Che (Vietnamese Sweet Dessert Soup)




Che is Vietnamese sweet dessert soup, usually served in a glass over ice and eaten with a spoon. It's gloppy and gelatinous and perfect for the summer. I've become addicted to che, but lately I've worried about what I'll do when I leave Vietnam and no longer have easy access to the stuff. So today I decided to build my own in order to get a better feel for the process of building the dessert. My hope is that when I'm back in the States, I can use this instructable as a point of reference when concocting my own Westernized interpretation of che.

Step 1: Ingredients

Here's what went into the variety of che that I made:

Fruit-flavored tapioca
Coconut flakes & shredded coconut
Sesame Tapioca
Black beans & red kidney beans
Mung beans
Ginger-filled tapioca balls
Sweet rice congee & coconut milk
Skinless mung beans
Sweet corn
Crushed ice

This was a particularly tasty che, but don't feel obligated to follow this recipe exactly. It's in the spirit of che-making to add your own twist to the dessert. Rarely are two che concoctions exactly alike. Additionally, putting in a lot of ingredients is encouraged. I've even had pork dumplings in my che. Here are some ideas for alternative ingredients to use that are similar to ingredients used in Vietnam but are more readily available in the US:

Fresh fruits and berries
Fresh fruit syrups
Dried fruits
Unsalted nuts (chopped)
Sweet potato

I once counted twenty different ingredients in my che. See if you can beat that. Just be sure to include coconut milk and crushed ice as a base.

Step 2: Build

Acquiring all the ingredients is the real work. Building your che is easy. Fill a glass with crushed ice and begin adding each of your ingredients. I recommend using a glass so that you can see the beautiful layers you create.

Step 3: Stir & Enjoy

Take a spoon and stir your ingredients together. A folding action with the spoon seems to produce the best results. After you've stirred everything together sufficiently, take a spoonful and enjoy. No two bites will be the same!



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      10 Discussions


      9 years ago on Introduction

      Hey I'm Vietnamese and I eat chè every so often. You have to look up chè Thái too. Its not really Thai, but its really good and simple and less ingredients to make. But you DO have to specify what chè this is, because there are dozens of types of chè. And so far I actually don't know what kind this is.

      3 replies

      Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

      The author is right when he says that it is the spirit of che that really is the main focus. I am Vietnamese too and eating homemade che is very enlightening. Though you DO have to be specific, if you are experimenting with all sorts of flavors, textures and ingredients, when in doubt, call it "Che (How many ingredients you have besides coconut milk and ice) Mau". This is the Filipino equivalent of Halo-Halo, except its got the Vietnamese flavor, not found anywhere, even if it has the same ingredients.


      Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

      Hey, thanks for the tip! I'll be sure to look up che Thai.

      Heh, I'm not sure this che has a name...yet. It's kind of just cobbled together from what I could find. In my experience, most types of che are named after the ingredients they include. I don't speak Vietnamese, so I can't give this one a proper Vietnamese name, but perhaps I'll spend some time with a translator and figure one out. One thing to note, though, at least in my experience sitting at che booths, is that people often come up and tell the vendor what types of ingredients they'd like in their che instead of asking for a particular type of che. Seems to me like not every cup/bowl of che has to have a name. Whatever the case, though, yes, you're right: there are dozens and dozens of types of che. Here's a small sampling of them listed on wikipedia.


      Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

      Your link doesn't seem to work. And yeah, i forgot about how it can be customized. Being born in raised in LA, almost any place selling it, sells it under a certain name and only has those ingredients. I haven't been to Vietnam in a while. What city are you visiting if you don't mind me asking.


      7 years ago on Introduction

      This reminds me of a Filipino desert called Halo-halo (which roughly translates to "mixed up"), basically a bunch of sweet things like fruits, tapioca, coconut, nata de coco (these weird, gelatinous cubes), sweet beans, and even things like purple yam and sweet corn, then it't sopped with shaved ice and has sweet condensed milk poured over the whole thing.

      I should try this, it looks really tasty.


      9 years ago on Step 2

      thank you so much for this recipe! i have always looked for a dessert that would be this easy and yummy! everything is always included in cooking, freezing, or baking, but this one doesn't at all! (except for the tapioca) thanks again! <3, nicole :]


      10 years ago on Introduction

      Admittedly, when reading the ingredients list I was a little put off by mung beans, tapioca, and congee all in the same dish, but this actually sounds quite sounds like a vegetable version of a parfait. I think I'll have to try this very soon.

      3 replies

      I definitely understand your hesitation--but yes, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. It's all about the way the ingredients come together into this sweet gloppy goodness. So refreshing! Let me know if you do make your own version. I'd love to know what you put in it, and how it tastes.


      Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

      ha, thanks! I'm actually pretty excited about making an American version of che. It'll be fun to see how it turns out. The closest thing we have, I think, is the DQ Blizzard, but that's too heavy and ice-cream dependent. Anyway, off to get my daily fix....