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Vietnamese desserts do not have the same notoriety as Vietnamese cuisine.
When most people think of Vietnamese food, Pho Soup, Bahn Mi sandwiches and rice noodle dishes spring to mind.
Vietnamese desserts, however, deserve a special spotlight.
While traveling through Vietnam, we discovered many unique Vietnamese sweets.
Traditional Vietnamese desserts made with bananas, coconut, glutinous rice, bean puddings and fruit jellies are typical.
And, in Vietnam, desserts can take the form of sweet soups, doughy rolls, cakes, iced treats and much more.
If you love sweets and are open to new flavors, and textures, you’re in for a treat with Vietnamese desserts.
Typically low in sugar and made with healthy ingredients, you’ll find a wide array of sweet options to choose from.
In this article, we highlight 14 of the most delightful and popular Vietnamese desserts.
Get ready for an indulgent and exotic Vietnamese dessert adventure.
Vietnamese Che or Chè – The Word for Vietnamese Desserts
Che or Chè in Vietnamese, literally means desserts. It is the word for traditional Vietnamese desserts and also Vietnamese sweet soups.
Chè sweet soups are typically made of several ingredients mixed together and served in a large beer glass.
In our article about the top authentic must eat foods in Hanoi, we highlight che desserts. Here are a few more to add to the must-eat Vietnamese desserts.
1. Che Ba Mau or Chè Ba Mau Chè Ba Màu – Three Color Dessert
Che Ba Mau is most commonly referred to as the three color dessert. Although, with Vietnam’s heat, the three layers of color quickly turn into a multi-colored dessert.
It consists of a layer of yellow mung bean paste, red beans, and green pandan jelly, topped with coconut milk.
Ultimately, what we love about che is the ability to customize it. Simply ask the vendor for whichever toppings you want, and they will make it to order for you.
This Vietnamese dessert is served in a cup or mug, topped with ice and a long spoon to mix in the different layers.
It is an interesting looking dessert filled with unique textures. Fresh and tasty, it’s perfect for a hot and humid day in Vietnam.
Che Ba Mau is simple to make at home. Get the recipe below and enjoy this Vietnamese dessert at home.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: Che Ba Mau Recipe: Easy and Refreshing Vietnamese Dessert
Where To Eat Che Ba Mau
It is easy to find che vendors on the streets of the major cities across Vietnam. In Hanoi, we listed a great street vendor to get your che fix in our Hanoi food guide.
Another place we enjoyed for che was in Da Nang, in the central region of Vietnam.
At Xoa Xoa, you will find che and yogurt to help you cool you off on hot days.
Address: 187 Hải Phòng, Da Nang.
Hours: Open everyday from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm
Prices: Chè from 12,000 VND to 20,000 VND (approx. $0.52 USD to $0.88 USD)
2. Che Bap or Chè Bắp – Sweet Corn Pudding
Che Bap is a simple Vietnamese dessert made with sweet corn and glutinous rice or tapioca starch. It can be served in a glass or bowl and eaten with no additional toppings.
Although it’s a simple dish, it is quite delicious and filling especially, when made with local fresh sweet corn.
Where To Eat Che Bap
The best place to try Che Bap is in Hoi An, in Vietnams’ central region. Vendors use local sweet corn from the region, called Cam Nam corn. The sweetness in this Vietnamese dessert comes naturally from the corn.
This corn is celebrated with an annual festival in February. If you are in Vietnam during this time, don’t miss the popular Cam Nam Corn Festival.
Cam Nam Island, a nearby village to Hoi An, is one of the best places to try Che Bap. There are several restaurants along the river serving local dishes including che bap dessert.
Ideally, for the freshest and sweetest corn, savor Che Bap during the harvest season, between March and September.
Address: Xuyen Trung, Cam Nam, Hoi An
Hours: Open everyday from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm
Prices: 20,000 VND for Che Bap (approx. $0.88 USD)
3. Che Troi Nuoc or Chè Trôi Nước – Ginger Rice Ball Soup
Che Troi Nuoc is a sweet soup made with mung bean paste wrapped in glutinous rice flour.
It is then dipped in a warm and flavorful ginger sauce. Served hot, it is chewy and simply delicious.
This is a favorite Vietnamese dessert and a tasty sweet soup for a chilly night.
