This my friends, is what I call Vietnamese Jello. The technical name is thạch, which doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like J-E-L-L-O. It’s a light dessert made of water, sugar, agar and a variety of flavorings including coconut milk, coffee and pandan leaves.

This particular version was made by the Golden Sea Hotel (a fantastic place to stay if you’re ever in Da Nang). The thạch was served at the hotel’s sumptuous breakfast buffet, which was prepared each morning for guests. What’s most notable about the Golden Sea’s thạch is the number of layers it contains—eight!

My Aunt Phuong and I made some thạch this past summer and encountered difficulty with the layers not adhering properly due to poor timing. Since we had trouble working with only three layers, I was quite impressed with the hotel’s eight layer execution.

Look at those beautiful layers—the white ones are coconut, the lime green one is pandan, the tan ones are condensed milk and coffee, the dark brown one is plain coffee and the orange one is gac fruit (I think). Eaten together, I find it impossible to differentiate between each individual flavor; it just tastes sweet, refreshing and gelatin-y!


4 Responses to “Thạch”

  1. 1 angel van November 16, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    that looks so yummy! i miss eating thach. miss the coffee flavor the most. but i remember all those thach that comes in the forms where you pour the different flavors into the molds to make the different pictures. i never personally tried to make it but my aunts always done it perfectly.

  2. 2 tanglethis November 19, 2007 at 3:18 am

    I think jello is disgusting… but that’s really beautiful and I actually do want to take a bite!

  3. 3 angel van November 19, 2007 at 4:42 am

    tanglethis–this jello really is nothing like american jello. much more firm and has a different texture. this is much better then american jello.

  4. 4 Gastronomer November 19, 2007 at 8:32 am

    Yep! Angel Van is totally right. The use of agar rather than gelatin makes for a superior texture. And the flavors aren’t the least bit artifical.

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