Photo of the Week: Appetizing, no?

Meet Che.  You totally want to eat that, right?

I know, you’re saying, “I’d sooner eat dog.  Give me the beating cobra heart in the glass of blood and rice wine!”

At least, that’s what I said.  Then, one afternoon I found a che* stall that had pretty looking ingredients–something green, something purple, something pink.  Unfortunately for you, it was gone before I could whip out my camera.  Self-control is not one my virtues.

This che comes from my new neighborhood, a totally Vietnamese no-foreigners-except-myself-and-my-housemates place near the French Hospital.  Go to Ngo 4, Phuong Mai in Hanoi’s Dong Da District, walk along until you get to the market and you’ll find the sweetest che lady you’ve ever met.  It cost 10,000 VND (.50 USD).  It’s a textural wonderland, a playground for your tongue, given the variety of ingredients:  taro, coconut milk, shaved coconut, tapioca, mango, banana, lotus seeds, apple or pear, black beans, mung beans, kidney beans.

I’ve found that I crave something sweet–ice cream, a pastry, sugarcane juice, tra chanh (lemon-y iced tea), ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee) in the afternoons, especially on the most humid days.  Che, with it’s combination of icey drink and chewy, pudding-y delight, has become one of  my rotating circle of desserts.




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