READ MORE: The Best Pho in Vietnam
Where to Eat Che Troi Nuoc
We had the opportunity to taste this Vietnamese dessert in Hanoi, and it is available all over Vietnam.
Look for che vendors with their mobile carts and take the opportunity to try this delicious Vietnamese dessert.
Address: 52 Hàng Điếu, Hanoi
Hours: Open everyday from 8:00 pm until 11:00 pm.
Prices: About 10,000 VND to 25,000 VND (approx. $0.44 USD to $1.10 USD)
4. Che Chuoi or Chè Chuối – Vietnamese Banana Soup
Che Chuoi is one of my favorite Vietnamese desserts. It is a sweet soup made with sliced banana pieces, served with tapioca pearls.
This Vietname dessert is then dipped into a hot coconut milk soup and topped with peanuts and sesame seeds.
The delicious flavors reside in the use of a particular variety of bananas found in Southeast Asia, called chuối sứ.
These bananas are small in size, sweet and very flavorful.
The unique combination of coconut milk and the savory peanuts, takes you directly to Vietnamese dessert heaven.
Where to Eat Che Chuoi
While in Hoi An, we stumbled onto this street vendor busy with locals stopping by for che chuoi dessert
This particular vendor had two versions of this che chuoi Vietnamese dessert.
One kind was called chè chuối hap. In this case, the bananas were made as steamed cakes and then cut into small slices. It was topped with hot coconut milk.
The second version was chè chuối nuong. This was made with bananas rolled in sticky or glutinous rice and then roasted in banana leaves.
The bananas were then cut in pieces and served in the coconut sweet soup.
The results were outstanding. My absolutely favorite Vietnamese dessert The banana pieces were slightly crunchy and a real delight.
If you are not sure which one to order, indulge in both desserts. Guaranteed, you’ll not be disappointed.
A must stop vendor if you are traveling to Hoi An!
Che Chuoi Lady Street Vendor, Hoi An
Address: Located on the sidewalk directly across Thanh Cao Lầu, on 26 Thái Phiên, Hoi An (a great place to get Cao Lau).
Hours: Open everyday from about 2:00 pm until 8:00 pm
Prices: About 10,000 VND (approx. $0.44 USD) for each che chuoi Vietnamese dessert.
5. Che Ba Ba or Chè Bà Ba – Sweet Potato, Taro and Cassava Soup
Che Ba Ba is another classic Vietnamese dessert you don’t want to miss.
The basic ingredients in che ba ba are taro, translucent tapioca pearls, cassava, and long sweet potato. They are cooked all together in sweet coconut milk.
This Vietnam dessert is warm and filling and a simple sweet soup enjoyed amongst locals on the sidewalks.
Where to Eat Che Ba Ba
One evening in Hoi An, while looking for che chuoi, we stumbled onto a street vendor tucked in a corner.
The only Vietnamese dessert they had at that time of the night was Che Ba Ba.
We decided to give it a try and we were absolutely charmed. Both by the dessert and the quaint corner where we had it.
Our vendor was very welcoming and quite surprised to see us. She treated us like special guests for not being afraid of eating on streets on little Vietnamese stools.
This ended up not only being a great place for dessert, but also a nice location adjacent to a Buddhist temple.
Che Ba Ba Vendor
Address: Located next to Chùa Pháp Bảo Buddhist temple at Hai Bà Trưng, Hoi An.
Hours: Open every day from 8:00 pm until 11:00 pm
Prices: About 10,000 VND to 25,000 VND (approx. $0.44 USD to $1.10 USD)
6. Che Dau Xanh or Chè Đậu Xanh – Sweet Mung Bean Vietnamese Dessert
Che Dau Xanh is a simplified version of the che ba mau dessert. It only has one layer, the yellow mung bean layer.
Mung beans and coconut milk are the two main ingredients that make up this dessert.
In Vietnam, we found this dessert served in either a glass or in a bowl like a soup. It’s a tasty alternative to che ba mau.
And, if you love mung beans and would rather have a lighter Vietnamese dessert, this is a simple option.
Where to Eat Che Dau Xanh
You can order Che Dau Xanh at any street vendor making che or Vietnamese desserts. It’s a typical dessert on the menu with the full Vietnamese dessert name spelled out.
This makes it easy to point it out and get your order without any mishaps.
In Danang, we spotted Che Xuan Trang, a colorful shop, always busy, serving che to a young Vietnamese crowd.
