Vietnamese Cinnamon – & Give Away drawing!

vietnamese-cinnamon

If we could put a stick of true Vietnamese cinnamon into the hands of every cook, Chef and epicurean, the food world would be a sweeter, more aromatic place. We’re that obsessively addicted and devoted to this amazing spice. So enamored with it that we brought back a whole suitcase full of it back from Vietnam. Luckily the US customs search dogs were on lunch break, or else we would have been sniffed out and questioned if we really cooked with the wood or smoked it!

Vietnamese cinnamon comes from the bark of the Cinnamomum loureirii cassia tree that is native to the higher, mountainous regions of Central and Northern Vietnam. Regarded by many as the world’s most aromatic cinnamon, this Vietnamese variety has the highest concentration of essential oils of any cinnamon currently found in the world today. Because of the powerful amount of aromatic oils, Vietnamese cinnamon is extremely intense and concentrated with sweet cinnamon flavor. The oil concentration is so high that if you ignite the branch, it will spark!

vietnamese-cinnamon

Unlike other cinnamon, Vietnamese cinnamon is surprisingly sweet and robustly spicy, similar to that of a “red hot” candy. Often times other cinnamon is only subtly sweet, if at all. But true Vietnamese is sweet just like candy. It is highly prized among chefs around the world for the high level of flavor that it brings to both baked, stewed and soup stock dishes. When cooking with it, you use only a very small amount (depending on how fresh it is) to achieve the flavors that you would normally need when using a larger amount of other cinnamon. Leah, from SpicySaltySweet made a beautiful Vietnamese Cinnamon Ice Cream. And Adam & Matt went to town and made Cinnamon Rolls, peanut brittle and extract from this cinnamon.

vietnamese-cinnamon

Yes, it’s true! Fresh bark off the real Vietnamese cinnamon tree is slightly mottled on the outside and  burgundy on the inside and when bitten, tastes  just like CANDY.  My mother (Diane) grew up in Central VietNam (Quang Nam Province), and my Father grew up in Northern VietNam (Hanoi). Both grew up very close to the mountain regions where Viet cinnamon trees grow. As a child, when the cinnamon farmers would bring down their freshly harvested cinnamon down from the mountains, they would eat the fresh, soft, sweet bark like it was candy. The adults would use the fresh cinnamon bark in soup, stocks, stews and desserts.

My mother was so spoiled eating and cooking with the soft, fresh cinnamon bark and now calls anything that is dried as…”No Good!”. Wow, how lucky she was! Unfortunately, anyone living a little further away had to only settle for the “dried” stuff. Still, lucky bums.

Even when the bark is dried, biting into it still gives an intensely, sweet, cinnamon flavor. And yes, it still tastes like a red hot candy!

vietnamese-cinnamon

Real vs. Fake Vietnamese Cinnamon? After visiting with the cinnamon merchants in Central Vietnam and interviewing people who are familiar with Vietnamese cinnamon, we learned some fascinating facts about this amazing spice.

  • The BARK strips: In Vietnam, REAL Vietnamese cinnamon will be sold as long (about 12″-16″) strips of curled bark. The bark is harvested in the summer when the oil content is at it’s highest. As the bark dries, it curls.
  1. Beware!! Because of the high demand of Vietnamese cinnamon, many merchants will “mix” in or “add” in other varieties of inferior cinnamon.
  2. TASTE it for confirmation.  Just take small nibble of the bark (that’s all it takes), chew and mix with your saliva. Let the bark infuse and release it’s oils. You should taste the sweet/spicy/aromatic flavors.
  3. Break it into chunks and infuse to your liquid based dishes or grate cleaned bark on a microplane grater for a powdered form. Start with just a little amount first, because of the high oil content, it can overpower your dishes with cinnamon flavors. But is that a bad thing?
  • The CHIPS (broken bark pieces): Often times, spice vendors will sell it in small chips. But again, from what we’ve been told, cheaters will mix these with bits of other bark.
  1. TASTE it for confirmation.  Again, if the taste isn’t a sweet, intense flavor kind of like a “red hot”, you are getting hosed.  That ain’t the real deal.
  2. Depending on the size of the chips that you buy, they might be too small to grate. If that is the case, then put the broken pieces in a food processor, grinder or microplane. The already broken pieces can be tossed into your soups and sauces.
  • The POWDER: Most times, Vietnamese cinnamon is sold in the powder form. From local merchant rumors in the Quang Nam Province, some companies will “blend” Vietnamese cinnamon with these other varieties of powdered Indonesian cinnamon or just plain wood particles. Because real Viet cinnamon is so aromatic, no one really knows the difference, unless you taste the PURE stuff. Otherwise, if it’s delicious to your liking, then it’s all good.
  1. TASTE it for confirmation: Place a good sized pinch in your palm and lick the powder.  Is it SWEET? Like a RED HOT candy? If it’s not sweet, then you have a blend of other varieties. It’s been grounded down with the a different cassia variety.
  2. Tourist Trap in Viet-Nam: When in Viet-Nam, don’t settle for the powdered stuff so quickly. Since you’re in the homeland of Vietnamese Cinnamon, ask to see the bark or to buy the bark. Pretend like you know exactly what you are talking about, even if you don’t.  If they think you are a serious buyer, they’ll bring out the “good stuff.”  Then take a bite out of it, chew, mix with your saliva and look for the sweetness.

vietnamese-cinnamon

Saigon Cinnamon – It seems like the term “Saigon Cinnamon” is the most popular marketing term for this spice. It’s unfortunate because it is not grown anywhere remotely near Saigon. But spice companies seem to assume that the world would associate a Vietnamese spice with one of it’s largest cities, which might make it more marketable. My elders who live in the Quang Nam Province region are confused as to why Western spice companies call it “Saigon Cinnamon”. Would it be appropriate to label anything that came from France as…”Paris”? Or anything that was made in USA as “New York”, “LA”? This is something to think about but we like to just call it, Vietnamese Cinnamon.

