Chè Trôi Nước

Chè trôi nước is a Vietnamese dessert featuring glutinous rice balls in a sweet ginger-flavored sweet soup.

Lastest Updated January 6, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
  • Fusion
  • Street Food
  • Traditional
Home » Dishes A-Z » Chè Trôi Nước

Fact: Chè trôi nước symbolizes warmth, togetherness, and familial bonds, especially during festive occasions such as the Lunar New Year and Cold Food Festival in Vietnam.

Basic Information

Chè Trôi Nước: Basic Information

Pronunciation

/che choy nu-uk/

Alternative Name(s)

Chè xôi nước (in Southern Vietnam), bánh trôi and bánh chay (in Northern Vietnam)

Dish Type

Desserts, snacks

Course

Dessert

Mealtime

Anytime
Origin and Region

Chè Trôi Nước: Origin and Region

Origin

Vietnam

Continent’s Region

Southeast Asia

Country’s Region

Southern Vietnam

Associated Region

Unspecified
Vietnam Map
A Deep Dive

Popular Chè Trôi Nước Variations

Ingredients and Preparation

Chè Trôi Nước: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Glutinous rice flour, mung beans, rock sugar or palm sugar, ginger, coconut milk, and pandan leaves

Main Cooking Method

Boiling

Preparation Process

Forming rice flour into balls with filling, boiling, preparing sweet ginger syrup, preparing the coconut milk sauce.
A Deep Dive

Chè Trôi Nước: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

Traditional Vietnamese dessert, important in many Vietnamese festivals

Taste

Sweet

Texture

Chewy, soft

Aroma

Fragrant with a hint of ginger

Color

Typically white with a clear or slightly yellowish soup

Serving Style

In a bowl, often garnished with sesame seeds

Serving Temperature

Warm

Accompaniment

Often enjoyed alone, sometimes with tea.

Occasions

New Year, festivals

Seasons

Year-round

Special Diets

Gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian

Calories

500 calories, according to data of MyFitnessPal for 1 cup of chè trôi nước.

Popularity

Vietnam

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Chè Bà Ba
  2. Chè Đậu Xanh
  3. Chè Bắp
  4. Chè Sương Sa Hạt Lựu

Popular Dining Area

Street vendors, dessert cafes, restaurants

Chè trôi nước, also known as chè xôi nước in Southern Vietnam or bánh trôi, bánh chay in Northern Vietnam, is a Vietnamese dessert consisting of glutinous rice filled with mung bean paste. These are immersed in a sweet syrup made of water, sugar, and ginger. It is typically garnished with sesame seeds and coconut milk, and served warm.

Che Troi Nuoc Overview

Historically, chè trôi nước has been enjoyed for centuries in Vietnam. It’s commonly served during significant festivals and celebrations, such as the Lunar New Year, Winter Solstice Festival (Tết Đông Chí), Cold Food Festival (Tết Hàn Thực), and other important occasions.

I’ll provide an overview of the dish, including its attributes and primary ingredients, the process of making it, and contrast it with bánh trôi and bánh chay. Additionally, I’ll cover how it’s enjoyed in various Vietnamese regions, its different forms, occasions it’s served on, its benefits and limitations, address frequent inquiries, and look at comparable dishes.

Key Points

  • Historically, chè trôi nước has been a cherished part of Vietnamese cuisine for centuries.
  • Chè trôi nước is often served during occasions like the Lunar New Year and New Year’s Eve, Kitchen God Day, Offering, Cold Food Festival, Winter Solstice Festival, First Month Celebration of a Baby, and First Birthday Celebration.
  • It is typically served warm in a bowl, garnished with sesame seeds and coconut milk sauce.

Chè Trôi Nước Images

What Are The Main Ingredients of Chè Trôi Nước?

Below are the essential ingredients of chè trôi nước, along with a detailed description of their unique characteristics:

Glutinous Rice Flour

For the Dough

Glutinous rice flour, pandan leaf juice, or beetroot juice (if you want beautiful colors)

Mung Bean

For the Fillings

Mung bean, coconut milk, sugar, salt, minced shallots
Other options for the fillings include peanut, black sesame seeds, red beans, coconut, etc. Savory fillings also exist.

Rock Sugar

For the Ginger Syrup

Rock sugar, sliced ginger, pandan leaves (impart aroma to the syrup)

Coconut Milk

For the Coconut Milk Sauce

Coconut milk

White Sesame Seeds

For Garnishes

Toasted white sesame seeds

Once you have these ingredients, you’re all set to start the enjoyable process of learning how to make chè trôi nước, a delightful Vietnamese dessert.

How To Make Chè Trôi Nước?

Chè trôi nước is made with the following 6 main steps:

Step 1: Prepare the Dough

Mix the flour with water, combine well, and refrigerate (minimum 30 minutes, ideally overnight).

