Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 Hanoi Trip - Dương Hoa Kem Caramen

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

Full experience of my visit to Hanoi can be accessed through the list below:


More about Hanoi can be read through the list below:
Vietnamese Dong


Look up for must-try food in Hanoi, and one would not get any explicit recommendation to try kem caramen. It would hardly exist in any of those list, or at least I couldn't see one which it did. Personally though, I would say that one should at least make an effort to try the one in Dương Hoa, for you would not be disappointed at all.

For this successful food hunt, there is my friend and his trusty guidebook to thank for. Chuah Chin Yee, this post is dedicated to you! :)


Kem Caramen (VND6,000, about RM1.00) is really a tasty dessert that one should not miss. Bombard your senses with the fragrance of caramel and relish the silky smooth texture of the custard.

To be exact, the full name of the shop is Dương Hoa Sữa Chua Nếp Cẩm & Kem Caramen, but Kem Caramen is emphasized with much larger font, so all we could think of ordering was that. We were offered a plate of custard the color of the sun, with a coffee colored layer of topping, and bathed within a layer of tan caramel. One scoop of the luscious and bouncy soft custard was immediately followed by another scoop, then another, the familiar fragrance of caramel with its slight burnt smell flooding the senses. It was too tempting to stop. Resistance was simply futile.

Which comes to the question: what is kem caramenA search online revealed that the exact term could be kem caramel instead, which is the Vietnamese version of crème caramel, also known as flan and caramel custard. Originating from France, it was brought into Vietnamese cuisine with French colonization. Crème caramel has a soft caramel top, as opposed to its cousin crème brûlée which is topped with hard caramel. More could be read from this Wikipedia entry - Crème caramel.

You do not need to wait long for your Kem Caramen. At your order's behest, the owner will take a cup of pudding and pour it out onto a plastic plate. And your Kem Caramen is served. Duong Hoa would need to work fast during lunch hour though, as throngs of customers sit/squat in front of the shop and another string of motor riders would order dozens between each of them for take away.

Dương Hoa Kem Caramen, being a dessert shop despite its emphasis on kem caramen, offered a variety of other items to sweeten your day. Various small cakes lined its transparent display, but we were drawn especially to another item of their display, a shrink wrapped piece the color of rainbow. We did not get the name of it, so I just christen it as rainbow jelly.

Despite addressing it as a jelly, it has a very solid texture, much like a hard jelly which could rival the solidness of our local kuih in Malaysia. We were enlightened to a fruity flavor with each bite, and chewing it in your mouth would further flood your senses. If you were able to indulge in more dessert after your share of kem caramen, then this would be our second recommendation.



Not sure what this rainbow colored jelly is called, but it was delicious in its own way. Thankfully not exceedingly sweet, it would find its fans among the kids and lovers of cuteness with its rainbow outlook. With a soft yet solid texture, chewing the jelly is a heavenly way to enjoy your dessert.

As a dessert shop, Duong Hoa offered cakes as well. We were full from our lunch hunt, so we couldn't stuff more into our mouth, which was a real shame...


Half sit half squat - the way to dine in Hanoi (as well as whole Vietnam). The full name of the shop was Dương Hoa Sữa Chua Nếp Cẩm & Kem Caramen, but as one could see, "Kem Caramen" was emphasized over the rest of them, ensuring passersby to immediately notice the shop as the go to place for a wonderful plate of irresistible dessert.

We arrived at the shop at a quiet hour, but the throng of lunch goers arrived after we left. And what a throng it was. It seemed that the shop was popular with the locals, with each motor riders leaving with dozens of custards. The locals just pull a stool and ordered something for each, and were immediately served by the owner with astonishing efficiency. For us, we were just happy that we did not need to fight with the locals for a spot to sample the delicious kem caramen, for it would just spoil everybody's mood, both ours and the locals who hungered for Duong Hoa's dessert.









Suitable for:             for Kem Caramen! For other desserts as well, there is just no other place in Hanoi that is better...
Cost:                             Cheap and totally worth it! It costs us only a total of VND27,000 (about RM4.30) for 3 Kem Caramen and 2 pieces of rainbow jelly.


Contact:                     +84-(43)-927-2806
Address:                     29 Hàng Than, Nguyễn Trung Trực, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Operating hours:   8.00 a.m. - 11.00 p.m.




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