Chè bà ba is a Vietnamese dessert with a coconut milk soup base and square pieces of taro, cassava and khoai lang bí, a kind of long sweet potato with red skin and yellow flesh. The dish commonly includes pieces of tapioca, and the dish is typically eaten warm, but can also be eaten cold.
The dish has many possible origins. It is possible that the dish was first made by a person whose nickname was "Third", which the name of the dish would translate to "Ms. Third's sweet soup". However, it is also possible that the name is only symbolic; in Vietnam, customers typically call women who sell chè by their position in their families: i.e., "Ms. Third", "Ms. Fourth", "Ms. Fifth", etc. One legend states that the dessert was sold at Bình Tây Market (in District 6, City Ho Chi Minh City ) by around half of the century, and that it was originally made with coconut milk, green bean, sweet potato, cassava, and other ingredients such as jujube and lotus seeds that totaled 9 to 10 ingredients in the dish.
According to another narrative, the dish is the third popular dish made by an old lady.
Bà ba also translates to a certain causal type of clothing worn in Vietnam. Another possibility for the dessert's origins is that the name means "Bà ba-wearing sellers' sweet soup".
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