The lean and slender Vietnamese people may not look the part, but they are also fond of desserts. In fact, the country’s cuisine offers a wide variety of desserts—mainly made from the abundant rice, coconuts, sugar canes and fruits its fertile soil has been blessed to produce.
Vietnam has several delicious sweet cakes and desserts. Bánh bò or “cow cake” has the texture of honeycomb and is made from glutinous rice flour. A rectangular-shaped dessert called Bánh cáy is also made of glutinous rice, which is roasted and grinded. The Bánh da lợn, on the other hand, is a colourful layer cake that is made from steaming tapioca, rice flour, coconut milk and sugar.. On the other hand, Chè chuối is tapioca pudding made from a mixture of bananas and tapioca. Grass jelly or sương sáo is cooked by boiling the old leaves of Mesona chinensis—a plant closely related to mint—along with potassium carbonate and starch. The mixture is then cooled off until it becomes jelly-like in consistency. Mè xửng Huế are popular candy that orginated in Huế. The chewy candy is a concoction of sugar cane sugar, coated sesame seeds and peanuts. The Kẹo dừa or coconut candy is another well-loved sweet in Vietnam. These candies are made by mixing coconut cream and coconut milk.
Vietnamese cuisine also boasts of its sweet rice dishes that double as desserts and snacks. Such rice dish is the Bánh chưng, a square-shaped rice dumpling that is created by steaming glutinous rice inside a dong leaf. Meanwhile, the Bánh tét is a glutinous rice cake filled with meat or vegetables, which is shaped like a log and wrapped in banana leaf. Another rice dish is the Bánh trôi, otherwise known as bánh chay or “floating cakes,” because they are boiled rice balls served with bánh chay.
Other sweet cakes commonly eaten in Vietnam include the Bánh chuối (banana cakes), Bánh khoai môn (taro cakes), Bánh trung thu (moon cakes), Bánh khoai mì (sweet cassava cakes) and Bánh tiêu (hollow doughnuts). Since most Vietnam desserts are made from rice and starches, these sweet delicacies are very filling and are good for hungry stomachs.