Banana – The King of Vietnamese desserts

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Banana is a nutritious tropical fruit with a lot of health benefits, therefore the Vietnamese incorporate them into a lot of recipes. Here’s a list of some very popular desserts that are made from bananas, that people often enjoy in Vietnam.

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Banh chuoi hap (Steamed Banana Cake)

Unlike the baked version, this cake has a chewy texture, which is considered very fun to eat by local people. The strong banana flavor and the sweetness of the dessert creates a wonderful balance with the salty-tasting coconut milk and the crushed sesame seeds and peanuts.

Chuoi xao dua (Coooked Semi-ripe Banana with coconut milk)

Chuoi xao dua is a very popular banana desert, especially in the Southern regions of Vietnam. Instead of being grilled, the banana is boiled in water until it turns light pink, and then is served along with salty coconut milk, and topped with roasted sesame seeds. We love this food because of its wax-like texture, which is very attractive, and the strong banana scent that is well-preserved by the cooking process, making the fruit even more delicious.

Steamed banana cake (via agiadinh.net)

Kem Chuoi ( Banana ice-cream or frozen banana)

This super-easy-to-make food is the only one in this list that is supposed to be eaten cold. It’s a wonderful option when you need an instant homemade dessert that doesn’t require any special cooking skills, and a perfect way to make use of any left-over bananas that have over-ripened. To make this, you simply peel the bananas, then put the entire fruit into a plastic bag, flatten it with a pestle, and then pour some coconut milk and add some roasted peanuts into the bag. Finally, you put the mixture in the freezer, and you enjoy once it’s nice and cold. In Vietnam, frozen banana in coconut milk is considered ‘banana ice-cream’, and it can be found in any neighborhood grocery shops that have a freezer.

Chuoi boc nep nuong (Grilled banana wrapped in sticky rice)

Another great way to enjoy bananas that Vietnamese people have discovered, is wrapping it with sticky rice, then adding a layer of banana leaf, and grilling the ensemble over a charcoal stove. This dessert is very addictive because it smells and tastes amazing! The outer layer of the sticky rice is both crunchy and chewy, with the flavor of coconut milk, while the banana itself is soft and sweet. Most Vietnamese locals love enjoying the rice skin and the banana together, but some people prefer eating the skin separately. It’s all up to you, but don’t forget to pour in coconut milk with tapioca pearls and cracked peanuts, in order to enhance its awesome flavor.

If you are a low-carb person, you can try the grilled semi-ripe banana without the sticky rice wrapping. It is also delicious and it has a very pure aromatic banana scent.

Grilled banana wrapped in sticky rice (via amthu.dendau.com)

Chuoi sap luoc (Boiled Vietnamese plantain)

The Vietnamese plantain is literally translated to ‘wax banana’, due to the wax-like texture that it acquires after being boiled. It’s pretty small, and it turns into a beautiful golden color when cooked. This is a very healthy and tasty dessert to opt for. Usually, we eat more than just one at a time.

Che chuoi ( Banana with sago pearls and coconut milk sweet soup)

Besides these banana desserts listed above, there are other Vietnamese snack options made from bananas, such as ‘Báng Tráng Chuối’ (Banana Paper), ‘Chuối Khô’ (Dried Banana, and ‘Kẹo Chuối’ (Banana Candy), which are not as popular as those mentioned above, and can only be found at a few specific places. But they all have their unique taste and you should definitely try them when you have the chance.

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