Where to buy Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon, “Saigon Cinnamon”:

  • The Spice House – sells them in three forms: Whole, cracked and powder. But their whole is only about 3″-6″ long.
  • Penzys Spices – calls it Extra Fancy Vietnamese Cassia and is only available in powdered form. Has anyone bought their cinnamon? We’re curious to see if it’s sweet and fragrant at all.
  • Savory Spice Shop – Sells both ground and chips.
  • King Arthur Flour – Only sells the ground form, but they say it best, “…tasting Vietnamese cinnamon next to supermarket cinnamon is like drinking a cup of espresso vs. coffee from a highway vending machine”.  So true!!!

vietnamese-cinnamon

Cinnamon GIVE-AWAY! – We’re going to give away One batch of 3 beautiful, whole bark strips to one lucky winner! You’ll love these BEAUTIFUL pieces of Vietnamese cinnamon bark that are so full of amazing, sweet flavor. Use them in your baking, curries, teas, stocks other dishes for the holidays!

Automatically enter the drawing by leaving your comment. Deadline is Sunday, November 9, 2008 at midnight (Western Time). The winner will be announced on Monday, November 10  by 10pm, Western time. Good luck!

If you want to comment about the cinnamon but don’t want to enter the drawing or already have some, just say so. You won’t be entered. All your comments are so informative and a great exchange of ideas.  Thank you for that participation!

The giveaway has ended. Thank you everyone for participating.


{ 208 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Susan halliday

    Penzey’s Vietnamese Extra fancy cinnamon is so sweet, you don’t need to mix it with sugar for cinnamon toast. It’s perfect on a cappuccino or in tea.

  2. Richardgk

    There is no better cinnamon available. Use this just once in your favorite recipe and you will never use another type again.

  3. rhoward

    where can you buy cinnamon bark? I have an Indian recipe that calls for 2 1-inch pieces but I’m fairly sure I’ve never seen this in the regular grocery store… Thanks!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We get ours from our local Asian grocery stores. For some areas you might need to use regular cinnamon sticks if you can’t find the thicker barks.

  4. Barry
  5. Tyler Ngo

    Aaah! I used to snack on these cinnamon candy barks as a little kid. Grandmas sold them as sweet treats in front of the school gate. So lovely!

  6. tina

    I used to eat Cinnamon when i was a kid and lived in center Vietnam , is called Quangnam Danang. I like to eat them special in the winter; I believe The Cinnamon keep you warm and out of cold.But my family moved to the South of Vietnam when i was ten years old We don’t see Cinnamon any where around town where we live. Recently I move to Canada I tried some powder and bark of the Cinnamon. Sorry, But they taste nothing like what I remember. I still remember the taste of the Cinnamon 30 years ago. Can’t wait to come back my old town and get some to bring home.
    Thanks for the post. That exactly what I used to eat when i was a kid.
    I would say the taste and favor is from 7- 10 times stronger.
    Sorry for my English if I make anyone is confused.

  7. Jackie

    Very exciting!! I am dying to try this Vietnamese cinnamon.

  8. Nicole K.

    :) love to try it

  9. phyllis

    this looks absolutely incredible!

  10. tracylee

    Mmmmmm! Very informative article, and my mind is just racing with what I could do with such wonderful cinnamon!!!!

  11. Sarah

    I’m drooling over that cinnamon!

  12. Ellen

    Hope to try your cinnamon in some Swedish Christmas cookies with cardamom! :-) So glad to hear about the King Arthur Flour source, too- would never have thought of that.

  13. Jill

    Mmmmm Cinnamon! I have been a cinnamon lover since I was about 5years old – and often demanded cinnamon toast for breakfast! Would love to try this vietnamese cinn!

  14. Sze Yen

    I’m curious to know whether this particular variety of cinnamon is available in other parts of Asia? I would presume it is less expensive in Asia, so maybe it’d be a good deal to be able to buy it there.=D It sounds really good though, like how real vanilla beans are so different from the imitation version!

  15. Nia

    I love cinnamon!

  16. Susan

    Ohhh la la , sounds exciting for the taste buds…
    Can’t wait to try it: and oh so grateful for source info!
    Yes, enter me in the drawing!
    Thanks…

  17. Heidi von Tagen

    I am intrigued and inspired! I work days at a Le Cordon Bleu school and the chef instructors and future chef students treat unique spices like gold. I am always interested in something that will elevate my humble but delicious “home” cooking to a new level. The chefs would be so jealous! I would adore making them my apple crumble and homemade Chai using this very special ingredient!

  18. Teresa O'Connor

    I would love to try this cinnamon in my holiday baking, or any other time for that matter! sounds fabulous please include me in the drawing, Thanks!

  19. Gina

    OOH! The heavenly sweet rolls that I could make with that Vietnamese cassia. I can only imagine the bliss…

  20. mandira

    just in time for the holidays! I use cinnamon in a lot of my cooking and actually just posted a fish recipe with cinnamon :) Love your pictures and the description, very informative.

  21. Psychgrad

    Just as I was starting feel proud of my purchase of full cinnamon sticks (rather than the powder), I am learning there is so much I don’t know about the cinnamon world. Very cool. Thanks for the information.

  22. dwschutz

    Beautifully written and photographed piece on cinnamon…best of luck to you in all of your endeavors

  23. allison g

    I have read about this cinnamon before but have never had the chance to taste it – it looks amazing!

