Maybe you want to try something new, maybe your country does not have the fresh fruit – either way, here are Vietnam’s best dishes and desserts made from durian.
Banh dua sau rieng – Coconut cake with durian
Banh dua, or coconut cake, is a Teochew (Singaporean-Chinese) cuisine that many people in Saigon associate with their childhoods. The ingredients for the durian version are quite simple: flour, eggs, granulated sugar, coconut, and durian filling. Coconut cake with durian is one of the most intriguing flavors available.
Coconut cakes are cut into smaller pieces and placed in a plastic container when purchased. Photo courtesy of Banh dua Tan Da
The flat, circular cake is 20 centimeters in diameter. It has a thin, light-brown crust. The green cake with white shredded coconut flesh is particularly eye-catching when you cut the cake into pieces. The coconut cake is soft, spongy, not too sweet, and buttery.
You can find the cake at Banh dua Tan Da shop at 45 Tan Da Street in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City. The price of the durian-filled coconut cake is VND75,000 ($3.18). The shop has fillings such as coconut, ca dé (made from eggs, coconut milk, fresh milk, sugar), durian, peanut butter, buttermilk, and sugar butter.
Banh tieu sau rieng – Sesame hollow donuts with durian
Banh tieu, or sesame hollow donuts, is a popular snack in the south, familiar to many people by the cries of street vendors cycling around the city. The main ingredients for the donuts are flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, roasted white sesame seeds, and a little vanilla extract. The dough is cut into equal parts, and then deep fried in hot oil. At 133 Ha Ton Quyen Street in HCMC, you can find a sesame hollow donuts cart selling this pastry with durian filling.
The donuts are filled with durian before deep fried in hot oil. Photo by VnExpress/Vi Yen
Sesame hollow donuts are not as sweet as other pastries. The puffy golden brown donut has a crispy crust with the subtle aroma of sesame and a fragrant durian filling. The price of a sesame hollow donut with durian filling is VND7,000 (30 cents) per cake.
Kem bo sau rieng – Avocado durian ice cream
Avocado durian ice cream is exactly the perfect blend of the flavors of the two fruits. The combination creates a delicious treat for those who love sweets. This cuisine is believed to have originated in the southern beach town Vung Tau as an upgraded version of the already famous avocado ice cream. A finely blended avocado smoothie is served with a scoop of coconut ice cream, topped with dried coconut, grated fresh copra, and of course, a piece of durian.
Cups of avocado durian ice cream with a generous amount of toppings. Photo by VnExpress/Hien Duc
The creamy taste of avocado combines with the sweet and custardy taste of durian. Mixed with coconut ice cream, everything seems to melt in your mouth. This delicious treat can be found at numerous dessert shops in HCMC. A cup of avocado ice cream with durian is about VND50,000 ($2.12).
Che sau – Durian sweet beverage
Che sau, a durian-flavored sweet beverage, contains condensed milk, coconut milk, and several varieties of jelly in addition to the core durian ingredient. A mix of all the different sweet ingredients manages to soothe the scent of the durian and turn it into a delightful dessert.
Che sau is served with ice. Photo by VnExpress/Vy An
This sweet beverage is a popular treat in Da Nang City. One of the most well-known stores that sells this dessert is Che sau Lien in Da Nang. But you can still enjoy this cold treat in Hanoi or Saigon, as it has become a favorite trendy food over the years. The price of durian sweet beverage is about VND30,000 ($1.27) per serving.
Xoi sau rieng – Durian sticky rice
Sticky rice is a popular and well-known dish among Vietnamese people. It is not only a staple breakfast item, but it is also a must-have meal for important events such as Lunar New Year, weddings, and death anniversaries. Sticky rice can be eaten with a variety of toppings depending on the region, making it a versatile cuisine ideal for people of all ages. One of the Mekong Delta’s specialties is sticky rice cooked with durian.
