Chè

Chè is a large category of Vietnamese sweet dessert soups that can be made with various ingredients.

Lastest Updated January 6, 2024
Verified by A-Z Cuisines Team
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Fact: Chè is one of the most popular and diverse desserts in Vietnam.

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Basic Information

Chè: Basic Information

Pronunciation

[tɕɛ̀]~[cɛ̀] or /ch-eh/

Alternative Name(s)

No

Dish Type

Desserts, snacks, soups

Course

Dessert

Mealtime

Anytime
Origin and Region

Chè: Origin and Region

Origin

Vietnam

Continent’s Region

Southeast Asia

Country’s Region

Nationwide Origin

Associated Region

Unspecified
Vietnam Map
A Deep Dive

Popular Chè Variations

Ingredients and Preparation

Chè: Ingredients and Preparation

Main Ingredients

Grains, beans, tubers, fruits, and coconut milk

Main Cooking Method

Boiling, or simmering, or slow cooking

Preparation Process

Cooking the ingredients in water
A Deep Dive

Chè: A Deep Dive

Cultural Significance

Traditional Vietnamese sweet dessert soup

Taste

Sweet

Texture

Liquid or thick, pudding-like

Aroma

Fragrant

Color

Varies based on ingredients

Serving Style

In a glass or a bowl and eaten with a spoon

Serving Temperature

Hot or cold

Accompaniment

No accompaniment

Occasions

On any occasions

Seasons

Year-round

Special Diets

Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Calories

414 calories, according to data of MyFitnessPal for one cup (8.4 ounces or 238 grams) of chè Thái with fruits

Popularity

Vietnam

Popular Similar Dishes

  1. Bubur Cha Cha
  2. Thapthim Krop
  3. Cendol
  4. Halo-halo
  5. Tong Sui

Popular Dining Area

Local households, street vendors, restaurants

Chè is a traditional Vietnamese sweet soup or pudding usually served as a dessert. It can be made with numerous ingredients, creating countless variations.

Che Infographic

The most common components for chè are coconut milk, beans, grains, tubers, fruits, and add-ins like rock sugar, sesame seeds, dumplings, pandan extract, seaweed, bột báng (tapioca grains), or even edible bird’s nest.

Chè is suitable for all occasions and venues, from homemade meals to lavish feasts, from roadside stalls to fancy restaurants. Locals usually serve chè hot or with ice in a bowl or in a glass (like a beverage).

The name of each chè variety consists of the word “chè” and its main ingredient. For instance, “chè bắp” incorporates corn (known as “bắp” in Vietnamese), while “chè đậu xanh” features mung beans (referred to as “đậu xanh” in Vietnamese).

Be careful when ordering chè in Northern Vietnam because tea is also called “chè” here.

Read on to discover the many types of chè in Vietnam. Next, I will go into the advantages and disadvantages of chè before covering commonly asked questions and suggest similar dishes.

Key Points

  • Chè is any Vietnamese sweet soup or pudding enjoyed as desserts.
  • There are many versions of chè made with different ingredients.
  • Common chè ingredients are coconut milk, beans, grains, tubers, fruits, and other optional ingredients.
  • Chè also means tea in Northern Vietnam.

Chè Images

What Are the Most Popular Variations of Chè?

Although the number of chè variations is enormous, the following 24 types will give you a clear picture of what Vietnamese chè is like.

Che Ba Mau

Literally means “tri-color chè”
Often white, green, and red
Can be made with ingredients having those three colors, usually beans

Che Ba Ba

Also known as chè thưng
Popular in Southern Vietnam
Alleged to be named after its creator’s nickname or a traditional garment in Southern Vietnam
Consists of coconut milk soup base and various types of tubers

Che Bap

Literally means “corn chè”
Made with fresh corn kernels and coconut milk

Che Chuoi

Literally means “banana chè”
Made with bananas, coconut milk, and tapioca grains
Can have optional ingredients

Che Dau Do

Literally means “red bean chè”
Made with adzuki beans

Che Dau Xanh

Literally means “green bean chè”
Made with mung beans

Che Dau Den

Literally means “black bean chè”
Made with black cowpeas

Che Dau Trang

Literally means “white bean chè”
Made with black-eyed peas

Che Bo

Literally means “avocado chè”
Made with avocados, coconut milk, sticky rice flour, etc.