  24. Mittany

    Oh! Oh! You had me drooling with the thought of curry with cinnamon – and pork – and Vietnamese Chicken soup.

  25. Lee Anne

    Reminds me of the first time I tried those small, tender, intensely flavored strawberries in France – for the first time, I understood how artificial strawberry flavors remotely resembled the fruit. I’ve always wondered why Red Hots didn’t taste like the natural cinnamon I’m used to…I will definitely have to hunt this down. Thanks for all the info!

  26. Matt P

    So glad to read this article. My VNese wife’s relatives often send packages from VN containing VNese pepper, and it’s so different, so much more fragrant and tasty than ordinary pepper, that it’s nearly amazing. I’ve heard much about the quality of their cinnamon—and this article ample supports this fact—but I’ve yet to try it. I think it would be a great addition to some VNese beef stews that I’ve been experimenting with. Thanks for the great information.

  27. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    I have both cinnamon sticks and a cinnamon bark box from Vietnam — so redolent, so sharp, so delicious. Sometimes I mix it with Chinese cinnamon for a more balanced flavor.

  28. Renee

    I had no idea there was such a difference in cinnamon – although I suppose I logically SHOULD have (especially since I generally use fresh herbs)! Thanks for the fun, informative lesson!! *smile* And thanks, even more, for the tips on where to purchase some great cinnamon, as opposed to the “cheapo” stuff that I’ve generally purchased in bulk. Since I take the time to bake breads and various other goodies with cinnamon, I’d rather use something with the evocative aroma and taste your words brought to my mind (and tastebuds!). Thanks!!

  29. Monika

    Wow, the pictures are beautiful.

    I would love to try some …

  30. tuki

    It sounds totally amazing! I’m a cinnamon addicted so I’m craving for this new discover.. love the shots!

  31. Jude

    Beautiful post.. The burning cinnamon stick alone is amazing :)

  32. Matt

    This would be great in my kitchen!

  33. Marit

    I love Penzey’s Vietnamese cinnamon! It is unlike any other powdered cinnamon I have ever used. I use so much of it that I buy it by the pouch full, not the jar.
    It is especially good in combination with chipotle on roasted almonds, in oatmeal and in my favorite granola recipe. Give it a try – bet you’ll like it.

  34. Annie

    Wow, now you’ve made me curious as to what true Saigon cinnamon tastes like. How can I not enter?

  35. Nate

    Oooh, I can make some really nice pho with that!

  36. Diana

    I’ve used the Penzey’s cinnamon. Nice. But I would love to win the bark!

  37. Stroud

    How could I pass up a chance to win some awesome cinnamon?! I’ve been meaning to get some cinnamon (if only the regular store kind) but these days bills tend to take precedence over….. eating.

  38. Steven

    I had just found out about this type of cinnamon the other day, I didn’t know much about it then so great timing that you posted this!

    I had always wondered where the cinnamon flavor for the red-hot candies came from, I always thought that something was done to the type of cinnamon I usually bought (cheap supermarket) to make it spicy, I didn’t know that other cinnamon is normally like that. Very informative!

  39. Jeremy

    amazing photography. i went to vietnam a few years ago, but i neglected to pick up any spices. hopefully this can make up for it!

  40. Tara

    I love cinnamon! And I love food blogs-Some days it amazes me how much I learn from other people. Which of course shows me how much I still don’t know about food! :) Thanks for the great post. I love learning more about spices and I love even more how it affects my cooking! :)

  41. Rivka

    Count me in for the drawing — I hear this stuff is addictive! Thanks for sharing :)

  42. Shannon

    How lucky would I be if I won this?! What a generous gift. Thanks!

  43. Tom G.

    Such great pictures for such a worthy spice!!

  44. Veena

    I would love to try this cinnamon! (I love the taste of those red hot cinnamon candies…)

  45. Rebecca

    Yes! I just recently heard about this Vietnamese cinnamon for the first time. Haven’t tried it yet but am gathering my recipes. Thanks for the inspiration!

  46. jamie

    i would love to try this cinnamon -i have a high end cookie company and we use cinnamon in many of our recipes. thanks for the information and the giveaway.

  47. ginger

    Sounds lovely :). Thank you for sharing. I am a huge fan of ginger and cinnamon and your post reminded me of when I was younger and I used to suck on the cinnamon sticks my mom would buy. She wasn’t too happy about that, but I sure was :D. I don’t know what kind of cinnamon it was, but pretty sure it wasn’t Vietnamese. To be honest, I didn’t know there were different kinds of cinnamon…but I just remember that the ones we used to have were darker than the ones you have pictured.

    If I were to win your contest, I’d give the sticks to my mom…to pay back for the ones I ate all those years ago heheh. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t really be able to use them even if I wanted to keep them for myself (unless I just sucked on them again), because I’m at school now and all my meals are provided – and I don’t really have access to cooking facilities.

    Sometimes tt’s frustrating not being able to cook for myself, but that’s why I enjoy looking at cooking blogs like yours :D. Then I can dream and drool….

    I especially like your site because food, traveling and gardening are some of my favorite things. Also, coming from a mixed American/Asian family myself, your posts somehow remind me a bit of home :).

    Thank you

  48. sb

    ooh enter me! it looks delicious!

  49. Lucy

    Thanks for the great information on the cinnamon! It sounds fabulous! I just discovered your blog via the LA Times article. I can’t wait to read through the archives and look at your beautiful pictures!

  50. Mother Muffin

    Cinnamon gelato served with some dark (almost black) chocolate gelato and a dollop of panna cotta gelato. What more can I say? Sumptuous!

