Literally translated, Bến Tre means Bamboo Port. It is a small provience of Vietnam, located in the Mekong Delta. Bến Tre is famous of its coconuts. It's all things coconut.... even religion. Ông Đạo Dừa used to call this place home. He developed his own religion based on hòa hảo which united and worshiped both the Buddha and Jesus. Sadly, when the communist invaded South Vietnam, his property was seized and turned it into a restaurant. He was restricted from practicing his religion and later passed away. To this day, his name is still well know throughout the land but there are very few followers of Đạo Dừa . Đạo Dừa, literally translated means Coconut Religion. Followers of this religion were on a strict diet of only coconut.

Bến Tre is the leading producer of coconut goods... rice bowls, chopstick, spoons, you name it they can make it....out of coconut! Most famous of all, is Kẹo Dừa (Coconut Candy). Fresh grated coconut is squeezed to obtain coconut milk. Coconut milk is then mixed with sugar and boiled until the soft crack stage. The candy is then cooled until cut into thin strips (pic. above). The thin pieces are then cut into smaller pieces of candy. Easier said then done. The candy hardens when it cools, thus the candy must be cut while still warm. Being warm means it's extremely sticky which requires a very shape knife to cut. Through the long cooking process the coconut milk converts into oil which helps give the candy a nice shine and nutty flavor. There are many versions of Kẹo Dừa, some places add durian, others add pandan. Whatever the flavor is it's all yummy, sweet and creamy....oh so good!

Here's the recipe if anyone wants to try.

-Equal portions of sugar and coconut milk BY WEIGHT
-1 tsp maltose or lime juice for every 500g of sugar

**Bring everything to a boil and simmer over medium heat while constantly stirring. The candy is ready when it reaches the soft ball crack stage. Pour the candy mixture onto a heat proof surface to cool. Once it's cool enough to handle, shape, cut, wrap and enjoy.

For pandan flavor, blend coconut milk with pandan leaves and strain....or just add pandan extract. For durian flavor, add durian ....how? Don't ask just Play With Your Food and find out! lol




Comments (10)

On 2:26 PM , SteamyKitchen said...

I usually buy the candy at a store instead of making it - I can only imagine the fragrance of home made Coconut Candy!

 
On 9:28 PM , Anonymous said...

Hi tt

Do you know what happen to datviet forum?...I really missed that web page.

 
On 11:00 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

it's still there....

 
On 5:14 AM , keona said...

I'm so glad you're back! :) I learn so much about Vietnamese culture and cooking from here. Thanks again and keep up the good work!!

 
On 10:13 PM , Jen Tan said...

hey, I was able to go to this place when I visited vietnam =) i love vietnamese food and I ADORE THE KAPE!!! I soo wich it is available here in the Philippines ...=)

there is this resto in ho chi minh city that most locals go to as well...is it called Ngon? I want to recall as I loved their food!!!

 
On 5:30 AM , Julie said...

Hi there...I found your blog on google. I'm Viet and I was wondering if you can help me find a recipe for a cake that you can usually get at Vietnamese bakeries in the US and Vietnam. It's a layered sponge(-like ?) cake that has a young coconut & whipped cream filling. It's topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. It's usually beautifully decorated and the fruit is artfully placed on it. We usually got it for birthdays and family events. Thanks so much!

 
On 9:42 PM , Cakespy said...

This candy sounds like it must be good when store bought, but something else entirely when home-made. Yummm...

 
On 12:49 AM , Anonymous said...

Hi Hoangtam, I'm Vietnamese too. I love and appreciate your website so much. You are awesome in willing to share all these receipes in detail with us. Where did you open you cooking school? Are you going to publish a cookbook? I wish you the best in life. Lienkl

 
On 1:10 PM , hoangtam/tt said...

Hi Lien,

thanks for stopping by. I don't have a cooking school...I'm still in school. As of now, I don't have any plans to write a cookbook either.....

 
On 8:47 AM , vietfoodrecipes said...

This is sure a great treat when were kids. My mom just went back from Vietnam and still brought some home for us. Miss my childhood with these keo dua