Ice Cream Sundae Vietnamese Style: Don’t Forget the Frozen Raspberries

Fanny is a pretty cafe with curly-backed wrought-iron chairs, white lace curtains and a huge ice cream menu.  (They have an outpost in Hanoi, which is just as good, but not as pretty – unless you consider an ice cream parlor that’s also a garage for the staff’s motorbikes pretty.)  And while many of the combinations might be called classic, classic wasn’t what our trip was about, so I ordered the coconut sundae in the picture.  From the top down what I got was a scoop of coconut ice cream, a smattering of toasted peanuts and a swirl of whipped cream nested in a ripe avocado.  (It was supposed to have chocolate sauce, but the server forgot it and I didn’t remember it until I was almost finished.)

I’d never had the combination before, but it made sense to me instantly.  The flavors were all tropical and the textures were all creamy. And as soon as I read the menu entry, I was reminded of a dessert Pierre Herme created for our first book together, Chocolate Temptation:  a molten chocolate cake accompanied by an avocado-banana puree spiked with habanero pepper.  When I asked Pierre what his inspiration for the dessert had been, he said, “The Aztecs.” 

I doubt that the sundae at Fanny was rooted in Mexico, but who knows?  Wherever it came from, it was awfully good.  And in some ways, the best part was the toss-away: instead of topping the sundae with a cherry, as we often do, this sundae came with a few frozen raspberries on the side.  They were fabulous, particularly in the tropical heat, and they’re something I continue to serve at home.

If you want to make this dessert chez you, here’s a recipe for toasted coconut ice cream by my friend and ice cream genie, David Lebovitz.  It comes from his book, The Perfect Scoop.

Here are links to the posts from my Southeast Asia trip with The Kid:

Dizzy in Bangkok

Bangkok Sweets

Josh Greenspan: The Last Word on Bangkok

Geoffrey Deetz: Our Man in Saigon

Tamarind Crabs Somewhere in Saigon

Hoi An Hot Bread

Cooking in Hoi An

Cooking in Luang Prabang: Tamarind Riverside Cooking Classes


Dorie Greenspan