  51. Valisa

    gorgeous gorgeous blog! And what a great subject to blog about. I just love cinnamon! Or kayu manis (sweet wood) as we call it in Malaysia :-)

  52. Claudia

    I know the exact recipe I would use this in! She just mentioned this type of cinnamon in her blog :-)
    http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/unfussy-apple-cake-recipe.html

  53. Joan

    Thank you for mentioning King Arthur Flour as a source for our wonderful cinnamon. Joan, King Arthur Flour/baker

  54. Jeanne

    Oh wow – I am a huge vanilla fan and know about all those varieties BUT I never knew about all of the different cinnamon! Thank you!

  55. Jenny

    I would love to try that cinnamon as well!

  56. Sefa

    Hi, just drop by from MattBites.
    I wonder how is the taste of this cinnamon. I always bought cinnamon from Asia shop here, and mostly they imported from Thailand or Vietnam. Maybe what I’ve bought is the one you wrote above. I’ve to try to ignite it.
    Thanks for sharing.

  57. madalyn

    I recently found your blog, and have really been enjoying it — especially your photos and stories from Vietnam. (My mother is Vietnamese, and I’ve been there twice.)

    And, I absolutely love Vietnamese cinnamon — please enter me in your drawing! I’m already conjuring up the fantastic flavors I can use it with for all my holiday baking!

  58. corrin

    I would love to win. I work in food marketing and our on staff chef would lose her mind for some real cinnamon.

  59. Jenny Lopez

    Great giveaway and blog entry! Both the Spice House as well as Penzey’s have great viet. cinnamon (it’s good to live in Chicago where there are both). Interestingly enough, both the Spice House and Penzey’s are owned by siblings. I understand there is a strong family rivalry but both maintain a high level of quality for their spices and possibly use similar suppliers.

  60. Sylvia

    Oh yes, enter my name! The cinnamon sounds astounding! I’d love to try it.

    (As a side note: the King Arthur Flour link actually goes to the savoury spice shop.)

  61. Minti

    I would love to try that cinnamon!

  62. Shanin Cressy

    Let’s get it on! I’m ready to dazzle friends and family with it this blessed season.
    Shanin

  63. Susan

    I am crazy about cinnamon and anxious to try Saigon cinnamon, but it’s near impossible to find in Canada. I think I’ll have to order from the States online and suffer exorbitant shipping fees.

  64. Rachel A

    I would love this! I’ve never had fresh cinnamon (for shame!), so I desparately need to try this. Hopefully, I’ll win, but if not, I think I’ll head out to get some! Thanks for such a great blog!

  65. michele

    I have some “Saigon” cinnamon at home that I love, but now I have to go home and actually try some. This would be wonderful to try! Thank you for the information.

  66. Elisabeth Cölfen

    Oh what have you guys done? I LOVE cinnamon!!!
    I need something and I have searched the web all day long, but I cannot find a dealer here in Germany.
    Do you know a dealer in Europe?

    Elisabeth

  67. Anna

    great entry on cinnamon…..makes me want to go chew on some good stuff. please enter me into the contest. thanks so much.

  68. Kayleigh

    That stuff sounds amazing! I would love to be able to try some!! :)

  69. Helen

    Now that it’s fall and holiday time, I’ll be using a lot of cinnamon so this would be great. Thanks for the educational post!

  70. Amanda

    Wow! What a great giveaway find… many thanks to Mattbites for pointing me in this very delicious direction!

    I’ve never had the pleasure of Vietnamese cinnamon–it sounds absolutely wonderful. How intriguing that it would taste sweet like candy. I must, must, must try it.

    When using Vietnamese cinnamon in a recipe vs standard crappy-ole-cinnamon from the dollar bin, would you use a bit less?

  71. Kara

    Oh I could make such amazing cookies from this cinnamon!!!

  72. Jo

    That looks so fabulous!! Love your site by the way!!!

    Jo

  73. Andi

    I absolutely love baking with cinnamon, especially around the holidays. I don’t use it much in savory preparations, but I really enjoy adding it to drinks, especially hot chocolate! I’ve never had the opportunity to experience fresh cinnamon, especially in bark form, and now I’m intrigued and determined to find it.

  74. Tracy

    Cinnamon Rolls with bark cinnamon sounds amazing! And I love the food photography!

  75. morganne

    it would be such a treat to have REAL cinnamon,
    espeically during this beautiful fall season!

  76. Jonathan

    I love the flavor and aroma of cinnamon, but I have found that it can easily over-power a dish. So I generally go easy with it. But here comes a bold and robust cinnamon that demands to be taken on its own terms. I am intrigued. I will definitely try this cinnamon.

  77. alicia

    wow! this sounds amazing. thanks for this chance!

  78. FoodJunkie

    Hello,
    I found your site through MattBites. I love cinnamon! The bark sounds very exciting indeed. I hope I get lucky…We can’t get such strange ingredients in Greece.

  79. Y

    It looks amazing. I don’t think I’ve cooked with Vietnamese cinnamon before.. I’m sure I would’ve known, if I have 😀

  80. grace

    if you read my posts with any regularity, you know that i’m obsessed with cinnamon too. it’s a magical spice.
    thanks for the very informative post, by the way! methinks i’ll hunt some true cinnamon down regardless. :)

  81. Liryo

    I would love to try this type of cinnamon!!!

  82. Manisha

    Yes! Those woody things sold as cinnamon in the US is really poor quality cassia and not true cinnamon! True cinnamon is said to curl only in one direction. There is also Indian cinnamon which is really malabrathum.

    I’d love to try your Vietnamese cassia cinnamon!

  83. Katherine

    I love cinnamon and I actually had no idea that this specific type of cinnamon existed! It’s hard to imagine what the difference must be like if you’ve never actually tried it. It’s quite beautiful too – I love the pictures you’ve posted of it.