Durian sticky rice has an eye-catching yellow color. Photo by VnExpress/Ngo Tuyet Phuong
The ingredients used to cook this sticky rice dish are quite simple, just glutinous rice, coconut milk and durian. When the rice has been cooked, it is combined with coconut milk and a pinch of salt. Durian paste is created by boiling coconut milk and then adding durian meat, and sugar. The sticky rice and durian paste will then be combined. The end product is soft and has a distinct durian scent with a touch of coconut milk. Green beans are sometimes added to the rice to increase the softness and fattiness of the meal. Durian sticky rice may be purchased at Xoi Ha Dung at 77 Ton That Dam Street in District 1, HCMC.
Nuoc mia sau rieng – Sugarcane juice with durian
A recent addition to the famous Vietnamese beverage nuoc mia is sugarcane juice with durian. Fresh durian is gently mashed into a fine paste before being added to sugarcane juice. In addition, green bean paste and a little coconut milk are added to the glass. The drink is well-balanced, not too sweet, and retains the tastes of sugarcane and durian.
A glass of durian sugarcane juice (L) is served along with iced tea at a shop in HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
This special beverage is now available in both Saigon and Hanoi. A cup of sugarcane juice with durian is around VND15,000 (64 cents)
Sau rieng nuong – Grilled durian
Locals in the central province of Dak Lak prepare durian in a variety of wonderful ways. One of the most popular is grilling the whole fruit over charcoal. After about 15 minutes of roasting on the charcoal burner, the durian shell breaks open on its own, revealing the hot and delicious durian flesh.
Grilled durian tastes like grilled sweet potatoes. Photo by VnExpress/Ha My
When grilled, the sweetness deepens, and the flesh takes on the flavor and scent of baked sweet potatoes. The durian aroma has softened and is no longer as strong as it once was. The flesh is tender and on the verge of melting. You can try to recreate this dish at home by wrapping each piece of durian flesh in tin foil and grilling them in the oven for six to ten minutes.
Banh pia – Durian mung bean cake
Banh pia is a delicacy of Soc Trang Province, 230 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City in the Mekong Delta. According to locals, durian mung bean cake originated from the Minh Huong people, a group of Chinese nationals who migrated to the Soc Trang area back in the 17th century. After being introduced to Soc Trang, this type of cake was modified to suit the taste of Vietnamese people.
Many people enjoy banh pia because of its thin crust with sweet filling. Photo by VnExpress
The crust is made from flour kneaded with white granulated sugar. Green beans and taro are cooked and then mixed together with sugar, then added as the fillings, along with salted eggs and durian puree. After baking, banh pia has a bright yellow hue and a pungent durian scent, but not too sweet.
Ga nuong sau rieng – Durian grilled chicken
Durian grilled chicken is a specialty dish from Binh Duong Province that borders HCMC. The chicken is marinated with durian flesh and other seasonings before grilling. Durian grilled chicken is often served with durian-flavored fried sticky rice and herbs.
This grilled chicken has the rich taste of durian. Photo courtesy of Mon ngon Que Viet
When eating, diners can immediately taste the sweetness of the durian and the savory flavor of the chicken. All these unique flavors blend together, creating a special and attractive dish to satisfy any durian lover.
Banh phong sua sau rieng – Coconut milk rice paper with durian
Ben Tre Province in the Mekong Delta is well-known for its coconut milk rice paper. Coconut milk, tapioca, and granulated sugar are used to make this snack. Coconut milk rice paper is a dried steamed rice crepe sheet. The appearance of the coconut milk rice paper looks remarkably similar to other varieties of rice paper: round and thin. It is, however, milky in hue, whereas conventional rice paper is transparent. Durian is a common ingredient often added to this delicacy.
Tourists eat rice paper crackers grilled on the spot in Ben Tre Province. Photo by Quach Duy Thinh
This snack can be eaten right away or grilled on a charcoal burner or oven. When not grilled, coconut milk rice paper with durian is soft, with a mild sweetness of coconut milk and durian, and a creamy aftertaste. This snack is now available through e-commerce sites.
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