We decided to give it a try one night and came back for more. The atmosphere was authentically local and youthful.
Eating amongst the locals is the perfect way to immerse yourself while enjoying a delightful Vietnamese sweet.
Address: 31 Lê Duẩn, Hải Châu 1, Hải Châu, Da Nang
Hours: Open everyday from 8:00 am until 10:00 pm
Price: 10,000 VND (approx. $0.44 USD)
Banh or Bánh – Vietnamese Sweet Cakes
Banh or bánh literally means cake or bread. It is commonly followed by a descriptive word to qualify what type of banh you will eat.
For example Banh Mi or Bánh Mì refers to the world famous Vietnamese sandwich. While Banh Chuoi or Bánh Chuối refers to a sweet banana cake.
Given the vast array of bánh or cakes found in Vietnam, we struggled to choose a few to highlight.
Following are a few of the most popular and ones we found delightful.
7. Banh Dau Xanh or Bánh Dau Xanh – Mung Bean Pastries
Mung Bean pastries are extremely popular and a specialty dessert from Vietnam. These were some of our favorite Vietnamese pastries.
As with any Vietnamese desserts, we found several types of mung bean pastries, each more delicious than the one before.
So, picking just a few to highlight was no easy task.
First, you have soft mung bean pastries called Banh Dau Xanh. These are made with mung beans, sugar, oil and fat.
These pastries are small and rectangular in shape. Yellow in color, they are powdery, with pieces similar to shapes of chocolate candy. Each piece melts in the mouth with delicious sweet flavors.
The best way to enjoy these desserts is to bite into one piece at a time, while sipping on Vietnamese tea. The sweetness of the cake counters the bitter taste of the tea.
Quite addictive, you want to eat moderately.
For a taste of these delightful Vietnamese desserts, find the original Banh Dau Xanh on Amazon.
Next, you have salty mung bean cakes, a specialty from Hoi An.
Surprisingly, they are also called Banh Dau Xanh. This is a cookie-like-cake that is really dry, crunchy, and sweet with a slight salty finish.
These were not our top choice, but a definite must try in the food centric town of Hoi An.
Where to Eat Banh Dau Xanh
In Ho Chi Minh City
Nhà Bánh Ngọt Bảo Hiên Rồng Vàng for Bánh Dau Xanh and Bánh Pia
Address: 167 Lý Tự Trọng, District 1, Ho Chi Minh
Hours: Open everyday from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:30:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Prices: 25,000 VND for a full box of cakes (approx. $1.10 USD)
In Hoi An
Address: Many vendors will sell Banh Dau Xanh dry cakes. Look at the local markets or convenience stores.
Prices: About 25,000 VND for a full box of cakes (approx. $1.10 USD)
8. Banh Pia or Bánh Pia – Mung Bean Cakes
Another option to satisfy your craving for mung beans are the soft mung bean cakes with egg called Banh Pia.
These are my go to sweets when looking for a dessert in Vietnam or in any Vietnamese community around the world.
Delicious, they are sweet and soft Vietnamese cakes filled with mung beans. You can also find them with different fillings.
Popular stuffings include taro, red bean, or purple yam, each one making for colorful Vietnamese desserts.
Another popular filling in Vietnam are those with durian fruit paste. The exterior of the cake usually has a thin crust stamped in red at the top.
If you want to taste these delicious Vietnamese cakes, you can find Banh Pia on Amazon.
Where to Eat Banh Pia
Although you’ll find bakeries in Vietnam selling Vietnamese sweets and sandwiches, Banh Pia is not always available.
One of our favorite Vietnamese bakeries is in Danang. Located a few blocks away from the apartment where we stayed, we frequented it often.
We would typically choose Banh Pia Vietnamese desserts filled with mung beans or purple yam. This bakery is also a solid option for simple Banh Mi sandwiches.
Address: 152 Nguyễn Công Trứ, An Hải, Sơn Trà, Da Nang
Hours: Open everyday from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm
Price: 10,000 VND for each cake (approx. $0.44 USD)
Tiệm Bánh Bảo Thạnh Bakery for Banh Pia and all sorts of pastries
Address: 265 Trần Hưng Đạo, Hue.
Hours: Open everyday from 6:00 am to 5:00 pmPrices: 10,000 VND for each cake (approx. $0.44 USD)
9. Banh Tra Xan or Bánh Tra Xan – King Roti Coffee Buns
Banh Tra Xan are soft coffee buns that you will find sold in many bakeries around the country.
