Vietnam may be more famous for its noodle soups than its desserts, but that doesn’t mean you should scrap sweet treats from your must-try list. Here are six of Saigon’s best spots for those with a sugar craving.
Thien Ban Pagoda Chè Chuối Stall
Chè chuối, or steamed banana in coconut sauce, is a simple yet delicious Vietnamese treat served at a number of street stalls. A favoured spot for eating this tasty dessert in the evening is just in front of Thien Ban Pagoda. Here, you can pull up a stool with other tourists and locals after a day exploring the area, and enjoy a sweet bite to eat. Although there’s no official closing time, the stall has often gone by 9pm, as the in-demand snack has sold out.
If you’re looking for something cool and refreshing on a hot Saigon summer day, Trop B is a great choice. This place may not look like anything special from the outside, but it’s brimming with tasty iced desserts. A firm favourite on the menu is the colourful fruit salad. Cast aside thoughts of unappealing tinned chunks of pineapple, you’ll receive a fresh bowl full of juicy exotic fruit. Another must-try is kem xôi, or ice cream with sticky rice. As with many Vietnamese dishes, it tastes a lot better than it sounds!
Fanny Ice Cream
With a number of branches around Ho Chi Minh City, this stylish parlour is a hit with locals and visitors alike. The popular haunt boasts 100% natural ingredients and a much-loved buffet on Thursdays and Fridays. The most impressive part is the array of flavours, ranging from durian to green apple sorbet, and from chilli chocolate to young rice ice cream, along with 40 other types.
Bé Chè at Ben Thanh Market
Located in the bustling Bến Thành Market, this chè stall is a feast for all the senses. The colourful counter is filled with glass containers of ingredients, from kidney beans and durian chunks to coconut jelly and lychees. Pick a few exotic items and then enjoy your rainbow dessert as you wander around the busy market. Need further convincing? Testament to its tasty eats, Bé Chè has been serving happy customers for over 50 years.
Rau Câu Dừa Street Stall
For those who don’t have a particularly sweet tooth, rau câu dừa is a tempting alternative to Saigon’s sugary desserts. This dish is comprised of jelly set in a real coconut shell, along with fresh coconut juice. A refreshing chilled treat for a warm day, this specialty can be found at a little street stall on Trường Sơn Street. Although the stall itself is not particularly noticeable, the giveaway will be the crowd of people clutching coconuts and spoons.
Cupcakes may not be a classic Vietnamese dessert, but they’re still worth sampling in Saigon. A crop of stylish bakeries have sprung up across Ho Chi Minh City in the past few years, but Pacey Cupcakes has carved itself a space as one of the best, thanks to a rich choice of adorable cakes, elaborately decorated with seasonal themes.
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