Foodie Friday: Chè

My first… Chè.

I’ve decided to not just write about dishes from cultures I’m associated with–American, Chinese, Malaysian, and Taiwanese–but also to reveal new foods that I’m discovering. Here’s my first foray into the unknown.

Chè: a Vietnamese dessert; exotic fillings in a milky bath, often served cold

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This is a refreshing drink, perfect for the heat wave we’ve been experiencing (I blame you, Santa Ana winds). It’s also known as “three color drink” because of the different fruits and jellies found in the beverage. Cups of chè can be found in refrigerators at Vietnamese grocery stores.

I ordered mine at a cafe (chè trái cây, to be exact). I was expecting more of a sweetness to this drink, but it wasn’t super-sugary. I was thinking something along the lines of sweetened soy milk, while it turned out more like plain soy milk. Nevertheless, it does cool you down. Also, I like how it’s similar to shaved ice (and I don’t mean snow cone), with its array of added ingredients.

Here’s the rundown of things floating in the coconut milk bath:

1. Lychee- Juicy fruit with bumpy red skin (not edible); has translucent color

2. Longan- Similar to lychee, but with a smooth brown skin; clear in hue and with a piercing sweet taste

3. Red tapioca- A starch, like that found in boba, but smaller and with bright red coloring

4. Jackfruit- Oval fruit, similar to durian; flesh inside is yellow and banana-shaped

5. Palm seed- The inner extractions of palm fruit

6. Jello- Gelatin strips

Want to make your own? See instructions here.

Tried any new foods lately?

A Little Bit of Luck
My Bamboo Generation

Comments

  1. Looks delicious. You got me with coconut milk and Jello strips. I need to find this drink soon-it’s still hot in Southern Cal at the coast.

    • Jennifer J. Chow says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Mona! I’m looking forward to the weather finally cooling down this weekend.

  2. Yummy! We have a Filipino version of it called Halo-halo (translated: mix-mix). It is perfect for a hot day.

    • Jennifer J. Chow says:

      There’s a similar Malaysian recipe called Bubur Cha Cha which is a coconut milk dessert. Fun names, huh?

  3. This sounds delicious, especially, you’re right with the California heat wave.
    II like the Asian teas served with small tapioca pearls at the bottom, which nowadays can be found pretty much everwhere.
    In terms of new foods, I have actually done recently a dessert that I hadn’t made in ages but used to prepare once a week when my children were little.
    Your post reminded me of that since it is made with milk and tapioca. It’s a fluffy dessert, thanks to one beaten white egg, not too sweet since there is little sugar. The longest part is the cooking because you have to stir nonstop until full boil on slow heat. I served it in tall plastic glasses when my children were young and they called ‘desserts dans les verres” which is the literal translation. Later I used fancier serving cups.
    When I made it a few night ago I texted my oldest daughters and told them and they were so disappointed to be away from hoem that night.
    Food connects us in so many ways.

    • Jennifer J. Chow says:

      Oh yes, I like tapioca milk tea :) So nice to hear about how food connects families; maybe I should start a tradition. I remember eating grass jelly with my folks on hot summer days.

  4. Romelle beat me to it. Jackfruit is a quintessential ingredient in Halo-halo. Here in Hawaii, these traditions start to blur as the proprietor pulls from Vietnamese, Filipino, and Japanese cultures. Our island-style shave ice has its cultural roots in the Kakig?ri of Japan. Makes me want to take a trip down to Shimazu Store.

    • Jennifer J. Chow says:

      Mmm, island shaved ice. There are several Hawaiian shops opening up here in Cali, but I’m not sure if they’re equivalent. (I once went on a trip to Hawaii and kept trying to chase the shaved ice truck.)

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