Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

What did I EAT?! Purple, Wobbly... Vietnamese?


  • Please log in to reply
34 replies to this topic

#1 Mjx

Mjx

    Senior Host

  • host
  • 6,240 posts

Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:01 AM

Yesterday, as I was trawling one of the local pan-Asian shops for black vinegar, I noticed these bright purple and green things, sitting on one of the shelves, next to the sushi mats and MSG. They were simply wrapped in cling film, and their colours really stood out. I gently prodded one: gelatinous; warm. I finally asked one of the women in the shop what they were (they had no labels), and I was told that they were made with what sounded like 'blé' (awfully close to the Danish word for 'nappy', but I assumed she meant the French for 'wheat', unless there is some Asian-language word that sounds like this..?), and flavoured with 'blomst', (flower).

I'll take a chance on sweets where I would be reluctant to tackle something savoury, and anything gelatinous speaks to me. So, I got a purple one.

Behold (poorly focused mobile phone picture, unfortunately):

PurpleBlobB.JPG

The purple portions were gelatinous, and the white layers were starchy. It didn't taste of anything particular, but it wasn't a horrible experience by any means, and I'd love to have a version that involved actual flavour.

Since they were warm, I'm guessing they were made by the shop owner, which suggests they are part of her culinary heritage. In-depth investigation of this was precluded by the fact that neither of us spoke very extensive Danish (and we had no common language). The shop is called Minh Áhn, which I believe is Vietnamese, but I'm far from certain.

Anyone have an idea of what it is, where it comes from, and how it is made?

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Senior Host, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org


#2 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,626 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:57 AM

Looks to me like a Vietnamese agar jelly, which are often consumed more for texture than rich flavor.
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#3 BonVivant

BonVivant
  • participating member
  • 296 posts

Posted 21 February 2012 - 12:08 PM

i think it's probably this thing: http://en.wikipedia....iki/Bánh_da_lợn

if it is i hope knowledgeable members could help further.

Edited by BonVivantNL, 21 February 2012 - 12:11 PM.


#4 Mjx

Mjx

    Senior Host

  • host
  • 6,240 posts

Posted 21 February 2012 - 12:46 PM

Looks to me like a Vietnamese agar jelly, which are often consumed more for texture than rich flavor.


Your comment sparked an immediate online search for "Vietnamese agar jelly". This turned up masses of images of gorgeously coloured and wobbly sweets, so regardless of whether or not this thing was an agar jelly (the gelatin part didn't seem as clear as most of the jellies I saw online), I've got to thank you for introducing me to this. Don't know how I missed it, up to now.


i think it's probably this thing: http://en.wikipedia....iki/Bánh_da_lợn

if it is i hope knowledgeable members could help further.


Might be; that green definitely looks like the colour of the green ones, and the surface has than 'skin' look. Purple from the magenta plant?

This definitely calls for further research.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Senior Host, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org


#5 ChrisTaylor

ChrisTaylor
  • host
  • 2,034 posts
  • Location:Melbourne

Posted 21 February 2012 - 12:50 PM

I've tried many of those jellies over the years and I've yet to find one that tastes of, well, anything, really.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between


#6 annabelle

annabelle
  • participating member
  • 1,956 posts
  • Location:Grand Lake o' the Cherokees, Oklahoma

Posted 21 February 2012 - 12:53 PM

I lived near Little Saigon in San Diego for many years and I have to agree with ChrisTaylor: Those jellies are...meh. I never found one that I said, "I really need to stop off and get some more of those on the way home!"

When you said it was "starchy", did you mean like mochi? The white layers look like rice flour paste.

#7 BadRabbit

BadRabbit
  • participating member
  • 690 posts
  • Location:Birmingham, AL

Posted 21 February 2012 - 03:22 PM

Why would one make something with no flavor? If you're going to make something for the texture, why not make it taste good in the process?

It also seems odd coming from a cuisine that uses pretty bold flavors most of the time.

#8 Margaret Pilgrim

Margaret Pilgrim
  • participating member
  • 1,436 posts
  • Location:San Francisco

Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:12 PM

Why would one make something with no flavor? If you're going to make something for the texture, why not make it taste good in the process?

It also seems odd coming from a cuisine that uses pretty bold flavors most of the time.

I would guess that "no flavor" and "taste(s) good" are in the cultural tastebud of the beholder.
eGullet member #80.

