The most popular, go-to brand of cheese in Vietnam is Laughing Cow. You see it for sale at markets. It’s often found as part of a banh mi cart offering. If you want cheese on your sandwich, the vendor will likely suggest Laughing Cow – a processed cheese that originated in France in 1865. The cheese keeps well at room temperature and obviously, in Vietnam's tropical humidity too. It is charmingly shaped in a wedge like something a mouse would adore. Each portion is covered in foil with a tiny red tag for you to pull and reveal the spreadable white wedge inside. It’s kind of fun to open one up.
I grew up with La Vache Qui Rit (Laughing Cow in French) and when we came to America, it was the cheese we looked for until we realized that there were many other kinds of cheese to try here. That said, we still bought Laughing Cow, and recently I’ve been purchasing it from Costco and Trader Joe’s. The low-fat Swiss version is commonly found at grocery stores; we came across the slightly creamier full-fat version at a Chinese market last week. Seriously. Asians want full fat Laughing Cow, which registers at 50 calories per wedge; the low-fat one has 35 calories per wedge.
What do I do with Laughing Cow cheese? My husband Rory and I mostly snack on it with rice crackers. But in the past couple of months, I started cooking with it.