Top 5 Coconut Milk Cakes You Must Try When Visiting the Mekong Delta

Top 5 Coconut Milk Cakes You Must Try When Visiting the Mekong Delta

Nestled in the heart of the picturesque Mekong Delta, Vietnam, is a culinary gem that tantalizes taste buds and delights the senses. In this blog, we will take a deep dive into the world of delectable Vietnamese coconut milk cakes, a regional specialty that captures the essence of Mekong Delta's rich food culture. As we explore this delightful treat, we will also uncover the secret behind its mouthwatering taste and its significance in the local cuisine.

1. Fried banana coconut cake

Ben Tre boasts a myriad of delectable and distinctive dishes where coconut takes center stage, and among them is the fried banana cake with coconut water. To craft this culinary delight, ripe bananas are first boiled, artfully arranged on a plate, and then generously adorned with a drizzle of velvety coconut milk, a hint of tapioca starch, and a sprinkle of roasted peanuts. The cake is a harmonious blend of sweetness and richness that is undeniably alluring. As the delightful aroma of banana and coconut intertwines, it awakens our senses and leaves our taste buds anticipating a flavorful journey.

Fried banana coconut
Fried banana coconut cake

The versatility of coconut fried banana cake is noteworthy; it can be enjoyed either piping hot or refreshingly cold. Its ingredients are predominantly sourced from nature, ensuring a sweetness that is just right, not overly saccharine. For those with an unyielding sweet tooth, the option to enhance the dish with a touch of added sugar to the coconut milk is available. However, as I have personally discovered, indulging in the cake in its unadulterated form is deeply gratifying and undeniably delicious.


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2. Sweets

It's no surprise that one often encounters this delightful topping in sweet soups, commonly referred to as peanuts. In Western cuisine, it's known as sweet cake and is frequently paired with coconut milk, making it a beloved summer refreshment in this region.

Sweets -Banh lot 

This delectable cake is crafted from a blend of rice flour and cassava flour, infused with the vibrant hue of pandan leaves. The dough is meticulously kneaded and poured into a mold equipped with numerous small holes. Positioned atop a pot of simmering water, the flour gracefully descends to form dainty, translucent blue cakes. Placing these banh loc into a bowl, a drizzle of luscious coconut milk is added, complemented by a sprinkling of ice and a garnish of shredded coconut, culminating in an exceptionally delightful and refreshing cup of banh lot.

3. Steamed banana cake 

The West River region is an abundant land, adorned with lush foliage and bountiful fruits. The bananas that flourish here naturally possess a moderate, inherent sweetness, rendering them an ideal ingredient for crafting a variety of delectable desserts. Among these culinary creations, steamed banana cake takes the spotlight.

Steamed banana cake
Steamed banana cake

The process of preparing a steamed banana cake is refreshingly simple. Ripe bananas are mashed and meticulously blended with rice flour, then steamed until perfectly cooked. The allure of this dish lies in its presentation; when served, it is generously adorned with a luscious drizzle of concentrated coconut milk. The amalgamation of coconut and banana flavors creates a harmonious symphony, resulting in a dessert that is both sweet and indulgently rich, leaving the taste buds of every fortunate indulger utterly captivated.

4. Honeycomb Cake

Allow us to introduce another delectable Western specialty cake to you: the honeycomb cake. Honeycomb cakes are known for their spongy texture, resembling a sponge with numerous air holes, and they offer a subtle, delicate sweetness. These cakes come in a variety of colors, including green, yellow, and purple, which are achieved through the use of natural dyes extracted from ingredients like pandan leaves, magenta leaves, and Indian saffron.

honeycomb cake
Honeycomb cake

In Western culinary traditions, honeycomb cakes are commonly enjoyed with thick coconut milk. This pairing not only enriches the cake's flavor but also lends it a distinct and irresistible quality. In certain regions, it's not uncommon to find people sprinkling roasted sesame seeds over the cake to enhance its richness and overall deliciousness.

5.Pandan Leaf Cake

In the Western culinary tradition, you'll discover two distinct categories of cakes: savory cakes and pandan leaf cakes, renowned for their sweet, cool flavor profile. While savory cakes offer richness, sweet cakes like pandan leaf cake present a refreshingly unique taste.

pandan leaf cake
Pandan leaf cake

The primary ingredient in this cake is white sticky rice, meticulously soaked in rice leaf-infused sticky water for hours before being ground into a fine powder. This unique flour, derived from rice soaked with the essence of sticky rice leaves, boasts a beautiful, natural green hue and a delightful aroma.

The cake-making process involves combining the flour with water in a pot and bringing it to a boil, all while continuously stirring to achieve a smooth, lump-free dough. Once the cake reaches the perfect level of doneness, it's carefully arranged in a container, enhancing its visual appeal.

When it's time to savor this delectable treat, it's typically enjoyed with freshly grated coconut, rich coconut milk, and a generous sprinkling of crushed roasted peanuts. The result is a soft and chewy sweet cake, where the luxurious coconut milk harmonizes with the fragrant essence of pandan leaves, creating a fascinating flavor fusion. It's a dish that's both simple and remarkably sophisticated, a testament to the artistry of Western culinary traditions.

Coconut milk cakes have a special place in Mekong Delta's culinary landscape, and their significance goes beyond their delicious taste. These cakes are often associated with special occasions and celebrations, such as weddings, festivals, and Lunar New Year. They symbolize joy, good fortune, and the warmth of hospitality that the people of Mekong Delta are known for. 

If you're planning a trip to the Mekong Delta and want to indulge in the authentic taste of coconut milk cakes, you're in for a treat. Some of the best places to savor this regional delicacy include local markets, street food vendors, and family-owned bakeries. Don't forget to try these cakes at the local eateries for an immersive experience into the culinary heart of Mekong Delta.

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