Che Bot Loc

Contains bánh bột lọc (clear-looking, chewy tapioca dumplings without or without a sweet filling)

Che Thai

Literally means “Thai chè”
Possibly derived from the Thai dessert thapthim krop
Consists of a sweet coconut milk base, jellies, and various fruits

Che Buoi

Literally means “pomelo chè”
Made with mung beans, pomelo pith, coconut milk, tapioca starch, rock sugar, coconut meat
Popular in Hanoi and the Mekong Delta

Che Hat Luu

Literally means “pomegranate seed chè”
Consists of hạt lựu, rice flour or water chestnuts cut into small pieces like pomegranate seeds
Also has coconut milk
Can have grass jelly and cendol (green, rice flour-based jelly noodles), creating a variation called chè sương sa hạt lựu

Che Com

Made with cốm (a chewy food made from pounded green rice), kudzu powder, pomelo essence
Mainly popular in Northern Vietnam

Che Hat Sen

Literally means “lotus seed chè”
Made with lotus seeds and kudzu powder
Can incorporate dried longans to create a variation called chè hạt sen nhãn nhục

Che Cu Nang

Has water chestnuts and coconut milk as the main ingredients
Can contain other ingredients

Che Tao Xon

Also known as chè hoa cau
Mainly popular in Northern and Central Vietnam, especially in Thua Thien Hue province
Made with peeled mung beans, coconut milk, tapioca starch, and plenty of granulated sugar
Has a sweet flavor and viscous texture

Che Khuc Bach

Consists of sweet jellies made from milk, whipped cream, coconut milk, and gelatin
Can also have almonds and longans or lychees

Che Khoai Mon

Literally means “taro chè”
Made with taro and coconut milk
Can incorporate sticky rice

Che Khoai Tay

Literally means “potato chè”
Made with potatoes and eggs (optional)

Che Duong Nhan

Literally means “beauty chè”
Made with various ingredients thought to have skin health benefits, such as snow fungus, red algae, goji berries, etc.
Can include peach sap or resin, but this ingredient contains toxins and should not be consumed

Che Troi Nuoc

Also known as bánh chay
Consists of bánh trôi nước (glutinous rice balls filled with mung bean paste) in a sweet ginger-flavored broth

Che Bot Bang

Sweet pudding made from tapioca pearls

Che Banh Lot

Vietnamese version of cendol
Made with cendol noodles and coconut milk

The unparalleled diversity is an enormous upside of chè, but this sweet dessert also has other benefits and possible shortcomings.

Pros and Cons of Eating Chè

Chè comes with the following upsides and downsides.

Pros

  • Variety of Flavors: Chè comes in a wide array of ingredients, with numerous flavors suitable for every palate.
  • Cultural Experience: Eating chè is one of the easiest ways to experience Vietnamese culture and culinary traditions.
  • Refreshing Quality: Many chè dishes are prepared with cooling ingredients and served cold, making them enjoyable to savor in hot weather.
  • Versatility: Chè can be served as a dessert, a snack, or even a light meal, depending on the ingredients and portion size.
  • Availability: It is easy to find chè both inside and outside Vietnam since many Vietnamese restaurants have chè on the menu.

Cons

  • Sugar Content: Chè is usually high in sugar and calories, so people seeking to limit sugar intake might not appreciate it. People with diabetes shouldn’t eat chè.
  • Nutritional Concerns: Chè is rich in sugar and carbs but lacks other essential nutrients, like fiber and vitamins.
  • Allergens and Dietary Restrictions: Several chè variations feature ingredients that are excluded in certain diets, such as nuts and dairy.
  • Preservatives and Additives: Packaged or commercially prepared chè may contain preservatives and artificial additives.

Besides those pros and cons, I have many other facts about chè to share with you. Let’s check out the FAQs section.

Chè FAQs

Yes, most chè variations are gluten-free since they don’t feature gluten ingredients like wheat flour. However, gluten contamination can occur at street food stalls or restaurants, so you should inquire with the vendor or server about the ingredients used in chè to ensure safety.

Yes, chè can be made savory in many parts of Vietnam by incorporating rich ingredients like boiled eggs, Chinese sausage, or roast meat. Chè bột lọc heo quay (chè with tapioca dumplings and roast pork) is a specialty of Thua Thien Hue province.

Yes, most chè variations are vegan and only use plant-based ingredients. However, some types may feature eggs, gelatin, or other animal-derived foods.

No, chè lam isn’t a type of chè as a sweet dessert soup. In Northern Vietnam, chè lam is a traditional cake made from sticky rice flour, malt, molasses, ginger, and peanuts.

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.

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