After hot and humid Saigon, Mitch and I were ready to head to the hills of Dalat, a hill-station town created by the French during their colonial rule as an escape from the heat humidity of Saigon. It’s also a hot spot for Vietnamese honeymooners and family vacationers.
We didn’t spend too much time in Dalat, but with what time we did have, we enjoyed. One day, we rented a motorbike and drove ourselves to Elephant Falls. The second day, we headed to the hills to check out the surrounding views.
Making Connections Around the World!
Something interesting and special did happen while in Dalat. Mitch and I wanted to visit a local dessert cafe, Che He, that was once run by our close family friend’s mother. I asked a few people if they’d heard of it, but no one had and I sort of gave up trying. On our last night in town, our homestay host, Binh, kindly took us out to dinner. We had our first xoi (sticky rice with chicken, sausage, onions, etc.), and it was fantastic! Growing up, xoi was one of my favorite dishes. My grandma would make it and package it in ziplock bags for us when we went camping.
After our lovely dinner with Binh, he told us he wanted to show us a really popular, locals-only dessert spot, and we started walking there. On the way, I casually mentioned that I had tried looking for Che He but to no avail. Binh actually stopped in his tracks, “That’s where I’m taking you!” What a coincidence!
Che He means Closed Door Cafe because the sliding metal doors are halfway closed, making it look unopened for business, but it was anything but! It was filled with locals enjoying classic Vietnamese desserts. On terrible internet connection, I managed to pull up a photo of my Aunt Trang (in Vietnamese, we call all close family ‘aunt’ or ‘uncle’) and her mother. We asked the lady serving desserts if she knew them, and she was so shocked! Aunt Trang’s mother was her grandmother. She instructed me in Vietnamese, “Tell Co Trang to come back to Dalat! We haven’t seen her in a long time!”
It was very special to make a connection like this across the world and a perfect way to end our stay in Dalat.