achup hoa


Che Cravings
January 28, 2010, 6:57 am
Filed under: Food, Vietnam

Dinner tonight was followed by the act of grabbing my computer, plopping into a giant green armchair, and searching for a fruit bread recipe, followed by muffin recipes, and then by this time, when I realized that I didn’t have enough ingredients in the kitchen, I wandered towards perusing Che recipes.

Compared to the culinary palettes of the French, Americans, European, and what other people groups that have existed in this world, the Vietnamese do not have as much of a selection of sweet treats or sugary concoctions. However, they do have Che, which comes in an array of flavors, if you can call it that. When I first tried to explain it to others (and then articulate it to myself), it did not sound appealing at all. Listen to this: “Well, it’s sort of a thick, sweet soup pudding and you can have different kinds of things in like fruit, or vegetables, or beans.” Sounds more like a stew gone rotten. Mais non mon amies. Au contraire.

Che–mingling with ice cubes, cooled a bit, harmoniously at one with the room temperature, slightly warmed, or steaming hot–is light or hearty, subtle or strong. A cold Che Trai will cool you down on a humid night, when there’s nothing to do in Sai Gon except sing karaoke and plop down on the side of the road for some dirt cheap Che. A warm Che Troi Nuoc will coat your teeth and gums with a pleasantly smooth and chewy texture after a meal of crisp vegetables and cold, slick noodles.

My little beating heart drooled away at some pictures during the bread and muffin-failed recipe search, and then I pined for that tiny little Che stop some friends and I went to in Hue. It was in a narrow alley near where we were staying. We sat on tiny kid-sized plastic chairs with cartoon kids plastered on the seats. The tables were tiny. The cups of Che were tiny. Everything was so tiny, but so good.

Cause for heart drooling (Disclaimer: I apologize to those who find this revolting. I am being culturally insensitive and ethnocentrist, or perhaps just Che-centrist): http://gastronomyblog.com/2007/11/19/pass-the-che-on-the-left-hand-side/