Life Life

04/08/2019 - 07:08

Beautifying desserts

Under the scorching heat, the sun rays seem to find their way through the holes in the fabric of our clothes, burning our skin. With this bad weather, many people no longer spend a lot of time to choose which dish to eat.

In the hot weather, chè (sweet soup) is a favorite dish of many people. Photo: HA AN

I say so because my little sister and I, as well as many other people often order or deliberately go out under the scorching heat to seek something cold and refreshing to cool off. The options in this weather do not include barbecue meat or spicy noodles. The possible choices are kumquat tea, milk tea, lotus tea or different varieties of chè.

Back then, anything delicious but cheap or just a little tasty but especially cheap was popular. Nowadays, it seems that many people have a higher income, and thus, their choices of cuisine have also become more selective and upgraded.

Those dirt-cheap dishes which reek chemical smell are no longer popular as they once were in their golden age. For example, many home-made tea shops opened. Though we do not know exactly what ingredients are used, the fact that the amount of sugar cannot be adjusted to the customer’s request means that the drink is most likely a processed product. So, despite the promotions and price reductions, these shops find it difficult to attract customers.

Young people enjoy delicious chè desserts, but only if they are not too sweet. Photo: PIANO NGUYEN

As milk tea begins to lose its popularity, refreshing chè desserts increasingly become more sought-after. In addition to some famous and crowded shops such as Hung Vuong alley chè, Dap Da chè, and etc., many people are still willing to go a very long distance and turn a lot of corners near Con Hen to seek a glass of Mr. Lac’s less-sweet chè, despite understanding the risk of going home empty-handed as the shop sells out around 6pm.

With an extensive online sales network, now many people just need to stay home and order beauty chè to be delivered straight to their door. Though I do not know for sure the effectiveness of this beauty chè, the fact that I did not have to travel under the sun for this delicious dish was enough to put me in a happy mood and perhaps, in turn, made my skin better. Part of the effectiveness of this beauty chè probably lies in this.

I live in a world where dozen-year-old chicken feet are sold, and a couple of dollars’ worth of milk tea powder can make dozens of liters of milk tea. Along with my extensive experience of chè tasting, honestly, I do not trust the phrase “the sweetness of this chè is just right” have I not cooked it at home myself. 

However, after a couple of unsuccessful attempts, I finally had a taste of a chè dish that was just sweet enough. I had to agree that there was no chemical taste in the dish. With the price of only about 8,000 VND /glass and with only two options of red bean or fruits, where else can you find a more fitting summer dessert? 

At the time when people begin to pay more attention to their appearance, and the dishes which supposedly can make you prettier are gaining popularity, beauty chè becomes a choice of many. Despite still being a chè dessert, the beautifying claims have made this chè more sought-after and thus the price has also increased considerably.   

While a glass of chè is only about 10,000VND, 100ml of beauty chè is around 30,000 VND, and the seller only delivers if you buy 2 servings or more.

Explaining this price, Ms. Le Khanh, owner of a chè shop said: “All of the ingredients used are high quality. Karaya gum, Goji berries, Xinjiang dried red dates, chia seeds ... all have a high price. Among these ingredients, karaya gum crystals, snow lotus seeds and peach gum crystals are the most expensive at several millions VND per kilogram. With this price, it is very difficult to sell for a profit while ensuring the product’s quality. This dish is also quite new in Hue, so even though I can only sell around 60-70 bottles per day, I still try to make this dish to share with everyone.”

Despite having listened very intently, it is still unclear to me what those ingredients are. The names sound familiar like the dried flowers, leaves and plants that appear in the traditional medicine packages, which are often steeped in an earthen pot and used for improving health. The ingredients seem to be at a very high quality. Therefore, despite not truly understanding their effectiveness, many women, including me, are willing to pay for this beauty chè every 2 – 3 days.

Although the two types of chè are at a different price range, the common point is that they are both not too sweet. In the past, the only place where we could request more or less sugar was those large milk tea shops, with a cup at around 40,000 – 50,000 VND. Now, this trend has spread to different types of food. Consumers love the option of adjusting the ingredients put in their ordered dish. Therefore, the trend of healthy eating has increased.

Today’s weather was changeable. It was half hot and half cold. At my age, I half wanted something sweet and half wanted something plain. So, after a while, my phone rang again: “Yes, two bottles. Yes, less sugar… I remember.”

By Ha An