    You mentioned it being used in soup stocks, but I’ve never personally used cinnamon in a savory dish. I’m going to have to try and dig up a recipe for it. It sounds so warm and lovely. ^_^

    Great, informative post. :)

  84. ipostale

    love to try these famous barks.

  85. katealtmix

    i am glad you included an image of these beautiful cinnamon sticks on fire because if i ever got my hands on one i couldn’t bare to light it! …but i’d really want to try it…haha! thank you for all of the information, i can’t wait to get cooking!

  86. Chez US

    PICK US PICK US!!! PLEASE!!!! PRETTY PLEASE! 😉

    Oh … you should suck on some to get rid of that tooth ache or at least numb it!!

  87. hong

    Thanks for the informative posts. I wonder if the type of cinnamon here is the same as the one used in pho? ps. I started my garden with four thai basil and some tia to..the basil is doing okay but the tia isn’t doing as well. :(

  88. jen sb

    …mmmmmmm…. I’m drooling a little. sounds delish. bet it would be great in ice cream (and so many other things, but that’s the first one that comes to mind). thanks, too, for the wonderfully informative post.

  89. Zoë François

    What a lovely post. That cinnamon is so gorgeous. I’ve used it before, but I’ve never seen any that color before. Wow!

  90. Anne Boulley

    oooh, I just found your site from Tastespotting and am delighted to read about this spice, the real deal! I’d be willing to part with a jar of my family’s organic raw Michigan wildflower honey for a couple sticks. 😉 Either way, your site is really nice and I am now going to sift through the rest of it!

    Anne

  91. birdseyechili

    I remember seeing a cinnamon tree in Singapore when we were there recently. So interesting to see how it grows! Please enter me in the contest :)

  92. Brooke

    T&D,
    Thanks to your generosity, I already have my pair of sticks–and with just one bite I became a Vietnamese cinnamon addict. The spicy-sweetness of the cinnamon has my mind boggled. I love the flavors so much, I feel like Golum with his ring…I don’t want to loose one precious bite of cinnamon! Soon I’ll have a recipe worthy of the spice…but until then…I’ll just keep nibbling bite after bite of the precious bark.

  93. Alison

    That is so cool that it catches on fire (though I suppose you wouldn’t want to do it very often). I may have to stop by Penzey’s. :)

  94. Shana

    I would love this on rice pudding! Or… the chips mixed into rice pudding.

  95. Mike

    I’m a cinnamon fanatic, using it in practically everything from eggs to desserts! This is totally up my alley.

  96. laurie of liquid paper

    It looks delicious and I’m smitten. Pick me, pick me!

  97. Caroline

    Costco sells a big thing of Saigon cinnamon powder. Haven’t opened it up yet, but I’m curious to see how it is now that I know more. Plus I’m going to Vietnam in Dec so maybe I can find the real deal. Thanks for the informative post, now I know what to look for!

  98. Artemas

    Please enter me into your drawing. I am addicted to cinnamon!

  99. Mia

    Wow, that cinnamon ice cream sounds soooo outrageously yummy. I totally love the cinnamon, lately I’ve been bringing back a childhood favorite for breakfast, cinnamon toast!

  100. Becca Porter

    love, love, love cinnamon

    I just made awesome cinnamon buns from Cook’s Country today. Great post!

  101. jen paddack-hyde

    wow. Really great post about cinnamon. very informative:)

  102. Tiffany

    Wow, this is really interesting. I have just started cooking with ground Vietnamese cinnamon (they sell it at some Whole Foods stores) and the difference is incredible. As you say, you really don’t need to use as much. I can only imagine how much better it must be from the cinnamon bark.

  103. Rami

    Ah, I remember well the taste of the cinnamon from Hoi An at the market. Please, please, let it be me!

  104. amy

    Wow! Thanks for all the information too!

  105. Maria

    I love cinnamon, especially in the fall! It goes so well with pumpkin and apple desserts! Great informative post and fun giveaway. Thanks!

  106. Linda F

    I love cinnamon but have never used the bark. Thanks for all of the information.

  107. toontz

    I know what you mean about never going back. I buy my “Saigon” cinnamon from the Spice House. I dread running out because I refuse to go back to the supermarket cinnamon. It’s just tasteless.

  108. Lindsay

    This cinnamon looks delicious! The idea of making cinnamon ice cream with it sounds fantastic–it’s my favorite flavor of ice cream and I’d love to see how it turns out with this particular type! Thanks so much for the post! Please sign me up for the drawing too!

  109. Phoo-d

    I just bought my second jar of the Penzey’s dried version, and it indeed tastes just like you describe. I bought a small jar to start and have completely ignored my other cinnamon since, buying the 4oz jar this time and throwing out the old regular cinnamon. There’s no going back once you taste the goods…this stuff is the crack cocaine of the baking world! I’m afraid what may happen once I taste the bark….next thing you know I’ll be on a plane headed to the source.

  110. Sandy

    I hope I win! I find it interesting that my mother-in-law (from Hanoi) and my husband (from Saigon) do not like cinnamon. I’ll have to ask if they’ve ever had cinnamon bark.

  111. Ms. McGee

    Yum!! If I don’t win, I’m going to have to go find some to buy ASAP! :)

  112. matt wright

    Having never liked Cinnamon that much before (it gives me a headache pretty quick), I reckon this might clinch the “I LOVE CINNAMON!!” deal for me. This stuff just sounds amazing!!

    Great photos, and great background. What you guys don’t know about Vit. herbs and spices just ain’t worth knowing. I love all the background you give – finding out if it is the real stuff or not. That is dedication!

