While food courts rarely offer surprises, there are exceptions, including one located in a supermarket food court in Rosemead. A display case filled with a colorful array of rainbow-hued desserts and beverages awaits you at Hien Khanh, the SGV branch of one of Little Saigon's leading sweets purveyors. The vivid, almost neon colors can provide a guide to flavors, particularly with the sticky rice desserts: green for pandan, orange for a spiky, southeast Asian fruit known as gac in Vietnam, and yellow for the infamous durian fruit, known as much for its stench as it is for its rich, custardlike texture. Desserts made from glutinous rice flour and using coconut and coconut milk feature prominently, as do tapioca, cassava, mochi and sesame balls. Che, Vietnamese dessert beverages, come with a variety of add-ins based on drink size. Sweetened beans are a popular item, with che bau mau — literally, three-color dessert — a real favorite.
Credit: Danny Liao