Rich and not sweet, these buns are crunchy and crispy on the outside.
You can typically find them flavored with chocolate, matcha, or vanilla.
Where to Eat Banh Tra Xan
Our favorite Banh Tra Xan were in Hanoi.
Strategically located at a busy corner, King Roti’s open restaurant draws you in with whiffs of freshly baked buns.
Before you know it, you’ll find yourself crossing the street to get in line. Your biggest decisions will be to either try the chocolate, matcha, vanilla or cheese coffee buns.
We tried the matcha coffee buns and were extremely delighted. Fresh the oven, the buns were warm to the touch.
The soft, melt-in-your-mouth experience is worth getting in line for.
Address: 34 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
Hours: Open everyday, 6:45 am to 11:30 pm
Price: Cost per bun, 14,000 VND (approx $0.61USD)
Authentic Food Quest Hanoi Itinerary
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10. Banh Xoai or Bánh Xoài – Vietnamese Mango Cake
This mango cake or banh xoai is another favorite. As a lover of dough, any dessert that has a chewy texture and a light sweet finish is for me.
The mango cake is a specialty from Quang Nam province in central Vietnam.
But be warned, this dessert has nothing to do with mango, except its shape.
It is said to resemble a mango or a mango seed and that’s the reason it’s called mango cake.
The cake, in fact, is made of glutinous rice filled with a sweet mixture of peanuts and sesame seeds.
The texture is really soft and chewy. And the appearance is similar to an uncooked dessert.
Once you bite into the glutinous shell, you get a burst of sweet and savory flavors from the filling.
This is one Vietnamese dessert that engages all your senses, from sight, touch, to taste.
Where to Eat Banh Xoai
A central Vietnam specialty, you find several regional vendors selling banh xoai.
In the old town of Hoi An are several Banh Xoai vendors. Sample the mango cakes from a few vendors and find your favorite flavors.
Banh Xoai Vendors
Address: Old Town, Trần Phú street, Hoi An, Vietnam
Hours: Open every day in the afternoons
Price: Cost per cake, 5,000 VND (approx $0.22 USD)
Even More Interesting Sweet Vietnamese Desserts
11. Sinh To or Sinh Tố – Vietnamese Fruit Shakes
Sinh To are rich and creamy Vietnamese fruit shakes. Simple to make, they consist of fresh fruits, condensed milk, and ice blended together.
Depending on the vendor, additional milk or even water may be added to smoothen it out.
On hot and humid nights, we would often stop for Sinh To after dinner. Not only would this Vietnamese dessert quiet the flames of hot dishes, it was also particularly refreshing.
The habit of stopping at a local vendor for this Vietnamese fruit shake dessert is one we adopted from locals.
Every evening, locals would congregate at Sinh To stalls and order these tasty and refreshing Vietnamese desserts.
You have a choice of fruits and we usually let the vendor pick the seasonal fruits to add to our Vietnamese fruit shake.
Easy to drink and not too sweet, this was one of the best Vietnamese desserts to end the day on.
Where to Eat Sinh To
Sinh To is one of the most popular Vietnam desserts you’ll find around the country.
Late in the afternoon and into dusk, look for the brightly colored carts with a variety of fruits on display.
Spot for the name Sinh To prominently displayed on the street cart and simply place your order.
Pull up a seat at a nearby stool and table and enjoy one of the most refreshing Vietnamese desserts.
We experienced particularly hot and humid days in Da Nang. This Sinh To vendor close to our apartment had our preference.
Address: Located before the street vendor Mì Quảng Cô Nuôi at 912 Ngô Quyền, Da Nang
Hours: Open everyday in the eveningPrice: 20,000 VND (approx $0.86 USD)
12. Xi Ma – Black Sesame Soup
Xi Ma or black sesame soup gets its strange color from the main ingredient, black sesame. It is a popular dessert from Hoi An and usually sold by street vendors.
The dessert itself is quite tasty, dense and not too sweet. Served hot, it contains pennywort, an herb with many health benefits, used in Chinese medicine.
Where to Eat Xi Ma
Late one afternoon, walking down the streets of Hoi An a lady vendor caught our attention.
She was sitting on the sidewalk with a big metallic pot stirring a thick black liquid.
Curious and intrigued we stopped to ask what it was. In spite of a language barrier, we were able to understand that the thick black liquid was edible and sweet.