  113. Deb

    When the medics are saying cinnamon is good for regulating blood sugar, finding one that is extra special is a real bonus. I wonder how this variety would test out medicinally? It sure sounds like it would be easier to eat (up to 1 teaspoon per day) without adding a lot of sugar.

  114. Marilyn @ Simmer Till Done

    What a remarkable – and fragrant – post! Smells so good it’s practically pouring out of my screen. Thanks for all the wonderful info.

  115. Jen (Modern Beet)

    My favorite use for cinnamon is sprinkled on chocolate ice cream — I bet this would be heavenly with vietnamese cinnamon!

  116. stephanie

    Woo hoo! I want to try!

  117. Dawn of Dawn's Recipes

    I’ve never tried King Arthur’s Vietnamese cinnamon straight, but I did buy a bag of their Baker’s Cinnamon Filling which is made with Vietnamese cinnamon. It is amazing stuff! The fragrance of the cinnamon is so strong that, even though I put the closed bag inside a plastic freezer bag, it still makes the entire cabinet smell of cinnamon! It’s so strong, I was afraid any other food items stored nearby would pick up the flavor, especially items like flour, potatoes, teas, etc. So it’s not stored with any other food items. It’s stored in a cabinet with my small appliances.

  118. Danielle

    I just bought a bit of the powdered stuff last week from our co-op here. So good! I am huge fan of cinnamon!

  119. redrhino

    I never win anything. All I’ve ever had is sour grapes. :(

  120. Arianna

    Looks amazing, would go so well with my pumpkin schnapps I made..

  121. Rose

    Oh, I’m so jealous! I’ve wanted to try real Vietnamese cinnamon ever since a friend went in college and told me about it (but unfortunately didn’t bring any back for me). Vietnam is next on my travel list, but I don’t think I’ll be going anytime soon. Thanks for the mouth-watering post!

  122. Beth

    Dudes! This sounds amazing.

  123. Kelli

    Wow, who knew there was so much to know about cinnamon. Thank you for the great information. I absolutely love baking and cooking with cinnamon. I bet the aroma of this is mind blowing.
    Thanks again for the great info.

  124. debra

    I’ve seen this cinnamon offered in Penzey’s catalogs and always wondered what it would taste like. Now I am dying to try some, especially since chilly nights mean more cinnamon in everything! Thanks so much for sharing all this wonderful info.

  125. Judy

    Wow. It would be so incredible to have some of this!!! I can only imagine how wonderful it tastes and smells!!!

  126. Arlene Alexander

    Would love to send my deployed husband some baked goods made with this amazing cinnamon!

  127. Cindy

    What a great post! I’d love to have some to experiment with.

  128. Allen of EOL

    I am so intrigued by this Vietnamese cinnamon and now I’m curious what it would be like to nibble on a bit of it :-) Please sign me up the for the drawing!

  129. Emily

    Sounds fabulous!!!

  130. chanelle

    OOOOOH! count me in!!! you and matt a. got me all worked up with your posts!!!

    WANT.

  131. Matthew Allen

    Hmmmm… I wonder what the difference in amount used for baking will be. 1/4 tsp vs tsp? That kinda thing. Hmmmm…

  132. Erika

    Please enter me! I love reading all of your posts, and would love to try this cinnamon in all kinds of recipes – or even alone! Thanks guys.

  133. Kelly

    You make me want to hop on a plane to Vietnam ASAP!

  134. jana

    intriguing…i’d love some…

  135. Jesse

    Are you two back from Vietnam? When I was 9 years old and still living in Singapore, a relative came back from Vietnam with a bag of cinnamon bark strips. It filled the whole kitchen with its heady sweet scent, and I remember sneaking a strip at a time when no one was looking and then scampering away to suck on it in my bedroom with a good Roald Dahl book in front of me. That was heaven. Of course, when my mom saw that the bag was half empty at the end of the day, she gave me a good spanking (she’d spent hours planning cinnamon-related recipes, oops!). So instead of a weekful of delicious cinnamony meals, we only had enough left for a slow-cooked beef tendon stew (loaded with peanuts and tofu and eggs… mmm), a small bread pudding with cinnamon sauce, and black chicken soup. I think my brother still hasn’t forgiven me to this day. *sniff*

  136. Patricia

    How great this sounds! I have just recently received information on health benefits of cinnamon and honey. I have a resource for local, natural, organic honey. Oh, how I would love to try this cinnamon!

  137. Matriarchy

    I’ve used the Spice House “Saigon Cinnamon” and it was lovely. When I had to pinch pennies later, I discovered that I can no longer use inferior cinnamon without regretting it every time. Maybe Santa will bring me more of the good stuff.

  138. Jennywenny

    Yay, real cinnamon! I’d love to win some, and find out what its erally like. I think I’ve been eating a cruel imposter all this time :(

  139. Laura

    Oh my goodness! So I’m guessing I’ll have to stop buying whatever’s labelled as “Saigon cinnamon” in the supermarket…but I’m looking forward to seeing what the real stuff’s like!

    Learn something every day!

  140. Mimi Wan

    Wow-weee! I love cinnamon especially in my coffee, I had no idea that you could burn it! Please random generator, pick me!!!

  141. Caitlin

    This is fascinating and the cinnamon looks quite amazing!

  142. Jess

    That looks so tempting…

  143. Shari

    Thanks so much for the lesson on cinnamon. I had no idea Vietnamese Cinnamon was so highly regarded, and now I know where I can get my hands on some online. Wish I could fly to Vietnam this weekend and bring back a suitcase myself. Beautiful photos!

  144. Lesliebee

    This sounds incredible! I’d love to be in on your drawing.

