Chè Thái Recipe (Vietnamese Fruit Cocktail)

A spoonful of sweet lychee bites, jackfruit slices, chewy jellies, and ice cold coconut milk, sounds refreshing doesn’t it? Chè Thái is more than just a sweet soup or fruit cocktail, it’s a dessert that packs in a lot of flavor in just one bite.

Luckily, this dessert is super simple to make because the use of canned tropical fruit makes it readily available and you can customize it based on the different fruits you prefer.

two glasses of che Thai

This dessert doesn’t have shaved ice, but its mix of ingredients often reminds me of chè ba màu, or halo-halo.

Chè Thái is a Vietnamese version of a similar Thai dessert named “Tub Tim Krop,” a dish that is a combination of water chestnuts and coconut milk. The water chestnuts are coated in red food coloring, covered in tapioca starch, and boiled, which gives the chestnuts a shiny crimson shade that resembles its nickname as “red rubies.”

The red rubies

stages of red ruby making

Chè Thái takes on this base of “red rubies” and coconut milk and adds even more delicious fruits and jellies. I like to add canned longans, lychees, jackfruit, ai-yu jelly, and toddy palms. The great part about this dessert is that you have the option to use other types of fruit or items, like coconut, grass jelly, or tapioca balls.

cooked red rubies above an ice bath

To make make the “red rubies,” you only need about half of the canned water chestnuts. Cut the water chestnuts into ¼ inch pieces, mix with red food coloring, and coat with tapioca starch. Now boil the water chestnuts in batches and remove when they begin to float.

Immediately put them in an iced water bath. The longer you keep them in the water, the chewier they will be, so I like to keep them in for at least 10 minutes.

The fruit

fruits and ingrediets for the che

For the canned fruit, be sure to save the syrup inside one of the cans because you will use this as a sweetener later. (Using only one can of syrup helps emphasize the sweetness without muddling the taste.) Cut all the fruit into bite sized pieces and put them into a large punch bowl along with the “red rubies.”

The coconut

glass of che Thai with coconut

To finish this fruit cocktail, I use coconut milk and add the juice and meat of one coconut for extra flavor into the punch bowl. (If you don’t have this on hand, you can also use half and half or heavy whipping cream.) Since I like extra sweetener in my chè Thái, I also add some of the leftover syrup from the canned fruit.

closeup che Thai view

You can chill the chè Thái by adding ice, but I like to make this ahead of time and place it in the refrigerator for one or two hours so that the ice doesn’t water down the flavor. I like to serve this for parties since you can share with so many people!

What is Vietnamese Chè?

Chè in Vietnamese describes sweet desserts that come in liquid forms, like drinks, pudding, or even types of ‘soup.’

Che Thai Pinterest Image
glass of che Thai with coconut

Chè Thái Recipe (Vietnamese Fruit Cocktail)

5 from 21 votes
Chè Thái is a delicious sweet soup that is as easy to make as it is to eat.
BY: Huy Vu
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Cool in the fridge: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 30 minutes


"Red Rubies"

  • (1) 20 oz can whole water chestnut you only need half
  • red food coloring
  • 1 c tapioca starch
  • water
  • ice

Chè Thái

  • (1) 20 oz can jackfruit
  • (1) 20 oz can lychee
  • (1) 20 oz can longan
  • (1) 19 oz can ai-yu jelly
  • (1) 20 oz can toddy palm seeds
  • 1 coconut you will need the juice & meat
  • (1) 13.5 oz can coconut milk


"Red Rubies"

  • Open the water chestnut can and drain. You will only need about half of the water chestnuts.
  • Cut the water chestnuts into small pieces about ¼ inch and place them in a large bowl (the coating of the tapioca starch will make them bigger).
  • Add a few drops of red food coloring to the small pieces and mix thoroughly. Make sure there isn’t extra water or food coloring in the bowl because this will make the tapioca starch extra gummy.
  • Add one cup of tapioca starch to the bowl and cover all the water chestnuts evenly. To remove extra starch, place the water chestnuts in a colander and sift. You want to prevent extra starch from going into the boiling water because it will make the water gummy, too.
  • Boil a pot with about two inches of water over medium-high heat. In small batches, add the covered water chestnuts and stir to prevent them from sticking. When the chestnut float to the top, remove them from the boiling water and put them in an ice water bath and stir again to keep from sticking.
  • Keep them in the bath for at least 10 minutes.


  • Open all the canned fruit, save the syrup from one can in a separate container. I like lychee the best, so I save this syrup. We found that if you mix the syrup from all the cans, the taste can get quite muddled.
  • Cut jackfruit into slices, cut lychee into large slices, and cut toddy palm into thin slices. Keep the longan in its original shape since these come fairly small. Combine all fruit into a large container.
  • Open coconut and set aside juice, carve out slices of coconut meat.
  • In another container, combine coconut milk and coconut juice. Slowly start to add the juice syrup to sweeten the milk, you want to begin by adding ½ a cup at a time. Adjust to your taste. Add the sweetened coconut milk, juice, and meat into the large container with the fruit and stir.
  • I prefer fridging the chè Thái for a couple of hours before serving so it’s nice and cold, but you can also add crushed ice if you want to serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
Chè Thái Recipe (Vietnamese Fruit Cocktail)
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: Dessert, Fruit Cocktail, Vietnamese Cuisine
Did you cook this recipe?Tag @HungryHuy or #hungryhuy–I’d love to see it!

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10 comments on “Chè Thái Recipe (Vietnamese Fruit Cocktail)

  1. Hang says:

    5 stars
    You went next level with the coconut meat and juice from a real coconut! I hear a lot of peeps put in fresh durian to make it even more special and bring it up a notch. LOL!

    1. Huy says:

      Haha yeah fresh coconut is great, I like to have that just by itself sometimes. But yeah durian… the polarizing Asian fruit, wasn’t feeling it on this one 🙂

  2. Cara says:

    Hi, can I use potato starch or cornstarch if I don’t have tapioca starch on hand? This is for the “red rubies”

    1. Hungry Huy says:

      Hey Cara, I haven’t tested this and am unsure how it would turn out, sorry!

  3. Stephanie says:

    Hi! I can’t find the ai-you jellies where I live, do you think grass jelly would work in this recipe?

    1. Hungry Huy says:

      Yup this che is really open to however you’d like to modify it!

  4. Tam says:

    Dear Huy,
    Thanks for your guidance. I made this yesterday sans Ruby seeds, and it turned out well. I tried both coconut milk, and then did half n’ half in a different glass. Both were refreshing in their own ways. Thanks again!

    1. Hungry Huy says:

      Thanks for sharing, and for the tips Tam!

  5. Christina says:

    5 stars
    Loved the recipe. Made two huge pots for a bbq.
    The cutting took so long! Can I pre cut and leave without syrup over night in the fridge?

    1. Huy @ Hungry Huy says:

      Yup you can pre-cut all the ingredients in this recipe!

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