With that in mind, we bought some to taste and found it delightful.
In Vietnam, don’t be afraid of the local Vietnamese desserts you’ll find. Even the strange looking black ones.
Address: Nguyễn Trường Tộ between Lý Thường Kiệt and Thái Phiên, Hoi An.
Hours: Check in the afternoons
Price: Cost of one bowl 10,000 VND (approx $0.44USD)
13. O Mai or Ô Mai – Salted or Sugared Dry Fruits
Salted or sugared dry fruits are traditional Vietnamese desserts, especially during Tết holiday or Lunar New Year.
Hang Duong Street (Sugar Street) in Hanoi, is famous for O mai, and the place to get unique flavors made from family treasured recipes.
The taste is a combination of salty, sweet, mixed in with the pungent fresh ginger and natural fruit flavors.
Some of the popular O mai flavors are apricot, plum, kumquat, starfruit, mango, tamarind, ginger, sweet potato.
Flavors based on condiments like chili, ginger, lime, licorice are also worth tasting.
Where to Eat O Mai
Our first experience with O mai was at a street vendor on Hang Duong Street. We didn’t know what flavors to order, so we got a handful of 3 different kinds. Two were fruit based and one was ginger flavored.
We were surprised at how delicious these little treats were. While sweet, you don’t get the immediate sugar rush you might have from processed sugar.
It’s no wonder these dried fruits O mai fruits are so popular. Make sure you grab these Vietnamese desserts on your trip to Hanoi.
Address: 21 Hang Duong Street, Hanoi.
Hours: Open everyday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Prices: About 20,000 VND for 100g or 3.5oz ($0.88 USD)
14. Kem – Traditional Vietnamese Ice Cream
Kem or Vietamese ice cream is a popular and much loved Vietnamese dessert. And since Rosemary is an ice cream lover, we couldn’t help but indulge in this traditional dessert.
You’ll find ice cream parlors in all cities in Vietnam, including familiar international brands. Get the local experience when you order Kem from a street cart or vendor.
To cool off from the mid afternoon sweltering heat try unique Vietnamese ice cream flavors.Try tropical fruit flavors like soursop, avocado, durian or the popular Vietnamese coffee ice cream.
Our most memorable ice cream Vietnamese desserts was an avocado and coconut flavored ice cream known as Kem Bo.
We discovered this popular vendor on a Danang food tour. Considered one of the best ice cream stalls in the city we enjoyed the simple and decadent rich flavors.
Made fresh with avocado, coconut ice cream and shaved ice, this is one unmissable Vietnamese dessert.
Where to Eat Kem
Given the popularity of ice cream in Vietnam, you’ll find several parlors and street stalls to try.
Avoid the international brands and go for the traditional Vietnamese ice cream experience.
We highly recommend the best Vietnamese ice cream vendor at Con Market in Danang.
This is the largest market in the city and one of the best places to experience local life. The clean stall with unique ice cream flavor is the best stop for this popular Vietnamese dessert.
Address: Inside Con Market food court, 290 Hùng Vương, Da Nang
Hours: Open everyday during the day
Price: 25,000 VND (approx $1.08 USD)
Vietnamese desserts are different from the typical desserts that you find in the U.S. or in European countries.
The colors, textures and tastes are all unusual, as well as the ingredients used.
The bursts of sweet and savory flavors create unique sensory experiences.
With countless che options, sweet dessert soups and, banh sweet cakes, you are in for a Vietnamese sweets adventure.
One of the wonderful aspects of Vietnamese desserts is that they can be healthy. Many ingredients like ginger, mung beans, sesame, bananas and more, provide important vitamins and minerals to the body.
So, don’t give it another thought, indulge in these delightful popular Vietnamese desserts.
Are you tempted by any of these Vietnamese desserts? Which one have you had or would like to try? Leave your comments below.
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Claire is co-founder of Authentic Food Quest and a lover of simple and exquisite cuisine. Since 2015, with her partner, Rosemary, she has been traveling the world as a digital nomad, creating content about local food experiences.
Her advice from visiting 45 countries and more than 240 food cities has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post. She has also co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
An ex-mechanical engineer, Claire is responsible for SEO, keeping the website running, and the fun food & travel videos on YouTube.
When Claire is not eating, she can be found running or cycling. Find out more about Authentic Food Quest