This my friends, is what I call Vietnamese Jello. The technical name is thạch, which doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like J-E-L-L-O. It’s a light dessert made of water, sugar, agar and a variety of flavorings including coconut milk, coffee and pandan leaves.
This particular version was made by the Golden Sea Hotel (a fantastic place to stay if you’re ever in Da Nang). The thạch was served at the hotel’s sumptuous breakfast buffet, which was prepared each morning for guests. What’s most notable about the Golden Sea’s thạch is the number of layers it contains—eight!
My Aunt Phuong and I made some thạch this past summer and encountered difficulty with the layers not adhering properly due to poor timing. Since we had trouble working with only three layers, I was quite impressed with the hotel’s eight layer execution.
Look at those beautiful layers—the white ones are coconut, the lime green one is pandan, the tan ones are condensed milk and coffee, the dark brown one is plain coffee and the orange one is gac fruit (I think). Eaten together, I find it impossible to differentiate between each individual flavor; it just tastes sweet, refreshing and gelatin-y!