A Brief History…
From a very long time ago, red beans had been used as the main ingredient in many different Asian cuisines, especially to make mouth-watering sweet and healthy desserts. What makes Asian cuisine stand out is the made-fresh-from-scratch ingredients. In traditional cooking, many Asian countries often use farm-to-table ingredients. This is understandable since almost all Asian countries are widely known for agriculture. Red beans are also called azuki beans. They are one of mother nature’s most generous gifts to man. Since Asia is a vast continent, the use of red beans also varies from regions. In the northeastern subregion of Asia, including countries such as China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, red beans are often used to make a sweet paste known as red bean paste. Red bean paste is popular not only in the past but also in the present day. It is often used as the filling of those lovely chewy and stretchy mochi. Red bean paste can also be used as a topping in many other sweet desserts.
My Sweet Memory
Every time I think of my childhood’s favorite dessert or snack, I think of “Che Dau Do” or “Vietnamese red bean dessert.” This delightful dessert is not only delicious, but it is also one of the simplest yet very healthy dishes of Vietnamese cuisine. While red beans were used to make a sweet paste in the upper region of Asia, in the lower region, Southeast Asia, red beans are often pressure-cooked to perfection and served in small bowls topped with sweet cane syrup and coconut milk. In Vietnam, red bean dessert is enjoyed for more than one reason. Since Vietnam is a tropical country, the weather is sunny all year round. Some days, the temperature can reach 90 – 100 degrees Fahrenheit easily. As a result, the Vietnamese people often eat red bean dessert as a refreshing snack during the day, because this wonderful dessert can be eaten warm or cold depending on the eater’s preference. In Vietnam, you can find red bean dessert almost everywhere since it is a popular street food as it is a dessert.
Another reason red bean dessert is widely adored and enjoyed in Vietnam is because of its name and its ingredients. Starting with the name, in Vietnamese language, bean means “đậu,” which rhymes with the word “passing,” and red means “đỏ,” which rhymes with the word “luck.” Not only in Vietnam but also in many other Asian countries, the red color is believed to bring good luck. Although it is not scientifically proven, Asian people, especially the Vietnamese still believe that the red bean dessert’s name means good luck and prosperity to those who enjoy it. This is also the reason why red bean desserts made my childhood favorite. Since I grew up in a working-class family, my parents did not want my sisters and me to grow up into just common people. Instead, they wanted us to study as hard as we could so that we could achieve as much success as possible. Thus, every time either one of us is preparing for a big examination, the family will gather after dinner to eat “Che Dau Do” and wish good luck. This was also the best moment since we got to sit together, eat a tasty treat, and have encouraging conversations. Every time I think of this dessert, it reminds me of how much my parents loved me and my sisters. No matter how hard they had to work, they kept pushing tirelessly just so they could build us a brighter future.
Vietnamese red bean dessert is my favorite childhood memory, what is your favorite? And what memory does it remind you of?