Foodie’s journey in Vietnam should include some yummy and special local desserts to grasp a full picture of Vietnamese culinary culture. One of the most prominent and popular Vietnamese dessert menus amongst locals is chè. Che literally means sweet soup and is inclusive of a good variety of sweet desserts with different ingredients.
Frankly speaking, when I first moved to Hanoi, I was not at all interested in che. For me, the visual of che was not so appetising and the kinds of ingredients in che seemed rather bizarre. But I have heard and seen everyone enjoying this local Vietnamese dessert throughout the year – on Vietnamese vlogs, social media etc. So despite my personal disinterest, I have been wanting to give it a try and finally I did.
When I tried che for the first time, I was quite amused how I actually enjoyed it. So I believe che deserves a chance for everyone to try! There are few famous shops in town for this special Vietnamese dessert. And here’s one of the most famous and most often recommended place in Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
Che 4 Mua
As mentioned above, che can be made with a variety of ingredients. It is a type of dessert people enjoy throughout the year. There are winter seasons in the north of Vietnam, so people have a hot che during cold days and during summer days, people enjoy che cold with ice.
Che 4 Mua, which means che four seasons, is one of the most popular che shops in the French Quarter of Hanoi. It is located on the same street as Cha Ca street, which is the street where Hanoi’s notorious dish, cha ca – grilled fish – was born. So I visited Che 4 Mua after an amazing cha ca dinner at Cha Ca La Vong, where this dish was originally born. And the refreshing che was a perfect dessert after a greasy tummy filled with yummy cha ca.
There are cosy and nicely decorated area indoor for guests to enjoy their dessert. When I was here, the seats were all occupied so I had to wait some time to grab a table. Having a crowd of locals is always a good sign for me because I love exploring places famous among locals.
Their che options include che with lotus seeds, green bean, red bean, sticky rice or mixed che with all the ingredients. Other than che, they also have yogurt with jackfruit, yogurt with sweet sticky rice and some others. Since mixed che has all the ingredients included, I ordered mixed che, which is called “chè thập cẩm”.
I loved how it is served in a tall glass! The glass was filled and layered with all kinds of ingredients and you can stir them well with the spoon. I believe the bottom brown part is sweet red bean paste, though I’m not 100% sure. Then the top yellow green is green bean paste. And in between there are jellies, lotus seeds and sweetened red bean.
In general, the flavour is not overwhelming sweet, which is what I liked about the che here. And I loved how there is a good variety of textures from sticky jelly to soft lotus seeds in one cup. My favourite ingredient is the white jelly with coconut meat inside for the texture and coconutty flavour.
In overall, it is super refreshing and a very local dessert experience. Therefore, I recommend you to give this special Vietnamese dessert a try at least once in Hanoi!
Che 4 Mua (Che Bon Mua)
Address: 4 Hàng Cân, Hàng Bồ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 23:00