooked from sticky rice pudding, black-eyed pea, coconut milk, tapioca starch, and sugar. The cook should be skillful to make the sticky rice and buttery pea mix well together. The thick and greasy coconut milk sauce plays off the rice and peas. The dessert can be eaten hot or cold (without ice).
10. Vietnamese taro and glutinous rice pudding (Chè khoai môn nếp)
Vietnamese taro and glutinous rice pudding is a favorite traditional Vietnamese traditional food which is cooked from taro, glutinous rice, coconut milk and tapioca starch. Similar to Vietnamese sticky rice pudding with black-eyed pea, this kind of sweet soup is a perfect mix of sticky, buttery, tender taro and sticky rice, and topped with the coconut milk sauce cooked from coconut milk, tapioca starch, and sugar. The dessert can be eaten hot or cold (without ice).
11. Vietnamese mung bean pudding with aloe vera and seaweed (Chè đậu xanh nha đam phổ tai)
The name Vietnamese mung bean pudding with aloe vera and seaweed reveals ingredients for this dessert. Sticky, buttery mung beans, crunchy seaweeds, and gelatinous, crunchy aloe vera blends wonderfully. The sugar is used enough so that the dessert is not too sweet. Vietnamese people eat this dessert hot or cold with some ice. It can beat the heat, reduce tiredness, and cool you down.
12. Vietnamese green bean paste with coconut milk dessert (Chè đậu xanh đánh)
Vietnamese green bean paste with coconut milk dessert is simple but not easy to make. Ingredients for this dessert is peeled mung bean, sugar, and coconut milk. Peeled mung bean is skillfully cooked into a sweet, smooth, buttery, not too thick not too runny paste. The cook must stir continuously so that the mung beans are not burnt at the bottom of the pot. Vietnamese green bean paste with coconut milk dessert is usually topped with coconut milk and served hot or cold with some ice.
13. Vietnamese fermented glutinous rice (Chè cơm rượu)
Vietnamese fermented glutinous rice is a must food at Worm-killing festival in Vietnam. Steamed sticky rice is formed into small balls and fermented with a special yeast for 3-5 days. It should be stored in refrigerator after making. The liquid which is produced with this food is drunk as a glutinous rice. The sour, sweet, tender fermented glutinous rice balls are served with syrup at room temperature.
14. Vietnamese grilled banana in sticky rice, tapioca pearl and coconut dessert (Chè chuối nướng)
Vietnamese grilled banana in sticky rice, tapioca pearl and coconut dessert is a traditional Vietnamese food. It has become more and more popular and known as one of the most favorite Vietnamese street foods. Peeled ripe (not too ripe) banana is wrapped in steamed sticky rice, and banana leaf, grilled on charcoal until crispy and yellow (a little burnt), cut into pieces and topped with coconut milk sauce, tapioca pearls (optional), crushed peanuts and shredded coconut meat. It should be served hot so that the steamed sticky rice is still crispy and the banana is sticky and tender. This food is highly appreciated by most Vietnamese people and foreigners.
15. Vietnamese banana and tapioca pearl pudding (Chè chuối bột báng)
Sweet and tender ripe banana pieces, chewy tapioca strips and tapioca pearls are cooked in greasy coconut milk to make an outstandingly delicious dessert. This dessert is served hot or cold without ice. Vietnamese banana and tapioca pearl pudding and Vietnamese grilled banana in sticky rice, tapioca pearl and coconut dessert reminds many Vietnamese people of their hometown in the countryside of South Vietnam where bananas and coconuts are abundant.