Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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Vietnam’s geography and history have resulted in sweets that vary greatly from the temperate north near the Chinese border to the tropical south. Northern sweets make extensive use of mung beans and black-eyed peas. Rice dumplings called banh troi nuoc, cousins to the Khmer num treap, are filled with a sweetened mung bean mixture and served in a ginger syrup that evokes Chinese sweets. Che hot sen that tranh is an iced agar jelly sweet that combines lotus seeds, scented water, sugar, and mung beans and is topped with coconut milk. The same combination is found in the familiar “bubble tea” made with large tapioca pearls and a variety of colorings and flavorings. See bubble tea. For che dau trang, a sweet similar to the Khmer bobo samdaik ankoy, cooked black-eyed peas are combined with glutinous rice, sugar, and coconut milk. Vietnamese make tamarind candy and candied coconut, mut dua. There is a whole repertoire of sweet soups made of fruits, coconut, noodles, sweet beans, and more, such as che chuo (banana and tapioca cooked in coconut milk, like the Khmer chaek katih). See soup. And ansom chaek, the Khmer dish of bananas wrapped in rice and then banana leaves before grilling, is a favorite that the Vietnamese call chuoi nuong. A range of sweetmeats known as mut also exists that includes candied ginger, star fruit, coconut, and orange peels. See candied fruit.