Areca flower sweet soup – a delicate Hanoi food

Areca flower sweet soup is a delicate Hanoi food which has attracted a lot of people, even with strict gourmets with lightly sweet gelatinous broth, tender mung bean and nice fragrance from pomelo flower extract. It has been a familiar food as well as a gift in Hanoi for many years. The food is called Areca flower sweet soup because yellow mung beans in the soup look like beautiful tiny areca flowers. In Vietnamese, they call the food Chè hoa cau, Che hoa cau, Chè táo xọn, Che tao xon. Highlights of the sweet soup are simple recipe, sweet taste, comfort, healthiness.

Areca flower sweet soup is cooked from familiar and easy-to-cook ingredients: mung bean, kudzu flour, coconut water, pomelo flower extract, coconut milk, sugar. There are not many steps to cook the sweet soup. However, it is not a simple recipe. The cook must be skillful, delicate, granular so that the mung beans in the sweet soup are tender but not broken, bloating in the gelatinous broth and looks like areca flowers. The food should taste sweet enough and smell pleasant but not too strong. The broth should not too thick but not too runny. Shortly, everything should be enough. The cook should follow a ratio of the ingredients so that the Areca flower sweet soup has the best looking, taste and smell.

Hanoi people serve the sweet soup dedicatedly. A small porcelain bowl is used to serve the sweet soup because they think a small portion can make dinner would like to eat more and more. They heat the bowl, put some pomelo flowers into the bowl so that the sweet smell retains in the bowl before putting the sweet soup into the bowl. Top it with greasy white coconut milk. They love to eat this tasty sweet soup with Mung bean coated sticky rice (Xôi vò, Xoi vo) which is buttery, lightly sweet, and sticky. These 2 traditional foods are a good pair. Add some Xoi vo to Che hoa cau, slowly eat them together with a spoon.

Areca flower sweet soup is considered as Hanoi people who are graceful, gentle but warm and unforgettable. Hanoi people eat not much but they always choose the best, the freshest, the tastiest. There are some foods are only eaten in the evening, some foods are only served in the evening. Areca flower sweet soup is eaten by Hanoi people as a supper in the evening. The image of vendor serving warm Areca flower sweet soup at her street food stall on the street has been a beautiful part of memories of many local people as well as travelers coming to the capital.

Here is the recipe for Areca flower sweet soup – a delicate Hanoi food:

Ingredients:

  • Dried peeled mung beans: 300g
  • Sugar: 200g
  • Kudzu powder: 150g
  • Water: 540ml
  • Pomelo flower extract: 10ml
  • Salt: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Coconut milk

Steps:

  • Wash and soak mung beans in water overnight or at least 3 hours. Mix mung beans with salt, steam them until tender but not broken.
  • Mix kudzu powder with 150ml of cold water.
  • Cook 1l of water until boiling, add sugar, stir until the sugar is melted. Add the kudzu powder mixture slowly to the sugar water and stir continuously until the broth turns gelatinous, translucent, smooth.
  • Add the steamed mung beans and pomelo flower extract.
  • Top the sweet soup with coconut milk.

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