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Jun03

Towards an easier, more fragrant chè bưởi (pomelo pudding)

For us, chè bưởi (pomelo pudding or pomelo dessert soup) is a dish that always sounds so appealing, yet is perpetually disappointing (and we’re not alone). The name chè bưởi promises so much more than is actually delivered – the laborious process to produce palatable pomelo pith plunders away all of that lovely floral citrus scent. This loss is traditionally compensated for by adding essence of hoa bưởi (pomelo flowers) or hoa cau (areca nut palm flowers), but the results are not the same.

While researching candied peel for our gỏi bưởi / pomelo salad dish, we found a simpler way to process pomelo pith that also preserved its natural scent. The resulting chè bưởi was lovely all by its fragrant self, or further decorated with fresh lilacs:

Chè bưởi topped with coconut milk and lilacs

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May04

Gỏi bưởi (Pomelo salad) like you’ve never had

Gỏi bưởi (pomelo/grapefruit salad) is an unusual dish and is rarely featured on restaurant menus, but the first time we had it, we knew we wanted to do something fun with it. Traditional gỏi bưởi consists of broken pieces of supremed pomelo mixed with boiled shrimp and pork and served with a fish sauce based dressing and the usual Vietnamese salad garnish (rau răm/Vietnamese coriander, crushed roasted peanuts, fried shallots). The salad has a unique combination of the refreshing and clean sweet-tartness and fragrance of pomelo and herbs with savouriness of fish sauce, sweetness of shrimp and richness of pork belly. We wanted to start with that combination all in one bite of pomelo, then experiment with new flavors on top of that base. We had to learn several new techniques and technologies before we got the results below, which we were very happy with:

Gỏi bưởi - Pomelo salad: pomelo, pomelo peel and pith, shrimp roe, rau răm

How is gỏi bưởi possible without pieces of shrimp and pork belly??? Click here to find out