#9 heidih

heidih
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 10,775 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted 21 February 2012 - 08:04 PM

This seems right in line with the Vietnamese che. I often purchase the ones as shown in the plastic cups and they are barely sweet, and though there are usually 4 or 5 types on offer, the underlying theme is contrasting textures; beans, corn, banana, tapicoa pearls, agar shreds, and the like. I was told they are meant to be served over crushed ice but they have a certain appeal on their own when lukewarm right from the shelf. I think one has to erase the Western dessert concept and think of them on their own as an interlude of taste and texture.

#10 Mjx

Mjx

    Senior Host

  • host
  • 6,240 posts

Posted 22 February 2012 - 01:32 AM

. . . .

When you said it was "starchy", did you mean like mochi? The white layers look like rice flour paste.


More 'pasty' than mochi, I'd say. Kind of yelled 'starch starch starch!', if that makes any sense.


This seems right in line with the Vietnamese che. I often purchase the ones as shown in the plastic cups and they are barely sweet, and though there are usually 4 or 5 types on offer, the underlying theme is contrasting textures; beans, corn, banana, tapicoa pearls, agar shreds, and the like. I was told they are meant to be served over crushed ice but they have a certain appeal on their own when lukewarm right from the shelf. I think one has to erase the Western dessert concept and think of them on their own as an interlude of taste and texture.


Those remind me of the herbal jelly with the large, dark tapioca pearls that I rush to get at Saint's Alp, every time I go back to NYC (sometimes, straight from the airport).

And definitely, Asian gelatine desserts are mostly about texture, a texture I happen to love, but since the ingredients involved are often such blank slates, it would be interesting to add something(s). I'm thinking more interms of aroma than flavour (although a bitter or sour note could be interesting with the mildld sweetness), layers of, say rose and cacao, or citrus and orange blossom might be. Or coffee and coconut cream.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Senior Host, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org


#11 annabelle

annabelle
  • participating member
  • 1,956 posts
  • Location:Grand Lake o' the Cherokees, Oklahoma

Posted 22 February 2012 - 01:01 PM

Oh, okay. That sounds more like tapioca than mochi. Vietnamese food always puzzles me. I love it, but I can't figure out what half of it is made of, how to pronounce it or how to cook any of it.

#12 threestars

threestars
  • participating member
  • 314 posts

Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:05 AM

That looks very interesting! I wonder what kind of delicacy is that. We had some of those that looks similar to that here in Manila but I'm not sure if it is really what it is.

#13 GlorifiedRice

GlorifiedRice
  • participating member
  • 1,364 posts
  • Location:Philly Burbs

Posted 23 February 2012 - 04:46 AM

http://auntyyochana.blogspot.com/

Im not sure if you will find ALL of what you want there but Im sure Aunty Yochana will have at least SOMETHING
Wawa Sizzli FTW!

#14 threestars

threestars
  • participating member
  • 314 posts

Posted 28 February 2012 - 05:18 AM

If you try to Google, "Kutsinta" you will see an image of an orange brownish food that looks similar to that.

#15 Ashen

Ashen
  • participating member
  • 475 posts
  • Location:Ontario , Canada

Posted 28 February 2012 - 05:37 AM

that is cool.. I just picked up the green leaf version on the weekend at the asian supermarket here. this one had more flavour than usual because they used coconut milk,creme in it . I actually really like the texture, but my wife is quite put off by it.
"Why is the rum always gone?"
Captain Jack Sparrow

#16 Mjx

Mjx

    Senior Host

  • host
  • 6,240 posts

Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:02 AM

Actually went back to the shop again to day, and asked the woman who keeps the shop what it was called; I was told 'coconut cake'. I asked for the Vietnamese name, and she just laughed and shook her head. I'll crack this one yet.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Senior Host, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org


#17 hongda

hongda
  • participating member
  • 112 posts

Posted 28 February 2012 - 02:00 PM

Look up banh da lon on google.

#18 Mjx

Mjx

    Senior Host

  • host
  • 6,240 posts

Posted 28 February 2012 - 02:21 PM

Look up banh da lon on google.


