Vietnamese street food : Caramen nep cam (Creme caramel with fermented red sticky rice)


The French occupation of Vietnam or French Indochina as their cartographers would refer to it, left plenty of cultural clues – Crusty baguettes and pâté made famous as a sort of backpacker rite of passage meal, Bánh mì.

Then there’s caramen, a near identical replica of the delicious wobbly French treat, crème caramel.

In caramen nếp cẩm lies the Asian variation, a plastic cup with crème caramel is topped with fermented black sticky rice, my translate app gave me the wonderful translation for nếp cẩm as “this special rice”, as usual miles off base when you want to know simple ingredients but I’d like to think it’s how it’s referred to, because the rice is delicious, with a bit of chewiness and slightly fruity from the fermentation.

Caramen nep cam

Caramen nep cam

When it arrives it’s got lovely layers of Caramel, fermented rice and ice, with another ingredient (which I presumed was coconut milk , but I’m not so sure anymore) and you can mush it all up, or eat it surgically (my preference) it’s a great treat, and a good cure for the vicious Hanoi summer heat and humidity.

We visited Kem Caramen, 29 Hàng Than. Expect to pay around 15’000VND per cup of ‘special rice’. Little English is spoken, but they have a handy board with the menu in Vietnamese, pointing got the job done. 

Some useful phrases
Sin chow – hello
Mot – one
Hai – two
Gam urn – thank you
Tra da – iced tea, a popular and cheap drink to accompany meals and usually available at hole in the wall restaurants (pronounced cha)


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3 thoughts on “Vietnamese street food : Caramen nep cam (Creme caramel with fermented red sticky rice)

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