Traditional Desserts of Vietnam: A Sweet Exploration of Vietnamese Cuisine




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Traditional desserts of Vietnam are a reflection of the country’s rich culinary heritage. Vietnamese cuisine is known for its bold flavors and fresh ingredients, and desserts are no exception. The country’s sweet treats are diverse, ranging from delicate and refreshing to rich and indulgent.

One of the most popular Vietnamese desserts is che, a sweet soup made with a variety of ingredients such as beans, fruits, and tapioca pearls. “Chè” is often enjoyed as a refreshing dessert on a hot day, but it can also be served warm during the winter months. Another beloved Vietnamese dessert is banh mi kep, a type of sandwich made with sweet bread and various fillings such as coconut, pandan, or durian. These desserts are just a small sampling of the many sweet delights that Vietnam has to offer.

Exploring the traditional desserts of Vietnam is a journey into the country’s cultural and culinary traditions. From the street food stalls of Hanoi to the high-end restaurants of Ho Chi Minh City, there are endless opportunities to sample the country’s sweet treats. Whether you have a sweet tooth or simply want to experience the flavors of Vietnam, traditional Vietnamese desserts are not to be missed.

Vietnamese Desserts: A Brief History

Vietnamese cuisine is known for its unique blend of flavors, and desserts are no exception. Vietnamese desserts are a reflection of the country’s rich history and culture. From traditional sweet soups to modern twists on classic flavors, Vietnamese desserts have something to offer everyone.

The history of Vietnamese desserts dates back to ancient times when Vietnamese people used to offer sweet treats to their ancestors during religious ceremonies. Over time, Vietnamese desserts evolved to include a mix of influences from China, France, and other neighboring countries.

One of the most significant influences on Vietnamese desserts came from China. Vietnamese people adopted many Chinese ingredients, such as glutinous rice, mung beans, and lotus seeds, to create their own unique desserts. For instance, one of the most popular Vietnamese desserts, Che, is a sweet soup made with various ingredients, including mung beans, lotus seeds, and tapioca pearls.

Another significant influence on Vietnamese desserts came from the French. During the French colonial period, French bakers introduced their pastries and cakes to Vietnam. Vietnamese people adopted these French desserts and gave them a local twist. For example, the Vietnamese version of the French baguette is called Banh Mi, and it is often filled with sweet ingredients like condensed milk and coconut.

Today, Vietnamese desserts continue to evolve, with modern twists on classic flavors and new ingredients. Vietnamese desserts are now enjoyed not only in Vietnam but also around the world, as people discover the unique flavors and textures of this delicious cuisine.

Cakes and Pastries

Vietnamese cakes and pastries are known for their unique flavors and textures. From crispy crusts to soft and chewy centers, these sweet treats are a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth. Here are three of the most popular cakes and pastries in Vietnamese cuisine:

Banh Pia

Banh Pia is a sweet pastry filled with mung bean paste and a hint of salted egg yolk. It has a flaky crust and a soft, chewy center. Banh Pia is a specialty of Soc Trang province in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, but it can be found in many bakeries throughout the country. It is often served with hot tea or coffee.

Banh Chuoi Nuong

Banh Chuoi Nuong is a baked banana cake that is popular in the Central Highlands region of Vietnam. It is made with ripe bananas, coconut milk, and a mixture of rice flour and tapioca starch. The cake has a soft, moist texture and a sweet, fragrant flavor. It is often served with a drizzle of coconut cream and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.

Banh Com

Banh Com is a green sticky rice cake that is filled with sweet mung bean paste and wrapped in a layer of young green rice flakes. The rice flakes are flavored with pandan leaves, which gives them their distinctive green color and fragrant aroma. Banh Com is a specialty of Hanoi, but it can be found in many bakeries throughout the country. It is often served as a dessert or a snack.

Overall, Vietnamese cakes and pastries are a delicious and unique addition to any dessert menu. With their delicate flavors and textures, they are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Sweet Soups and Drinks

Vietnamese cuisine is famous for its sweet soups and drinks that are perfect for beating the heat and satisfying one’s sweet tooth. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Che Ba Mau

Che Ba Mau, also known as the Three Color Dessert, is a refreshing sweet soup made with a combination of mung beans, red beans, and green jelly. The dessert is named for its three distinct layers of colors that are visually appealing and delicious. The dessert is often served cold and is perfect for a hot summer day.

Ca Phe Trung

Ca Phe Trung, or Vietnamese Egg Coffee, is a unique and delicious drink that is a must-try for coffee lovers. The drink is made with a combination of strong Vietnamese coffee and a whipped egg yolk mixture that creates a creamy and frothy texture. The drink is typically served hot and is a perfect pick-me-up for any time of the day.

Nuoc Sam

Nuoc Sam, also known as Vietnamese Chrysanthemum Tea, is a popular sweet drink that is enjoyed throughout Vietnam. The drink is made with dried chrysanthemum flowers, rock sugar, and water, and is often served cold. The tea is known for its floral aroma and sweet taste and is believed to have many health benefits, including reducing inflammation and promoting relaxation.

In conclusion, sweet soups and drinks are an essential part of Vietnamese cuisine and are a must-try for anyone visiting or exploring the country’s culinary delights.

Fruits and Sweets

Vietnam is known for its exotic fruits, and many of them are used in traditional desserts. Vietnamese desserts are often less sweet than Western desserts, but they are still full of flavor and texture. Here are a few popular fruits and sweets to try in Vietnam:

Boiled Ginger Pear

Boiled ginger pear is a simple yet delicious dessert that is often served during the winter months. The dessert consists of a pear that has been boiled in a mixture of sugar, water, and ginger. The result is a soft, sweet pear that is infused with the warm, spicy flavor of ginger. This dessert is often served hot and is perfect for warming up on a chilly day.

Coconut Candy

Coconut candy is a popular sweet treat in Vietnam. It is made by combining coconut milk, sugar, and malt syrup and cooking the mixture until it becomes thick and sticky. The mixture is then poured into molds and left to cool and harden. The result is a chewy, sweet candy that is perfect for satisfying a sweet tooth.

Mango Sticky Rice

Mango sticky rice is a popular dessert in many Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam. It consists of sticky rice that has been cooked in coconut milk and sugar and topped with fresh mango slices. The result is a sweet and creamy dessert that is perfect for a hot summer day.

In Vietnam, desserts are often enjoyed as a snack or a light meal. They are typically less sweet than Western desserts but are still full of flavor and texture. If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to try some of these delicious fruits and sweets during your visit to Vietnam.


Vietnamese cuisine is known for its bold flavors and fresh ingredients, and the country’s desserts are no exception. From the chewy and sweet bánh bò nướng to the fudge-like bánh đậu xanh, traditional Vietnamese desserts offer a delightful and unique taste experience.

One thing that sets Vietnamese desserts apart is the use of ingredients like pandan, coconut, and mung beans. These ingredients are not only delicious but also reflect the country’s agricultural heritage. Many Vietnamese desserts also have a symbolic significance, such as the three colors of Che Ba Mau representing luck, wealth, and happiness.

While some Vietnamese desserts may seem unfamiliar to Western palates, they are definitely worth trying. Whether you’re a fan of sweet treats or just looking to expand your culinary horizons, exploring the world of Vietnamese desserts is a journey you won’t regret.

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