FOOD ~ Hanoi, Hoan Kiem

Must-try Che in Hanoi winter

cWinter has finally arrived, though it is definitely unusual one this year. Beside favorite grill food, hot “che” – Vietnamese dessert soup or pudding – is always on my list of beloved winter food, and among che stalls in Hanoi, Che Ba Thin is usually in my priority, especially when my sweet thirst calls 😉

Established in 1930, this place has grown to a larger shop from the beginning. “Thin” is the name of the female founder. I have come here when I was a kid, and this place was a tiny one-meter stall on pavement with 3-5 small plastic stools, and sometimes I must eat while standing. It is fun and sweet memory 🙂 Though I’m happy for the development of the shop, sometimes I still miss the old days.


The left side is winter menu, right side is summer menu.

Winter menu:

  • Xoi vo (sticky rice coated with mung bean) with lotus seeds (pre-order 24h)
  • Xoi vo is eaten with one of three types of che
    • Mung bean
    • Ba cot (read below)
    • Black beans (read below)
  • Mung bean pudding – recipe
  • Che con ong (a type of dark pudding with rice, ginger, honey, and molasses)
  • Banh troi tau nong (read below)

Summer menu:

  • Lotus seeds
  • Black beans
  • Mung bean
  • “Sau” a.k.a Dracontomelon (I didn’t name it, check the Wiki page 😀 ). It has sour taste, and often be used in summer to cook soup or mix with sugar, water and ice as a drink. People also preserved it by sugar and others to make “o mai” (traditional food,preserved sugared or salted fruit)
  • Mix of grass jelly, tapioca pearls and sweet sauce with jasmine scent.

In summer, you definitely can mix few flavors together, like beans with lotus seeds, or add grass jelly and tapioca pearls 😀 They also do shipping, phone number is on the menu.

Che ba cot: made from brown sugar, glutinous rice and ginger. Thick sweet browny sauce, reminds you about honey.

Amount of Xoi Vo is optional. In the cold of winter, it’s wonderful to enjoy the bold sweet taste of sugar, the viscosity of each rice grain, the warm and spicy scent of ginger.

Warning: it is sweet, prepare yourself (*^∀゚)ъ

Che do den: made from black beans, the sauce is thicken by tapioca starch. Sometimes people add coconut milk or ginger, and shredded coconut as topping. I prefer eating che do den with ginger only.

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If you are unlucky and your black beans are still hard, not soft and “breakable” even they are cooked in long time, adding tiny amount of baking soda will save you. Or, best tip in my personal experience, is roasting black beans in 10 minutes (high heat) before cooking it with water, your black beans will be soft, well-cooked and not crushed.

Che do den is my favorite dessert in summer because the sauce is light and it has grass jellies. I’m not a big fan of this vicious sauce in winter season, but I still try it once a while 🙂

Banh troi Tau nong: somewhat similar with Chinese dessert, Tangyuan. These are glutinous rice balls with fillings such as mung bean, coconut, black sesame. Banh troi in here is less sweet than some places, so it becomes my favorite option 😀

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#phoholicinhanoi 👏 (English below) Trời lạnh húp tí bát trôi tàu có vỏ bánh dẻo nhân thơm nước ấm mùi gừng nào ❤❤❤❤. Nhà mình hay ăn chè ở đây từ hồi quán còn gian hàng bé tí với xôi chè, giờ mùa hè thì có chè thập cẩm vừa thơm mùi sen vừa mát lại có thạch đen nữa. Giờ quán có ở 2 bên đường tha hồ mà ăn 😻. Ở Hàng Cân ăn bánh trôi tàu cũng ngon nhưng cảm giác ở Hàng Bồ đỡ ngọt hơn ✌✌✌ 🔼🔼🔼🔼🔼🔼🔼🔼🔼🔼🔼 📍: 93 – 95 Hàng Bồ (số 1 Bát Đàn), quận Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội // 🕰: 6:00 – 21:30 // 💸: 17k đồng/ bát bánh trôi tàu ________________________________ 🇻🇳 "Bánh trôi tàu" is a famous Hanoian winter dessert 🙋🙋. It's a bit like mochi made with glutinous rice flour, wrapping mung bean or black sesame fillings. 💌The balls are served in thick brown liquid made of water, sugar, and ginger, with peanuts garnished on top. Best when served hot❗❗❗ 🔽🔽🔽🔽🔽🔽🔽🔽🔽🔽🔽📍: 93-95 Hàng Bồ Str. (1 Bát Đàn Str.), Hoan Kiem Dist., Hanoi, Vietnam // 🕰: 6am – 9:30pm // 💸: 17k dong/bowl #phoholic #hanoifood #banhtroitau #lozihanoi #foodyhanoi #foodie #foodlover #eathanoi #travelhanoi #foodporn #instafood #hanoi #vietnam #eatlikelocals #hanoispecialty

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The process of making and cooking a similar type of dessert are mentioned in a special poem 😉 Banh Troi Nuoc (“The Floating Cake”) is a poem of Ho Xuan Huong, a female poet who was born during the time of political and social turmoil. She is considered to be one of greatest Vietnamese classical poet, and was dubbed “The Queen of Nôm poetry” (Nom is the logographic writing system of the Vietnamese language, popular between 15th and 19th century). Her poems are subtle and witty, show her independent mind and resistant to societal norms in a Confucian society. The “Banh Troi Nuoc” poem presents briefly about fate and life of Vietnamese women, under the image of making these glutinous rice balls 🙂 The floating cake mentioned above is different with Banh troi Tau. Those melting sugar cube inside the dough makes Banh Troi uniquely Vietnamese, recipe can be found here.

Banh Troi Nuoc (“The Floating Cake”) – Ho Xuan Huong

My body is white, softly rounded; (OH YES!)
My fate rise and sink like mountains in streams. (OH NO 😦 )
Whatever way hands may shape me,
at center my heart is red and true. (I LOVE YOU) – I mean banh troi nuoc 😉

Xoi Che Ba Thin

1 Bat Dan (corner of Bat Dan – Hang Thiec – Hang Bo, easy to see)


4 thoughts on “Must-try Che in Hanoi winter”

  1. oh nice. the verity of foods there are fantastic. here in our area restaurants usually have same meals in summer and winter. but if you are interested in the season menu I think you should try just fruits and the shops that are related to season fruits.


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