  145. marilyn

    I’ll have to find this!

  146. Matilda

    Thanks for opening my eyes (and perhaps even tastebuds) to Vietnamese cinnamon–now I can at least imagine what I’m missing.

  147. Margie

    This looks and sounds amazing. I’m wishing I wish because I can almost take the spicy sweet bark. Yum!

  148. Dragana

    Great timing! I just ran out of Cassia cinnamon. It’s wonderful, but I have never used it in bark form. Thanks for giving me a chance to win – Dragana.

  149. Aimee

    Exciting post! I can’t get enough of fresh cinnamon and this would be most welcome for my holiday baking!!
    Thanks in advance.

  150. Katie

    Wow, this sounds incredible! I just discovered fresh ground cinnamon a few weeks ago when I was making an apple tart and all we had were cinnamon sticks and a coffee grinder on hand. I can’t even imagine how much better this Vietnamese stuff would be. It’s lovely of you to be doing this draw :)

  151. Linda B

    We’ve bought the powdered form from Penzys and I can verify that it is sweet and fragrant. I would love to try it in the bark form!

  152. marilyn

    Oh I would love to try this cinnamon!

  153. Robin

    I’m crazy about cinnamon!! (All my imaginary pets when I was a child were named cinnamon, all my favorite dishes involve cinnamon, and I hoard stashes of cinnamon gum when I visit the US…) And I have never tried this kind, which sounds like heaven on earth. Crossing my fingers for the prize!

  154. Lisa

    Wow how cool of you guys to do this giveaway and inform us in such detail about his terrific spice. I think cinnamon and garlic are my top 2 choices in the spice world. I’ve never seen or smelled this cinnamon, I’d love to though!

    Thanks guys!

  155. maryann

    Oh! I would LOVE some of this! Wonderful post! :)

  156. Reuben Morningchilde

    This sounds just inappropriately delicious. I love cinnamon, and to imagine that there is anything else out there that’s more than the slightly woody powder I can get here is… plain gorgeous. Thanks for the post!

  157. Kitt

    Great post! So informative. Even if I don’t win, I’ll get some from The Spice House. (That’s my first and favorite spice source, in my hometown, so it’s nice to see them mentioned.) I’m totally intrigued now.

  158. Nabeela

    I would love to have some of that fragrant cinnamon to sprinkle on my rice pudding :)

  159. Lyrical Lemongrass

    Hey Diane..can’t seem to get an email to you. Keeps getting rejected by your domain.

  160. Caroline

    I’m so intrigued! Would it be a waste to use this cinnamon in pumpkin recipes? I’ve been hoarding pumpkin recipes for the holidays :)

  161. Kevin Ho

    My girlfriend loves cinnamon and I think she would definitely get a kick out of this!

  162. McAuliflower

    Why oh why have I not found scratch and sniff computer monitors…

  163. Amanda

    Great article! I use Penzey’s ground vietnamese cinnamon and think it is good, but then I haven’t had the fresh bark to compare it to. I think it would be wonderful in chocolate truffles!

  164. Vicki

    This is the 2nd post today I’ve read about Vietnamese cinnamon. I’d love to win some!

  165. Abigail

    holding baby in one arm, typing, and craving cinnamon…bring it on!

  166. RecipeGirl

    Thanks for the cinnamon education. I’ve never realized there was so much difference between varieties. Having my very own cinnamon bark would be dreamy for Christmas baking :)

  167. Mishele

    Mmmmm, I can smell and taste it from your posted description alone. I am sure I have never tried it. Thanks for the lesson, and for the fun giveaway! Fingers crossed!

  168. Marc @ NoRecipes

    This sounds fantastic. Is there any place in the States that sells this? I have a big Costco size pack of powdered “Saigon Cinnamon” which I’m sure is diluted and it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s entirely fake. Would love to try the real stuff.

  169. evil chef mom

    i can imagine all the stuff you could make with this… thank you for such a great and informative post. i love cinnamon but i feel like i’m missing out by having never tried vietnamese cinnamon. do you think my local vietnamese store would have some?

  170. Broderick

    Wow !!! It sounds awesome!! Would love to try it

  171. brooke

    oh, this sounds amazing. i’ve got to get my hands on some sticks somehow!

  172. My

    I would love to make some bake goods with these fresh cinnamon bark!

  173. _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver

    I don’t think I’ve ever had “real” cinnamon. All I’ve had are the “no good” stuff. =) Now I’m really curious to see if BARK really can be sweet like candy!

  174. FoodieInDisguise

    Who can leave a comment and not want to be put in for the drawing? What a wonderful opportunity to use some real cinnamon bark this holiday season!

  175. rachel

    I’d love to try this!

  176. Diana

    I bought the Penzey’s cinnamon because I could smell the difference right there in the store. I have noticed that I only need to use half as much in recipes to achieve the same taste and fragrance, but I haven’t been brave enough to take a direct nibble yet!

  177. Hannah

    Oooh! Sign me up- I want some!

  178. Fran Magbual

    I have friends that got married and lived in Vietnam for a time. They gave me an item that was carved from the cassia wood…at least it smelled like it had been. I can’t imagine how much more fragrant the bark would be.

  179. Sandie

    Consider me entered, I’d love to win! I’ve been using the heck out of cinnamon lately, and I’d love to win some of your whole bark strips. This was a fascinating, informative post!

  180. Daniel Bourque

    Hi. My wife would love this stuff. We just bought a few sticks of top product from our local spice importer and guru, Philippe de Vienne. Their stuff can be bought here: http://www.epicesdecru.com. Since I have some of their fresher cannelle 00000, I would love to be able to do a side-by-side taste test with Aimee, and see the difference. Apple pie, here I come!

