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It's Industrial Revolution-hectic at Thach Chè Hiên Khánh, a Vietnamese dessert shop in Westminster. And it's partly hectic because of the space's prime nook just beyond the imperial gates of the T&K Food Market but primarily because of its reputation within the Vietnamese diaspora for its homeland's desserts, furtively sweet confections virtually unknown to the Western palate. Specifically, Thach Chè Hiên Khánh specializes in the alchemy of xôi (steamed sticky rice) and chè (sugary porridge). Combine the super-Slurpee chè ba màu with any chè or xôi, and you'll never need Snickers again. Don't bother asking for anything sugary here; all the sweets are a different type of sweets--some hearty, some earthy, all delicious.
Che is hard to define to those who haven't grown up eating it. All che are desserts, but all desserts are not che. The sweet snack can most closely be translated to "pudding," yet it holds no real resemblance to it. Che comes in various flavors and incarnations, but the general unifying factors are sweetness, being served in a cup and being ridiculously delicious. Although this traditional Vietnamese dessert can be found in just about any food-to-go joint on the Bolsa strip, no place does it... More »
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