It has been said that Hanoi people eat Glutinous rice dumplings (Bánh trôi) in two periods. In March, they eat Glutinous rice dumplings without syrup (Bánh trôi khô). When the winter begins, Hanoi people eat Glutinous rice dumplings in syrup (Bánh trôi nước, Bánh trôi tàu). Besides Glutinous rice dumplings in syrup, they also serve Mung bean sweet soup with tangerine peel (Lục tàu xá) and Black sesame sweet soup (Chí mà phù) at street food stalls.
The tree of sweet soups has been sold as Hanoi desserts in the winter for over one hundred years. These sweet soups originated in China and brought to Hanoi by Chinese people. No one knows exactly when the foods appeared. They only know that they have eaten the foods since they were young. For many years, Hanoi people have changed the recipes to meet their tastes. Glutinous rice dumplings in syrup is the most well-known among them. Coming to a sweet soup stall, customers usually order three of sweet soups. They usually eat Glutinous rice dumplings in syrup first, then the others.
Glutinous rice dumplings in syrup is made from glutinous rice, mung bean, coconut milk, peanuts, black sesame, shredded coconut meat. A dumpling has a sticky crust and a tender filling. A portion of Glutinous rice dumplings in syrup consists of 2 dumplings which are as small as a chicken egg: one is in a spherical shape and filled with mung bean paste, the other is in oblate spheroid shape and filled with ground black sesame. They are covered with sweet yellow-brown translucent ginger syrup and topped with greasy coconut milk, crunchy peanuts, smelling toasted black sesame, crunchy shredded coconut meat.
Main ingredients for Mung bean sweet soup with tangerine peel are peeled mung bean, tangerine peel, and tapioca starch. Tangerine peel is a very important ingredient which makes this sweet soup different from other Vietnamese sweet soups which are cooked from mung bean. Not similar to the others, mung beans in Mung bean sweet soup with tangerine peel are cooked until the sweet soup smooth and creamy. Tapioca starch is used to make the sweet soup thicken. Mung bean sweet soup with tangerine peel should be buttery, sweet enough and have the typical smell which comes from tangerine peel. Hanoi people also use lotus seed, water chestnut, dried jujube, tapioca pearl, seaweed, coconut milk to the sweet soup to enhance its flavor.
Black sesame sweet soup is made from black sesame, lime leaves, glutinous rice (optional), kudzu powder. The favorite Black sesame sweet soup is in black color, sweet, gelatinous, greasy, buttery, fragrant and very healthy. The smell of lime leaves and the smell of black sesame blend perfectly. The sweet soup attracts people to eat it with the sweet smell spread in the air.
In the cold weather in Hanoi, eating hot Hanoi desserts Glutinous rice dumplings in syrup, Mung bean sweet soup with tangerine peel and Black sesame sweet soup is one of the best things to do in the capital, Hanoi. Don’t miss “Top 3 Hanoi desserts in the winter” on your trip to Vietnam.