Remember those mini tubs of creme caramel your Mum would buy you from the supermarket fridges? The ones with the plastic tabs you’d have to break off the bottom so the custard would slide out? You’ll get a flashback to childhood with the Vietnamese version, banh flan. It’s all about that sensation of slowly savouring chilled custard - sitting in a lake of caramel sauce of course - made even colder with a blizzard of chipped ice scattered across the top. Take that, tropical humidity.
At Cafe Nho, they kick things up a notch by adding a crown of red rubies. They’re those addictive nubbins of water chestnut jellies tinted red so they look like giant pomegranate seeds. Or rubies. Put it all together and you’ve got a multi-textured dessert of silky custard, bitter caramel and the refreshing crunch of water chestnuts encased in chewy tapioca jelly.
You’ll find a constant crowd of families, teens and couples at this Bankstown cafe, spilling across the footpath out the front or hidden in the booths at the back. Everyone has a drink or dessert in front of them. The constant whir of blenders doesn’t faze anyone.
Here you can design your own fruit juice, smoothie or frappe from a rainbow of tropical choices. We’re talking dragon fruit, soursop, jackfruit and, you guessed it, durian. And even though you keep forgetting that avocado is a fruit, the folks here haven’t. If you can’t make up your mind, pick a preset combo from the menu, like mango, coconut and whipped cream or watermelon, lychee and strawberry.
Otherwise the dessert menu revolves mostly around shaved iced concoctions. The shaved ice with candied pomelo rind and snow fungus will cool you right down, or get that ice blitzed up with smashed durian. They’re not stingy with the durian either. The crowd favourite is probably the homemade jelly combination, a parfait glass filled with grass jelly, basil seeds, red rubies, shaved ice and coconut milk.
Looking for a turbo-charged pick-me-up? Get the Vietnamese coffee. It’s super strong and just as sweet. Most locals have it with condensed milk and poured over ice but you can pull out all the stops and get it blended with Oreos, Tim Tams, Bounty or Snickers.