Sugar High

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Sometime during college, I developed a killer sweet tooth due to the vast amount of desserts available after every meal in the dining hall. My mom never stocked the shelves with junk food while growing up, so I sorta kinda went buck wild living away from home. Hence, this terrible habit.

This constant need for a sweet fix spells bad news back at home, but luckily in Vietnam candies and desserts are made from fruits, legumes and seaweed, so I feel dramatically less guilty for indulging.

Granted, coconut milk is fatty and there’s more than a few tablespoons of sugar in a cup of che, but man, it could be so much worse.

One of my favorite genres of Vietnamese sweets are candies made from dehydrated fruits such as limes, mangoes, ambarella and tamarind.

Covered in sugar crystals and chili flakes, these candies are spicy, sour and sweet.

My favorites are coc cay (spicy ambarella), me tac (tamarind), and me mieng (whole tamarind). They’re sold by weight and are generally displayed around town in huge plastic jars.

Since I have little to no self-control, I limit myself to 100 grams of each variety on any given visit.

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