Vietnamese cendol (Che banh lot)

Vietnamese cendol (or Worm-like jelly drink, Chè bánh lọt in Vietnamese) is a sweet dessert which contains droplets of worm-like jelly, coconut milk, and syrup. Vietnamese cendol is popular in South Vietnam including provinces in Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh city. This kind of food is easily found at street food stalls on the streets, at local markets or in luxury restaurants which serve traditional Vietnamese foods. The food is served as a favorite refreshing dessert or drink.

The soul of this food are droplets of worm-like jelly which is called Bánh lọt, Banh lot jelly in Vietnamese. The jelly is made from rice flour and tapioca flour. Traditionally, to make Banh lot jelly, they choose high-quality day-old rice, soak in water with some wooden ash, wash for a few times, drain off. Grind the rice with water into a rice flour mixture, mix the rice flour with tapioca flour. The cook should follow a right ratio of the flour to water. If he uses too much water, the Banh lot jelly will be too tender and not as chewy as desired. Otherwise, the jelly will be hard. There are 2 kinds of Banh lot jelly: white and green. To make the jelly green, Vietnamese people use pandan leaf juice. Cook the mixture over low heat and stir continuously until thickened and sticky. Use a special mold (basket, sieve) with holes of 2-3 mm diameter and press the mixture through the mold to make droplets of worm-like jelly. Put the mold above a bowl (or pot, bucket) of cold water so that the Banh lot drops into the cold water.

Traditionally, they serve Banh lot with coconut milk, syrup, and shaved ice (or cube ice). As mentioned above, this kind of dessert is called Vietnamese cendol or Bánh lọt. The greasy coconut milk, sweet syrup and chewy and tender Banh lot jelly blend well together. The iced dessert can beat the heat in the summer and make diner refreshing.

Other toppings (mung bean, red bean) are also added to make the food more delicious and nice-looking. So that we have Vietnamese cendol with red bean, Vietnamese cendol with mung bean. They can add agar agar (Sương sa), mock pomegranate seed (Hạt lựu), grass jelly (Sương sáo), mung bean paste to make an excellent sweet dessert which is called Sweet soup with worm-like jelly, agar agar, mock pomegranate seed (Chè bánh lọt sương sa hạt lựu). Banh lot jelly is also a part of the famous Vietnamese three-colored sweet soup with worm-like jelly (Chè ba màu bánh lọt) which is made from red bean, mung bean, white bean, coconut milk, Banh lot.

Green worm-like jelly, coconut milk, and syrup

Traditional Vietnamese cendol which contains Banh lot, coconut milk, syrup and ice

Vietnamese cendol with mung bean.

Vietnamese cendol with red bean

Green worm-like jelly at a street food stall in Vietnam

Green worm-like jelly, mung bean paste, mock pomegranate, agar agar at a street food stall in Vietnam

Sweet soup with worm-like jelly, agar agar, mock pomegranate seed (Chè bánh lọt sương sa hạt lựu)

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