Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Krispy Kreme Japan is celebrating something else — the diversity of Asian desserts, according to Sora News.
As a way to taste the different decadent offerings across Asia, Krispy Kreme released a limited menu called Tasty Asian Sweets.
Photo: Krispy Kreme Japan
This menu offers items inspired by the desserts of countries like Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Here’s a look at what treats are being highlighted.
Hong Kong Almond Tofu
Inspired by the Japanese dessert “Almond Tofu,” this donut is filled with a milky cream that’s similar in texture to the bean curd. The donut is glazed in white chocolate and topped with tiny flecks of gold powder and pieces of dried goji berries.
Thai Mango Cheesecake
Mango flavored Cheesecake is a pretty well-known dessert in Thailand, so this donut encompasses all those elements. Stuffed with a cheesecake-flavored cream, the breakfast pastry is coated with a frosting made from pureed Alphonso Mango.
One of Vietnam’s most traditional dessert drinks Che is a blend of diced fruits, jellies, and beans. This donut is topped with a lychee and strawberry glaze and garnished with chunks of dragonfruit and mango pieces.
Taiwan Pineapple Cake
The Feng Li Su（凤梨酥）Pineapple Cake is a popular pastry in Taiwan and this Taiwan Pineapple Cake doughnut draws heavily from just that. The dough is made with powdered cream cheese and pineapple sauce.
Alongside these dessert offerings, Krispy Kreme is also serving up a donut that’s on the more savory side.
Thai Spicy Green Curry
Don’t order this donut expecting something sweet. The Thai Spicy Green Curry donut falls more on the savory side. Stuffed with a chicken and eggplant filling that’s combined with coconut milk and fish sauce, the donut is a hot and spicy pastry more in line with a curry sandwich.
All of the donuts are available now at Krispy Kreme locations in Japan through September.
Sure, we can lay claim to the Cronut (croissant donut) and Milky Bun (ice cream stuffed donut) as some of the craziest desserts to hail from the United States in recent memory. While our country is churning out fantastic and bizarre sweets week after week, our neighbors to the East have also been crushing it for centuries.
Check out some of the most unique desserts enjoyed in Asia that you may not even have heard of.
A classic Thai dessert, Khanom Chan literally translates to “layered dessert.” Similar to Woon Bai Toey (sweet coconut milk and pandan jelly), Khanam Chan boasts a gelatinous taste. Made from pandan leaves, sticky rice flour, and coconut milk, the dish is steamed and stacked together in multiple layers. Nine, a number of prosperity, is usually the amount of layers seen in the dessert.
The process of making Luk Chup is a bit tedious: grinding steamed mung beans into a paste, molding them into the shape of fruit, coloring them, and finally glazing them in gelatin. Still, once you’ve accomplished all those steps, you’re left with a plateful of vibrant desserts that look like candy versions of the real thing, each complete with different layers of flavor and textures originally intended for Thai royalty.
A classic Chinese dessert that can most commonly be found during the Mid-Autumn Festival, Mooncakes are pastries filled with red bean or lotus seed paste. Each mooncake is imprinted with a variety of Chinese characters that stand for either “longevity” or “harmony.” You can also find the name of the bakery inside each cake.
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Also known as Broken Glass Gelatin, this vibrant dessert in the Philippines is made from condensed milk and a variety of colored Jello. Once it’s finished, it resembes “Broken Glass” or the stained windows of a majestic cathedral.
Woon Bai Toey
Made from the aromatic pandan leaf and coconut, Woon Bai Toey is a Thai gelatin dessert that boasts a creamy and nutty flavor with a chewy texture. The dessert typically follows a spicy Thai dish to help refresh the palate. FoodTravelTVEnglish shows you the step-by-step process to create this dessert.
A dessert soup or pudding that’s found in Vietnam, che is made from mung beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, tapioca, jelly, and aloe vera. Che Ba Mau is a variation of the dish that is comprised of three main ingredients as Ba Mau translates to “three colors.” Choice of beans vary as long as the three colors are distinct.
In the Philippines, leche flan is a celebrated dessert that originated as a Spanish dish. Made with condensed milk and egg yolk, the sweet dessert is steamed over an open flame. Unlike the Spanish variation of flan, the one served in the Philippines is much more rich — featuring more egg yolks and sugar.