  181. sharon

    I cannot imagine eating fresh cinnamon bark! That sounds so amazing, especially since the cinnamon I’m used to is probably so far from fresh…Great informative post!

  182. Alex

    Wow – I had no idea – I look forward to trying some! Beautiful images as well!

  183. TheBon

    I love cinnamon! This is a really educational post!

  184. Karina

    The level of detail in you description made my nose and taste buds tingle. I could literally taste and smell that delicious and inspiring cinnamon.

  185. katie

    I’m a new reader – found you from mattbites – and am now going to be on the hunt for Vietnamese cinnamon. I’d love to win, but I’ll be on the search regardless. Love your photos and am looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  186. veron

    I would love to get my hands on this cinammon barks. Please enter me in the drawing.

  187. Lyrical Lemongrass

    I suppose despite its name, you can still get it in Saigon (HCMC)? This has been very educational, and timely, as I shall be visiting HCMC tomorrow. Can’t wait to see the real deal. :-)

  188. Robyns Online World

    I have just learned more about cinnamon in these few minutes reading this post than I thought I would ever know! My husband and I have really been trying a lot of new ingredients and more “real” and fresh ingredients lately and we are now being able to distinguish real differences that amaze us. We would love to win this and try it in some of our own recipes. Cinnamon is one of my favorite flavors of anything, I think only 2nd to garlic LOL. Thanks for all the great info and the giveaway!

  189. ChrisC.

    wow! This sounds so amazing! (crossing my fingers for the drawing :-)

  190. Kerry

    Learned about your cinnamon giveaway from Matt Armendariz/mattbites — throw my name in the mix! Love me some fresh spices!

    thanks!

  191. joey

    Ooooh! Enter me please!!! :) That cinnamon sounds amazingly good! I’ll keep an eye out here as well…will ask my local spice purveyor, maybe I can convince her to stock up! :)

  192. Leah Pellegrini

    Oh this is so exciting – I would love to win some! Sounds amazing! I found this by reading about it on MattBites

  193. Andrea

    Cinnamon is my favorite spice, even ahead of garlic, and I like it in both sweet and savory preparations. My favorite sweet use is on toast, which is almost embarrassing because it’s so simple. My mother would spread some butter on bread, then sprinkle a little cinnamon and sugar on top, and then toast it in a toaster oven. That was a heavenly breakfast to me. For savory, I like the flavor it adds to curry and Tex Mex chili. I’ve only bought the basic ground cinnamon and sticks that are commonly available in the U.S. and would love a chance to taste that cinnamon. :-)

  194. winlee

    I received my order from Penzeys Spices a couple of days ago in preparation for holiday baking. After reading your post I tasted the powdered Vietnamese cinnamon and it does indeed taste sweet. I had never thought to just taste the powder on it’s own. I used to buy their Chinese cassia but once I tried the Vietnamese there was no going back. The fragrance is intoxicating, deep and strong and well, just so cinnamony. Thanks.

  195. Julia

    I’ve never heard of this distinction, though I can’t wait to try it! I’m going to Vietnam at Christmas and have a cooking lesson scheduled. Can you suggest a recipe I should ask to learn about that involves cinnamon?

    Your description reminds me of the difference between regular vanilla and Tahitian vanilla.

  196. Kate Nolan

    Oh, cinnamon. So delicious in cider and applesauce and bread and brownies. I’m really intrigued with the ice cream though…

  197. Dani

    You always have such interesting articles – a true culinary classroom! Can hardly wait for the cookbook. :) I love cinnamon. I LOVE cinnamon, but didn’t know 3/4 of what you just shared with us. Thank you.

    Dani
    http://twitter.com/blogbooktours

  198. Kate

    Ohhh…this cinnamon sounds so fabulous! I can’t wait to try some! (Win or not… I hope I find it locally too!)

    Thank you for this primer – it’s fabulous! And the photography – as usual – AMAZING.

  199. Martin Kuplens-Ewart

    Holy smokes – someone needs to curate a collection of the finest spices worldwide. I’d love to give this a try (and see what my brother, a chef, can create with it). Thanks for the introduction – here’s hoping I’m the lucky one!

  200. TavoLini

    Wow–I love that it ignites!!

    I wanted to let you know that I tried your Walla Walla Baked Onion, and linked your page to mine. It was delicious!

    Thanks guys :)

  201. Katie

    Yes, please I would very much like some!

  202. Sophia

    Oh god, they look gorgeous! I had no idea there was such a difference!

  203. Manggy

    That sounds very precious indeed! I imagine the main reason they named it Saigon Cinnamon is because of the place’s popularity, but also the fact that it rhymes, heh :) (I imagine if we’d grown a distinct kind of vanilla, people would call it Manila Vanilla. I’d just sigh and accept it :)
    I have no idea if I’ve ever really tasted true cinnamon. I’ll be sure to look for the specialty stores now, thanks!

  204. Tony

    woowza! beautiful pics guys! I’m slightly disappointed though…. only one suitcase?! haha! I’m excited for this giveaway because cinnamon finds its way into everything I make this time of year.

  205. Haley W.

    I have to say, you have me completely intrigued and delighted to try out Vietnamese cinnamon. I’m imagining it totally transforming my hot apple cider recipe from great to ethereal.

  206. maybelles mom (feeding maybelle)

    Really great post. I had to read it twice because there was so much info. Have you tried it with a duck preparations?

  207. Allison Day

    Wow, just in time for the holidays! I can just imagine all the sweets (not to mention hot drinks) that would benefit from Vietnamese cinnamon. I would love to be able to experiment with some! :)

    I really must convince Son to take me to Vietnam one of these days. 😀

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