Some time ago when I was complaining about the hokey, vaguely Vietnamese food at Trader Joe’s, there was a comment on this site or Twitter about a sesame crepe that TJ used to carry. I remembered that they had cashew and rice wafer candies from Vietnam (same price as what the Vietnamese markets carried), but didn’t recall the sesame crepes. On Trackingtraderjoes.com the sesame crepes were discontinued around 2006.
A few weeks ago, in the “New Items” section of my Santa Cruz Trader Joe’s, I spied a package with a woman wearing a conical hat. The product was “Sesame Crepes” but there was nothing upfront that advertised the chewy, nutty sweet as being Vietnamese. Turn over the package and the description says: “This sweet and chewy snack is a traditional favorite in Vietnam…” Moreover, the packaging says that sesame crepes are actually from Vietnam! Trader Joe’s doesn’t divulge any other cultural information about the candy, but most likely they’re the same as keo me xung, a common candy and specialty of Hue.
Was it worth bringing the crepes back? I resoundingly say, “Yes!!! Thanks Trader Joe’s!” The sesame crepes make a nice snack and dessert. However, I don’t know why they are considered a crepe. In the Vietnamese repertoire, this stuff is more like a confection (e.g., candy). There are numerous kinds of sesame candies and their shape and texture vary between little chunks and flat rounds, to crunchy to chewy and soft. This is like a fruit roll up that features buttery toasted sesame seeds.
Semantics aside, I’m glad that Trader Joe’s had brought this little Vietnamese ditty back. If TJ ever discontinues the item again, you can try Asianwok.com and Luscherb.com. I know little about these e-tailers but they do have Vietnamese sesame candy at their sites.
Have you eaten this Vietnamese candy? What are your thoughts? Are you able to buy the cashew and rice wafer candy at your local Trader Joe’s? Those are seriously tasty too.