A deep-fried Korean pastry, Yagkwa is made with wheat flour, honey, and sesame oil. Yagkwa originated as a medicinal cookie that’s soaked in honey. Because of how much honey it contains and being deep fried at low temperatures of 248-284 degrees F, the pastry is both moist and soft when you bite into it. ARIRANG CULTURE did a recipe video for those curious.
Patbingsu, or “red beans shaved ice,” is a Korean dessert made of shaved ice, ice cream, condensed milk, red beans, and fruit. The earliest known variation of the dessert dates back to the year 1392. Today, you can find the cold dessert at most Korean restaurants and dessert spots specializing in the icy treat, adorned with chopped bits of fruit and plenty of syrup.
A type of wagashi (a Japanese confection), higashi is made with rice flour. Featuring intricate designs, the sweet and starchy dessert can typically be found during tea ceremonies. The creation of wagashi desserts came after China began producing sugar and traded it with Japan.
A highly popular dessert that started out in Japan, the Raindrop Cake became immensely popular among social media stateside once it debuted at New York food market Smorgasburg by Chef Darren Wong. Made from water and agar, a vegan sort of gelatin, the cake resembles a giant raindrop. Typically, raindrop cakes are served with a roasted soybean flour and molasses or honey to add flavor.
Known for their fluffiness and distinct jiggle, Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecakes started in Japan over 30 years ago. These cheesecakes are made up of flour, eggs, cream cheese, sugar, baking powder, honey, butter, milk, and a special Australian cheese. The result is a super soft, rich, and flavorful cheesecake that’s got as much moves as a bowl of Jello! Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecakes became so popular that multiple franchises have sprouted all over the world to cater to the popularity of these moist wonders.
Vietnamese food was everywhere for me growing up. With a large Vietnamese family, I got to try so many dishes, desserts, and drinks that the cuisine became like a first language for me as a kid. That’s why it’s always so fascinating for me to see how other people react to trying the dishes of my culture for the very first time.
In one of HiHo Kids’ latest videos, a group of little kids try the delicious cuisine from Vietnam for the first time. Iconic Vietnamese dishes include pho (rice noodle soup), banh xeo (savory sizzling pancake), ca kho to (braised claypot catfish), and soda sua hot ga (egg soda).
Check out their hilarious reactions to trying these dishes for the first time. Man, it makes us nervous how much Sriracha that one kid threw into their pho. Pretty sure his mouth caught fire.
I’m also pretty bummed they didn’t include my all-time favorite Vietnamese dish, com tam (broken rice), in this video. I guess kids can only eat so much food in one sitting.
A restaurant in Cau Giay District of Hanoi, Vietnam is raising a few eyebrows after photos of bikini-clad waitresses at the eatery went viral.
Authorities in Hanoi may fine the restaurant for having women in bikinis serve their predominantly male diners food and drinks. The incident goes “against Vietnam’s traditional culture and fine customs,” according to To Van Dong, the Director of Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism agency.
Thanhnien News reported that the photos were allegedly taken on Sunday, May 8. The images show women serving beer and sitting next to the gawking male customers. The restaurant manager, Lam, confirmed the pictures had been snapped at his establishment on Tran Thai Tong Street.
“The ones in bikinis were here for only one or two minutes. We asked them to cancel the promotional campaign after seeing how they were dressed.”
However, Truong Van Tuan, director of Sabeco’s northern branch denied the allegations claiming his company has never run that kind of campaign at the eatery. Seems like neither party reportedly involved are willing to step up to take responsibility.
On May 6, just two days before the controversial restaurant incident, Hanoi cultural inspectors penalized an electronics store with a $1,795 fine for using women in bikinis to promote their business.
The women greeted customers and introduced air-conditioning products at the store. The manager of Tran Anh electronics defended their actions saying the women were there to film “sex education videos.”
Everyone’s got their go-to beer run story. You know, that tale you tell at parties and special occasions that’s so epic that it’s become a tradition. John “Chickie” Donohue has exactly that story and it’s pretty amazing.
Back in the ’60s Donohue was a merchant marine from New York. To sum it up, he snuck into a war zone in Vietnam to deliver beer to his neighborhood friends. If that doesn’t say “friendship” we don’t know what else could.
The young Donohue sweet-talked his way overseas and onto the war zone with a burlap sack of Pabst for his childhood pals.
Pabst Blue Ribbon did a 12-minute documentary on Donohue’s story with him and his old friends recalling what exactly happened in Vietnam. They’re calling it “the world’s greatest beer run” and they might just be right. Check it out below.
