Dessert is to a meal what a dress is to a woman” – Béatrice Peltre. Hoi An desserts have enriched the beauty of the graceful town’s culinary heritage in that way.
Tasty Hoi An sweet soup
Hoi An, one of the few places in Vietnam that attract visitors come back again and again, has intrigued tourists by not only its charming riverside settings with ancient houses and lanterns but also various unique specialties. Enjoying a meal in Hoi An, guests will be surprised by the spectacular local cuisine from the main course with Cao Lau, My Quang, Chicken rice, Fried Wonton, etc. to the sweet and tasty dessert. Among Hoi An desserts, sweet soup has the strongest attraction due to its unforgettable sweet and fragrant flavor.
From the street vendors sitting modestly on a street corner with little plastic chairs to upscale Hoi An cuisine restaurants, visitors always can find sweet soup serving, a simple rustic yet delicious dessert of the picturesque town. Sweet soup or “Chè” in a general Vietnamese word is the common name of any traditional Vietnamese sweet beverage, which is usually available in the form of pudding, or as a plain drink. The dish is the sweet mixture of beans, seeds, glutinous rice and tapioca powder, and is often topped with coconut milk or vanilla extract. Most visitors to Hoi An town are totally addicted to this mildly sweet treat. There are so many varieties of sweet soup but Hoi An is most famous for three types of Che which are sweet corn soup, lotus seed sweet soup and black sesame sweet soup. The best Hoi An sweet corn soup/pudding is originated in Cam Nam Village where the local sweet and sticky corn make the sweetened porridge perfect. Simply made from thinly sliced glutinous corn on the cob, tapioca starch or glutinous rice, a little of salt, sugar and vanilla extract without coconut milk like those in the South Vietnam, Hoi An sweet corn soup has the authentic rustic flavor and sweetness from only the corn. Between March and September when Cam Nam corn is newly harvested should be the best time to enjoy this dish.
Some famous sweet soups in Hoi An
Lotus seeds sweet soup
Known as a royal dessert, lotus seeds sweet soup is another stunning dessert which is made from local fresh lotus seeds, cassava flour and sugar. The dish is usually served in a little bowl and easily makes eaters addicted right from the first time by its refreshing lotus fragrance wafting with cereal and unique delicious taste. This sweet treat is not only tasty but also very good for health thanks to the benefits of lotus seeds to the digestive and nervous system.
Chi ma phu
Another Hoi An sweet pudding which is both delicious and nutritious is black sesame sweet soup which locals often call “Chè mè đen” or “Chí má phù”. This dish is rooted from Fujian Province in China when Chinese traders came to this city long time ago and made from various ingredients including black sesame, coconut, rice flour, sugar, Radix Rehmanniae and Rehmannia glutinosa. Although the black sesame seed is small, it is a powerful food which the Chinese have learnt to use for many health-promoting and anti-aging benefits. As the seed is rich in rich in A, B and E vitamins and copper, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, and lignans (antioxidants), the black sesame seed soup is a good medicine for heart, skin, digestion as well as a lactating aid for nursing mothers and a protector against cancer. This sweet soup is the tastiest when it is served hot.
Visitors can also find many other types of sweet soup in Hoi An such as taro sweet soup, sweet green bean soup, sweet black bean soup, etc. which may be made from the same ingredients but have very different flavor. Secrets that make Hoi An sweet soup so special include the high quality locally sourced ingredients and skillfulness of Hoi An cooks. As Hoi An sweet soup is easily addicted, visitors should take chance to join some local cooking class and learn how to create such fascinating desserts by their own.
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