Who says a frozen treat has to include ice cream? In our book, all you need is some ice and something sweet. Which is why we chanced upon the che ba mau, or the icy Vietnamese three-colored dessert/beverage, at Paris Sandwich on Grand Street today. Never one to turn down a coconut-milk-based drink, we sampled the goods.
Che ba mau is generally made with a combo of sweetened mung beans, sweetened red adzuki beans, multicolored jellies, a load of crushed ice, and a hearty dose of coconut milk. Other ingredients might be added as well, and it’s great when there are as many ingredients as possible in one’s che, because then each bite is different than the one before, with a lovely range of textures and flavors.
The version here ($3.75) came in a large plastic cup and consisted of the mung beans, adzuki beans, and a few strands of thick green jellies. The thickness of the jellies was slightly problematic, because they were hard to sip up through the straw, and had to be crushed into smaller pieces. The beans, though, were flavorful and well-cooked, and the beverage wasn’t overly sweet. It certainly wasn’t the greatest che ba mau we’ve encountered in this city, but it’s still nice to find another spot that carries the treat.
Fork in the Road readers — any versions of che ba mau that you particularly love in New York?