Feeling hungry? You will be after looking through this creative collection of food photography by Australian advertising agency WHYBIN\TBWA.To promote the Sydney International Food Festival, which is Australia’s largest food festival which had almost a million attendees last year and chefs from all over the world, the imaginative team re-created 17 national flags using foods common to each nation. Basil, pasta, and tomatoes create the stripes on Italy’s flag, while hot dogs and buns were used for the U.S., olives and feta cheese for Greece, and curries with rice for India and Indonesia.
What’s even more impressive than the simpler striped flags is seeing the clever ways the team improvised stars and symbols of the more complex flags. Great use of the meat pie with crust cut outs for Australia, star fruit for the stars on the flags of China and Vietnam, EZ cheese or mustard for the stars on the U.S. flag, and an herb sprig for the cedar tree at the center of Lebanon’s flag. Using tuna sashimi for the red circle on Japan’s flag was simple but perfect. Which one makes your mouth water the most?
Above: Italy’s flag made from Basil, pasta, and tomatoes.
Australia’s flag made from meat pie and sauce.
Brazil’s flag made from banana leaf, limes, pineapple and passion fruit.
China’s flag made from pittaya/dragon fruit and star fruit.
France’s flag made from Blue cheese, brie and grapes.
Greece’s flag made from Kalamata olives and feta cheese.
India’s flag made from curries, rice, and pappadum wafer.
Indonesia’s flag made from spicy curries and rice (Sambal).
Japan’s flag made from tuna and rice.
Lebanon’s flag made from lavash, fattoush and herb sprig.
South Korea’s flag made from Kimbap and sauces.
Spain’s flag made from chorizo and rice.
Switzerland’s flag made from charcuteries and Emmental.
Thailand’s flag made from sweet chilli sauce, shredded coconut and blue swimmer crab.
Turkey’s flag made from Turkish Delights (Lokum).
United Kingdom’s flag made from scone, cream and jams.
United States of America’s flag made from hot dogs, ketchup, and mustard or cheese.
Vietnam’s flag made from rambutan, lychee and starfruit.
Starbucks rules the world and everyone knows it. Their green mermaid logo is as ubiquitous as McDonald’s golden arches or Target’s bulls-eye. You may bemoan the lack of quaint, mom-and-pop cafes (where they’d scoff at you if you asked for a soy milk substitute), but nobody can deny the downright convenience of the Starbucks machine– there are seven locations within a two-mile radius of my house alone.
However, there’s a new man in town, and he’s eager to usurp our favorite corporate caffeinators. His name is Dang Le Nguyen Vu, a.k.a. the “Coffee King.”
Vu is the chairman of privately owned Trung Nguyen, Vietnam’s biggest chain of coffee houses and what he hopes will become Starbucks’ biggest competitor. Vu believes that most of Starbucks’ success lies in their branding, and not in their actual product. “They are great at implanting a story in consumers’ minds but if we look into the core elements of Starbucks, what they are doing is terrible. They are not selling coffee, they are selling coffee-flavoured water with sugar in it,” he says.
You have to admit, he’s right. Does anyone really go to Starbucks for their refined roastin’ abilities? No, you go to order that slightly embarrassing frilly/fruity drink, to work on your startup while you sit in their cushy lounge chairs, even to listen to that cheesy singer-songwriter music that’s always playing. People go for the experience, not the commodity or the service, because we live in an experience economy.
Starbucks is great at selling that hip, urban, modern-wo/man-with-a-laptop experience, and Vu knows this. “American consumers don’t need another product,” he says. “They need another story.” His company’s story is that they source all of their beans from smaller, certifiably sustainable farms where growers receive guaranteed prices. It’s an appreciated attempt at harmonious sustainability, even if it does seems a bit contradictory to his aim for global domination. If anything, it would boost the economy for those in Vietnam’s coffee-growing highland region since, despite being the world’s second biggest coffee exporter overall (after Brazil), the country only earns a tiny fraction of the crop’s generated income– a veritable espresso shot in the Venti scheme of things.
The Coffee King plans to expand his business and permeate the U.S. domestic market come next year. Who knows, maybe there will be a Trung Nguyen in your neighborhood soon! There’s definitely a storm a brewin’ between the java gods.
But hey, as long as it’s brewin’ a mighty fine cup of joe.