As Good As Vietnam Gets
Savoring a Sweet Bite of Hanoi’s Street Food
Have you ever tried “a dumpling drifting in water" on the streets of Hanoi? Although it may sound intimidating, like one of those dishes featured on Anthony Bourdain’s epic food shows, this simple, yet delectable dessert is known amongst the streets as chè trôi nước (aka bánh trôi nước).
This popular dish has some history. It was featured in a poem written by one of Vietnam’s most courageous female poets, Ho Xuan Huong (1772 - 1822). In this poem, she compared Vietnamese women with this dessert to secretly criticize gender inequality in Vietnam.
Chè trôi nước is very popular throughout Hanoi but people from many other regions in Vietnam indulge in it as well. Although its recipe has many variations, it consists of sticky rice balls stuffed with bean paste and cooked in sugar and ginger syrup. To make this dessert even more delicious and eye-catching, try it with some roasted sesame seeds sprinkled on top. People from the South will even take it a step further, adding coconut milk on top to boost its richness.
This dessert can be served hot in a small bowl, making it a popular dish for Hanoians in winter as the weather is much colder than it is in the South. Hot or cold — it is just as tasty.
Justin Mott, a resident professional photographer from the reality TV show, “Photo Face-Off,” reveals the delicious street food scene in Hanoi capturing a server with a tray full of chè trôi nước. See more of Justin’s images at www.justinmott.com.