Some of the terrifying offerings from Chewy Junior
Vietnam has plenty of healthy desserts and fresh tropical fruits.
But no one will ever make a million dollars selling them; they tend to sate the eater like only good food can.
Thankfully, two terrible Asian dessert franchises have come to town to destroy us all.
Chewy Junior moved into Pham Ngu Lao in 2009 and has since spawned 10 other stores all over the city. For those of you not familiar with the Indonesian creampuff conglomerate, rest assured that you are not missing much.
Imagine a crusty, PappaRoti-like puff injected with a pseudo-dairy filling that holds up to equatorial heat. Then imagine heaping said puff with all sorts of dissonant toppings like chicken floss, blueberry jam and grated cheese.
If you are a normal person, this all sounds terrible. If you sort of hate yourself, you have probably already stopped reading and are on your way to get a box.
People like us cannot resist things like Chewy Junior. We are doomed to remain the sad old men to their all-night liquor stores.
After several months of patronizing the big orange shop on Tran Hung Dao, I began to notice that the store appeared to be degrading along with the structural integrity of my body.
The staff, too, seemed worn out—broken, perhaps, by the drudgery of operating the industrial cream injector. Whatever the cause of their torpor, they’d stopped cleaning up, and the whole place took on the feel of a donut shop in an American ghetto.The industrial cream injector at Chewy Junior has broken more men than war
Around this time, Chewy Junior sparked a national debate by releasing a surreal five-minute fever dream set on a beachfront boardwalk. In the commercial, an ostensibly straight man is inspired to lick a smidgen of Chewy Junior cream from another man’s mouth and then decides that he likes it (the faux cream and homosexuality) so much that he abandons his girlfriend.
Government regulators condemned the Internet ad, which they conceded they were powerless to censor.
Nothing could stop Chewy Junior, it seemed. Until Mochi Sweets opened a store on the same block.
The Japanese franchise looks like a Chewy Junior shop that has traveled 400 years into the future and returned to destroy mankind in a more precise and efficient manner—like Terminator 2.
A wisp of cool, perfumed air smacks you in the face when you walk through the sliding glass doors and find yourself looking over a display case filled with a rainbow of vinyl sampurus.
When you order an individual mochi sweet, it is extracted from a refrigerated drawer and handed to you in a paper sleeve.
The rear of the shop has four low wooden tables, which Mochi custom requires you to sit at with your shoes off.
Daifuku (traditional balls of sweet filling housed in a gooey skin of rice dough) have been improved upon endlessly over the years.
As a kid in Los Angeles, I frequently lobbied to sleep over at my Japanese-American friend’s house due, largely, to the endless supply of Mochi Ice Cream his family kept in their freezer.
But Mochi Sweets (a subsidiary of DL Sweets Co. Ltd.) has taken the traditional daifuku and injected it with some godless improvement on Chewy Junior’s faux cream filling.
If what you’ve just read seems confusing to you, then please enjoy the following from their website:
“Aiming to give the traditional a new twist, and to spear the happiness all year round, Mochi Sweets now brings to you the best selection of Mochi. Mochi is a frozen Mochi delight with different flavored ‘Cream’ inside.”
They have speared me alright—right in the man tits.
For god’s sake, they have red bean mochi and green tea mochi. They have two kinds of high-end chocolate mochi and blueberry mochi (which contains real blueberries).
Last Friday, I made three unsuccessful attempts to walk out of Mochi Sweets.
Every time I made it through the door, I took my shoes off again, and walked back to the counter in my socks for another glob of creamy gourmet crap.
But that may not have been the lowest moment. That Sunday, I got up, ate an entire box for breakfast and then went back to sleep.
It has begun. The beginning of the end.
34 Tran Hung Dao St., District 1
Tel: (08) 3 505 8053
Mochi Sweets Boutique
24 Tran Hung Dao St., District 1
Tel: (08) 6 2720 524
By Calvin Godfrey (The story can be found in the November 9th issue of our print edition, Vietweek)