Step 2: Prepare the Mung Bean Paste Filling

Boil mung beans in water, and simmer until the liquid evaporates. Add salt, cool, and process into a paste, then cook with oil and sugar. Roll into balls and refrigerate.

Step 3: Form Rice Balls

Knead the dough, roll it into balls, flatten each ball, and wrap it around a mung bean ball. Cook in boiling water until they float, then transfer to cold water.

Step 4: Prepare the Ginger Syrup

Boil water, rock sugar or palm sugar, and ginger. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Step 5: Make the Coconut Sauce

Boil coconut cream, salt, and tied pandan leaf. Turn off the heat.

Step 6: Serve

Toast sesame seeds. Drain rice balls, pour ginger syrup, add coconut cream, and sprinkle sesame seeds.

Chè Trôi Nước vs. Bánh Trôi vs. Bánh Chay

Indeed, chè trôi nước varies regionally in Vietnam, with Southern versions often being sweeter and incorporating more coconut milk, while Northern variants may emphasize the ginger flavor and use less sugar.

How Different Regions of Vietnam Enjoy Chè Trôi Nước?

Let’s embark on a culinary adventure to discover how chè trôi nước is traditionally served in various regions throughout Vietnam:

RegionCharacteristics
Southern VietnamIn Southern Vietnam, chè trôi nước or chè xôi nước are often bathed in ginger syrup and garnished with coconut sauce.
Northern VietnamNorthern Vietnam enjoys bánh trôi and bánh chay. Traditional bánh trôi is served dry on small plates, sprinkled with sesame seeds. Bánh chay is served with a fragrant grapefruit-flower infused tapioca syrup.
Central VietnamSimilar to the Northern Delta, the Central provinces also have traditional bánh trôi and bánh chay.
In Cao Bằng and Lạng Sơn regionsHere, a unique dish called “Coóng phù” is popular. It’s similar to bánh trôi but is served in a soup like traditional Bánh chay. It has a filling of crushed roasted peanuts and sugar. When eaten, it’s accompanied by hot sugarcane syrup and crushed ginger.
In Bắc Ninh, Bắc Giang, and Hải DươngIn these regions, people primarily make Bánh trôi and do not typically prepare Bánh chay.

This exploration reveals the rich diversity in chè trôi nước variations across Vietnam, each region adding its unique touch to this beloved dessert.

What Are Famous Variations of Chè Trôi Nước?

It’s time to unveil the 7 renowned variations of chè trôi nước and their distinctive features:

Che Troi Nuoc Bot Bang

Made with small, chewy bột báng (tapioca pearls), this variation includes a mung bean filling that is flavorful and rich. It is also infused with the aromatic scents of ginger and pandan leaves.

Che Troi Nuoc Ngu Sac

This traditional Vietnamese dessert features five different colors: red, orange, green, purple, and yellow, achieved using ingredients like gac fruit, purple sweet potato (or dried butterfly pea flowers), pumpkin, pandan leaves, and passion fruit.

Che Troi Nuoc Bi Do

This variation stands out with its round, white outer layer and a fragrant mung bean filling. It is served with a gently sweet ginger syrup.

Che Troi Nuoc Khoai Lang Tim

An appealing and tasty dessert, this variation is made with purple sweet potato. It is known for its attractive appearance, delicious taste, and health benefits.

Che Troi Nuoc Thit Heo

A unique and exclusive dish in Hội An, this variation is known for its delicious pork filling inspired by the savory bánh ít trần from the West and chè heo quay from Huế.

Che Troi Nuoc Ca Chep

This variation features carp shapes, typically comes in five main colors: red (symbolizing aspiration), green (representing nature), yellow (for prosperity), pink (for fertility), and orange (for energy and dynamism)

Che Troi Nuoc Hoa Sen

Specially served during Tết Hàn Thực and Vu Lan festivals in Vietnam, this dessert is aesthetically shaped like a lotus flower, symbolizing purity and refinement.

Each of these variations holds a special place in Vietnamese cuisine, often gracing the table during traditional festivals and family gatherings.

Which Occasions Are Chè Xôi Nước Often Served?

Chè trôi nước is deeply intertwined with various festivals and celebrations, reflecting its role in the social and cultural fabric of Vietnam. Below is a simple breakdown:

  • Lunar New Year (Tết Nguyên Đán): This is one of the most important celebrations in Vietnamese culture, chè trôi nước serves as a symbol of family togetherness and warmth during this festive time.
  • Kitchen God Day (Lễ cúng Ông Táo): Prepared for the ‘Ông Công ông Táo’ ceremony, it represents contentment and smooth sailing for the Kitchen God on his journey to heaven, believed to bring good luck and progress for the family.
  • New Year’s Eve Offering (Giao Thừa): Served as an offering to deities and ancestors, it signifies unity, harmony, and a prosperous year ahead.
  • Cold Food Festival (Tết Hàn Thực): This festival, which occurs in early April, is another traditional occasion for enjoying chè trôi nước. The dish is prepared to honor ancestors and celebrate the coming of spring, symbolizing the renewal of life and nature.
  • Winter Solstice Festival (Tết Đông Chí): Celebrated during the winter solstice, this festival is an occasion for family reunions and honoring ancestors. The serving of chè trôi nước during this time emphasizes the importance of family bonds and warmth in the cold season.
  • First Month Celebration of a Baby (Đầy Tháng): In Vietnamese culture, chè trôi nước is specifically offered during the ‘đầy tháng’ ceremony for baby. Chè trôi nước symbolizes fluidity and smooth progression, representing the wish for a smooth, unobstructed life for the baby.
  • First Birthday Celebration (Thôi Nôi): For the ‘thôi nôi’ ceremony, which marks a child’s first birthday, chè trôi nước is prepared as part of the offerings. It’s part of a custom honoring the 12 midwives (’12 Bà Mụ’) and is a way for parents and relatives to express their wishes for the child’s prosperity and happiness.

While these occasions highlight the cultural significance and traditional values associated with chè trôi nước, it’s important to consider its pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of Eating Chè Trôi Nước

This part discusses the advantages and drawbacks of chè trôi nước, providing a comprehensive analysis of its culinary value and appeal:

Pros

  • Cultural Significance: Chè trôi nước is deeply rooted in Vietnamese culture, especially during Tết (Vietnamese New Year) and other festivals, making it a vital part of culinary heritage.
  • Unique Flavor and Texture: The combination of sweet ginger syrup and the chewy texture of glutinous rice balls offers a unique sensory experience.
  • Versatility: This dish can be modified with various fillings like mung bean, sesame seeds, or even fruit, catering to different taste preferences.
  • Comfort Food: The warm, sweet nature of the dish makes it a comforting food, especially in colder weather.
  • Nutritional Aspects: The glutinous rice provides carbohydrates for energy, and when filled with mung beans or sesame, it adds protein and healthy fats.

Cons

  • High in Sugar and Calories: The syrup and sugar content can be high, making it less suitable for those monitoring their sugar intake or on a calorie-restricted diet.
  • Gluten Content: As it is made from glutinous rice, it’s not suitable for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
  • Time-Consuming Preparation: Making chè trôi nước from scratch can be time-consuming, requiring skill to achieve the right texture and consistency.
  • Limited Nutritional Diversity: While it provides carbs and some protein, it lacks a broad range of nutrients, especially if consumed as a standalone dish.
  • Not Ideal for Hot Weather: Being a warm dish, it might not be as appealing during hot weather conditions.

Please proceed to the next section where we address the commonly asked questions about chè trôi nước, offering insights and answers to common queries

Chè Trôi Nước FAQs

Yes, chè trôi nước can be refrigerated. It should be stored in an airtight container to maintain its freshness. However, note that refrigeration may affect the texture of the rice balls.

The glutinous rice flour in the dough tends to harden when cooled, which is why the rice balls become firm in the fridge. To restore their softness, gently reheat them in the microwave or on the stove with a bit of water or syrup.

Yes, it’s possible to make chè trôi nước without any filling. These plain rice balls are simpler to make and still delicious when served in the sweet syrup.

Similar Dishes of Chè Trôi Nước

Che Ba Ba

Chè bà ba is a Vietnamese sweet soup dessert from Southern Vietnam, consisting of coconut milk, mung beans, and various tubers.

Che Dau Xanh

Chè đậu xanh is a sweet Vietnamese dessert soup made with mung beans and sugar, often served with coconut milk.

Che Bap

Chè bắp is a Vietnamese sweet soup or pudding that originated in Central Vietnam and is made with corn and coconut milk.

Che Suong Sa Hat Luu

Chè sương sa hạt lựu is a Vietnamese drink dessert with jelly, tapioca-based pomegranate seeds as two main components.

Truc Tran (Kris)

Truc Tran (Kris)

Senior Food Editor

Expertise

Home Cooking, Meal Planning, Recipe Development, Baking and Pastry, Food Editor, Cooking-video Maker, Vietnamese Food Evaluation Expert

Education

  • Hospitality (Commercial Cookery) at TasTAFE
  • Culinary Arts at Kendall College (Australia Branch in Sydney)
  • Vietnamese Cuisine Head Chef at HNAAu School (Vietnam, International Joint Training Program)

Truc Tran (Kris), an experienced food writer and editor, is great at exploring and describing global cuisines, from simple street food to fancy dining. In her writing, she skillfully mixes different flavors, cooking methods, and culinary traditions, showing the unique character of various cultures through their food and drinks. On azcuisines.com, Kris highlights her knowledge, especially in Asian cuisine and worldwide traditional dishes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *