This little nuclear reactor of a creme caramel blew my socks off today. Before it slid down, I admired it for a full five minutes, from every angle, its shape and sheen, the buildings opposite reflected in its glassy brown, the ridges on the red plastic like ripples on a still lake. This truncated cone of custard had me mesmerized. It had me re-writing my personal definition of perfection. It had me thinking I was stoned! I almost couldn't eat it.
And then I stabbed it with the spoon, it bled caramel and was remorselessly spaded in.
A cold, clinical end, no doubt, but OH MY GOD that wobbly dessert thing was the finest of its ilk to ever pass my lips. Served at room temperature (how does that work when you're seated outside?), the silky texture and subtle burnt caramel flavour had me seduced. So, too, did the pavement position, backs to the wall of an old temple and across from a row of cake shops of a different kind.
The cake cabinet in front of this creme caramel cave was being delved into with regularity, bags being filled with iced sponges, log jam rolls and little eclair-like imposters. A cup of fresh yoghurt could be had, too. I'm not sure how the creme caramel got to be so good in Hanoi but it possibly had something to do with the French. As for this place, I'm pretty sure it isn't the schoolboy helpers who concoct this fine example, yet they can be sure that I'll be back for more.
Three creme caramels (2000VND each), one yoghurt (3000VND) - 9000VND (USD55c, AUD75c)
Duong Hoa Kem Caramen
29 Hang Than St