It seems a likely candidate (BonVivantNL mentions it, upthread), and I was hoping that if I just asked for the name of this sweet today, it would clear that up, but for some reasone, she declined to say. I toyed with the idea of trying to say 'banh da lon', but had doubts about getting some of the more forcible sounding vowels pronounced correctly, and had visions of the shopkeeper rolling about on the floor, convulsed with laughter. So I chickened out.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Senior Host, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org


#19 HungryC

HungryC
  • participating member
  • 1,503 posts
  • Location:greater New Orleans

Posted 28 February 2012 - 02:30 PM

Good lord, banh da lon has its own facebook page. http://www.facebook....112681152076156
Maybe the shopkeeper didn't want to possibly offend you by translating the name? (pig skin cake)

#20 Mjx

Mjx

    Senior Host

  • host
  • 6,240 posts

Posted 28 February 2012 - 02:48 PM

Good lord, banh da lon has its own facebook page. http://www.facebook....112681152076156
Maybe the shopkeeper didn't want to possibly offend you by translating the name? (pig skin cake)


Heck, I would have been fine with (in fact was trying to get her to tell me) the Vietnamese name. I'm guessing she felt embarrassed, which I can definitely relate to, so I didn't press it. In Denmark, the name wouldn't be likely to be regarded as offensive (major pork producer).

I need to get the ingredients together, and start experimenting. If I can get my hands on some decent rose water, well, I've been a little obsessed with trying a cacao and rosewater version of this.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Senior Host, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org


#21 hongda

hongda
  • participating member
  • 112 posts

Posted 29 February 2012 - 01:54 PM

whoops, missed that post. A couple more things to try

http://oggi-icandoth...kueh-lapis.html

#22 threestars

threestars
  • participating member
  • 314 posts

Posted 01 March 2012 - 02:58 AM

whoops, missed that post. A couple more things to try

http://oggi-icandoth...kueh-lapis.html


Sapin sapin is a very famous delicacy here in my part of the world. It is one of my favorite.

#23 GlorifiedRice

GlorifiedRice
  • participating member
  • 1,364 posts
  • Location:Philly Burbs

Posted 19 March 2012 - 04:45 AM

I had a green one yesterday, DELICIOUS!
Wawa Sizzli FTW!

#24 Mjx

Mjx

    Senior Host

  • host
  • 6,240 posts

Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:34 AM

I had a green one yesterday, DELICIOUS!


Layered with white? What did it taste of?

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Senior Host, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org


#25 GlorifiedRice

GlorifiedRice
  • participating member
  • 1,364 posts
  • Location:Philly Burbs

Posted 19 March 2012 - 06:58 AM

http://i.imgur.com/b3SA4.jpg

Its the green stripy thing, I dont really know what it tasted like, it was just yummy, lol
Wawa Sizzli FTW!

#26 GlorifiedRice

GlorifiedRice
  • participating member
  • 1,364 posts
  • Location:Philly Burbs

Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:51 PM

http://i.imgur.com/nBUuU.jpg

Adding this pic of the frozen Banh Da Lon I also bought yesterday, it looks exactly like the original posters one except in green
Wawa Sizzli FTW!

#27 Panaderia Canadiense

Panaderia Canadiense
  • participating member
  • 2,066 posts
  • Location:Ambato, Ecuador

Posted 19 March 2012 - 04:36 PM

I've had the green and white striped ones, which were sold to me as "lotus cakes" - and now I'm seriously craving them. Gee, thanks, GR - I'm going to have to make them now, because we don't even have anything remotely resembling a Vietnamese bakery / store within about half a continent. :sad:
Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

#28 threestars

threestars
  • participating member
  • 314 posts

Posted 21 March 2012 - 03:19 AM

http://i.imgur.com/b3SA4.jpg

Its the green stripy thing, I dont really know what it tasted like, it was just yummy, lol


That looks really great! :) What about that one in yellow plastic?

#29 GlorifiedRice

GlorifiedRice
  • participating member
  • 1,364 posts
  • Location:Philly Burbs

Posted 21 March 2012 - 04:58 AM


http://i.imgur.com/b3SA4.jpg

Its the green stripy thing, I dont really know what it tasted like, it was just yummy, lol


That looks really great! :) What about that one in yellow plastic?



That was VEGAN SNAIL
Wawa Sizzli FTW!

#30 GlorifiedRice

GlorifiedRice
  • participating member
  • 1,364 posts
  • Location:Philly Burbs

Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:45 AM

http://i.imgur.com/wN9Bd.jpg

Made Banh Da Lon last night. So good...
Wawa Sizzli FTW!