Cong Truong has been serving up small snacks and ice cream since before the fall of Saigon. My mom, aunts, and uncles used to chill here when they were youngsters, which is such a trip and further adds to its appeal. The shop is located across the street from Hồ Con Rùa (Turtle Lake) near a busy traffic circle that’s rowdy during the day, but actually quite pleasant in the evening. My mom’s cousin Cau Hai introduced me to Cong Truong and their famous kem dua during my first weekend in the city and I try to swing by whenever I’m in the neighborhood.
The kem (ice cream) dua (coconut) is served inside a fresh young coconut and adorned with crushed peanuts, dried bananas, a bit of pineapple, and topped with a dried plum “cherry.” The coconut’s juice is chilled and served on the side.
The kem dua is more similar to a sorbet than an ice cream, which is welcomed because dairy can be too heavy in Saigon’s balmy weather. The subtle sweetness of coconut permeates the kem dua entirely and scraping the coconut’s flesh adds a texturally interesting element to the treat; further intensifying the coconut experience. The peanuts, bananas, and pineapple play off the coconut’s flavors well and add to the sundae’s complexity.
Kem dua brings a taste of the tropics to a bustling and chaotic city.
Corner of Vo Van Tan & Pham Ngoc Thach
District 3, Ho Chi Minh City