50 shades of 'che' to keep summer cool

By Pham Van   June 14, 2016 | 05:30 am PT
The sweet dessert ‘che’ has always been the summer sweetheart to Vietnamese people, cause we all know that the main thirst quencher, ice, goes best with these sweet soups, be it watery or thick. VnExpress grabs a motorbike and drops you at the best ‘che’ places in Hanoi.

Black beans, green beans, red beans, any beans

The whole grain black bean and ground green bean ‘che’ are dominant dishes that can be found at every corner of Hanoi whenever the summer heat hits you. These ‘che’ pair beautifully with every topping, from Vietnamese black jelly to the coconut stuffed ‘tran chau’, making the best mixture to boost you up for the long summer days ahead. The duo also helps make the base for the famous ‘che thap cam’, the simplest choice when you are on the fence ordering ‘che’, because it’s the mix of every ‘che’ possible at the place.

All other kinds of bean ‘che’ seem to originate in Hue, a coastal city of central Vietnam with its own gastronomy. A bowl of ‘che’ full of beans is the delicacy here, but some may frown at the thrilling sweetness of these ‘che’.

The loveliest bean ‘che’ places in Hanoi sit on Hang Bac Street, Dong Xuan Market.

Che Thai

One could well bet that nobody knows about its origin, whether it has its root in Thailand or just borrows that name to make the dish stand out. Well, it actually does. People recognize ‘che Thai’ through its green and white thread made of boiled flour. Served with simple syrup, the dish has proved to be a craze at some places, such as that on Doi Can Street, where people have to queue for a chance to buy the ‘che Thai’ sold for only a few hours in the afternoon. ‘Che Thai’ boasts friendly toppings such as cooked banana and taro for those who desire a stickier texture.

The best ‘che Thai’ in Hanoi can be found on Doi Can, Tran Huy Lieu and Giang Vo streets.

The unique ‘che’ on Dao Duy Tu Street

In Hanoi, there is a street famous for its own beverage invention, Dao Duy Tu Street. Known well among young Hanoians and the expat community here for the original ‘tra chanh’, which literally means lime tea but even foreigners refuse to call it the English way. Dao Duy Tu boasts many other self-invented delicacies, and strangely enough, all of them taste good. And there is no other place to find these than Dao Duy Tu Street.

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