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Che desserts and soda chanh at Vung Tau (San Jose)

Carb Lover | Jun 10, 2006 07:58 PM

Having explored a good chunk of the savory menu at the original Vung Tau (see link), it was about time I finally tried some desserts!! What better way to cool oneself off on a balmy evening then some che w/ shaved ice. Pictured below, the ice was particularly lacy and fluffy, underscoring how Vung Tau is a cut above most Viet restaurants.

I think of che (pronounced like "chair" w/ the "r" being silent) as any type of bean dessert. My mom makes warm versions w/ red, green, or yellow beans. In the summer, we'd eat a sweet red bean version studded w/ tapioca gels and chilled w/ crude chunks of ice (not as refined as Vung Tau's offerings).

I forget exactly which two of the six varieties we ordered, but both were refreshing, sweet, and a textural delight for the mouth. I slightly preferred the one on the right, as it was a little less sweet and had toothsome gelatin ropes with an interesting grassy flavor. $3.50 each.

Vung Tau has also been lauded for their delicious drinks like ca phe sua da...very potent but smoooooth. The soda chanh ($3.25) is made w/ the freshest lime juice, sparkling water, and sugar. Perfectly balanced, crisp, and refreshing.

The food wasn't as strong as past visits, but the #80 canh (soup) w/ veg and seafood was lovely and refined. The #87 pork ribs w/ lemongrass had deep charcoal flavor and nice marination, but were a bit tough. The #88 fried catfish was ok but by far the weakest dish I've ever had at Vung Tau...not recommended.

Eyeing other tables, the light summer rolls looked great for this time of year and I have yet to try them. The individual noodle and rice plates need further investigating as well...

Other Viet places that have exceptional desserts of this or other kinds? How about other places serving desserts w/ shaved ice? Anyone try the ice kacang at Layang Layang?

Link: http://www.vungtaurestaurant.com/

Image: http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y45/...

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