Ground Vietnamese Cinnamon
Vietnamese Cinnamon is classified as Cinnamomum loureiroi, or “cinnamon from laurels”. It is also known as Saigon cinnamon, Vietnam cinnamon, or ground Saigon cinnamon. It is also available as Whole Vietnamese Cinnamon Sticks.
Vietnamese Cinnamon contains a high concentration of essential oils, typically measuring around 4% to 6%, which is higher than the other varieties of cinnamon. This gives Vietnamese Cinnamon the strongest cinnamon flavor of the four cinnamon varieties.
What Is Ground Vietnamese Cinnamon
Ground Vietnamese Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of a specific species of laurel, an evergreen tree, indigenous to the mountainous slopes of Vietnam. It’s usually taken from the lower portion of these trees with the most recent growth, and then cut and left to dry into the familiar, curled quills. The dried cinnamon is either left in quills or further processed into a dried powder.
Vietnamese Cinnamon has a higher volatile oil content, and also a higher coumarin content, than other types of cinnamon. These combine to make this a more pungent product than the other three types of cinnamon.
This spicy and sweet cinnamon is our top-selling variety. Among cinnamon aficionados it’s considered to be the finest cinnamon in the world. It makes its mark in curries, soups, baked goods, and vegetable dishes.
The History of Cinnamon
Cinnamomum loureiroi is the species of cinnamon that is commonly considered to be native to Vietnam. It was given the botanical name, C. loureiroi, in honor of the Portuguese Jesuit missionary and botanist, João de Loureiro. In 1742, de Loureiro was sent to Cochinchina, currently a region of southern Vietnam and eastern Cambodia. He lived and studied botany in Cochinchina for 36 years.
The main provinces for cassia farming in Vietnam are Yên Bái and Thanh Hóa in the north, and Quảng Nam in central Vietnam. The Yên Bái province in the northern highlands produces the most cassia in the country.
Yên Bái cassia was offered to Chinese rulers who held northern Vietnam in a tributary relationship during the feudal years, which lasted from the 9th to the 15th centuries. When the French Colonial Period began in 1887, cassia was grown in Annam, Cochinchina and Tonkin; this was much of the modern-day country of Vietnam, then called French Indochina. Cassia was globally exported through the port of Saigon.
Thanks to its pungent aroma and pronounced flavor, spice retailers praise Vietnamese cassia as the best in the world. The International Standards Organization (ISO), a multinational, volunteer organization that determines global standards for everything from machinery to agriculture, believes that Vietnamese cassia, or C. loureiroi, exists as a separate Vietnamese-sourced cassia species, and that this species of cinnamon tree is uncommon even within its native country. In the study Field Survey of Cinnamon in Vietnam (2004), differences were found in oil content and taste of cassia between trees grown throughout Vietnam. The authors of this study argue that some of these trees could be different species. Some cinnamon trees in Vietnam belong to C. loureiroi while others are Cinnamomum cassia, or Chinese cassia.
During the Vietnam war, exports of Saigon cinnamon halted in the 1960s. It wasn't until 1994 that the trade embargo placed on this cinnamon was lifted, and exports started up again. Over the last few years, the popularity of Vietnamese cinnamon has been on the rise in the United States.
Cultivation of Vietnamese Cinnamon
Vietnamese Cinnamon is indigenous to Vietnam and comes from the inner bark of an evergreen cassia tree. Most Vietnamese cinnamon is cultivated from seedlings and grown on small farms, thanks to a hearty and carefully maintained process of replanting.
Trees take 5-7 years to reach maturity. The highest quality cinnamon comes from the bark of trees that are at least 15 years old but begins to decline in quality in trees that are over 25. Cinnamon trees prefer soil that drains well, and thrives in full sun or partial shade. They don’t like cold weather and thrive in temperatures that range between 65-85°F. They like an average rainfall of 98-115 inches, though they can survive with as little rain as 60 inches, preferably in a damp environment. The seeds can take anywhere from 1-6 months to germinate at an average temperature of 68°F, and should be planted in their permanent places when they are about 4 inches tall. Cinnamon trees do best in soil that is acidic; a pH of 4.5 to 5.5 is ideal to produce the best cinnamon.
To harvest cinnamon, farmers cut down trees and remove the inner bark from both the trunk and the branches of the tree. Then the outer bark is stripped away from the inner bark. The highest quality cinnamon is that which is gathered from the part of the trunk that is closest to the ground. Traveling up the height of the tree, the quality of the bark decreases as the bark grows thinner the higher up you go from the base. Branches provide the lowest quality cinnamon on the tree.
The inner bark is usually cut into three-inch pieces, and dried. While drying in the sun over the course of several days, the bark will naturally curl up into quills. Once dried, separated and sorted for quality, the quills are packaged for export.
Where Is Our Vietnamese Cinnamon From
What Does Vietnamese Cinnamon Taste Like
You smell cinnamon long before you taste it. It is a profoundly aromatic spice, with its perfume that rises up like a kindly, woodsy embrace. There’s almost a hint of the smell of tart apples rising up off the top notes of this spice. It tastes spicy, with a woodsy flavor that’s a bit peppery and sweet. There’s a touch of pine and citrus that come in at the finish, but no bitterness at all.
What Is the Different Between Vietnamese Cinnamon and Cinnamon
There are four kinds of cinnamon; three Cassia varieties and one Ceylon. Vietnamese Cinnamon is a Cassia cinnamon, so it’s got a thicker bark than Ceylon Cinnamon. The thin Ceylon bark curls much more tightly as it dries and crumbles easily into powder, while Vietnamese Cinnamon requires the help of grinding implements to break down the bark. Ceylon Cinnamon has a more delicate flavor, often described as floral, with hints of orange.
Because of its high volatile oil content, Vietnamese Cinnamon has a more peppery, pungent flavor than the other two Cassia varieties. Korintje Cinnamon is the sort of cinnamon that’s commonly sold in stores as a baking spice. It’s the most readily available cinnamon on the market, and has the softest, baking-friendly flavor. Chinese Cinnamon is, like Vietnamese Cinnamon, more of a specialty product. It walks the middle ground between Korintje and Vietnamese—it’s a bit too pungent to use for all baking applications like one does with Korintje, but it’s not as assertively flavored as Vietnamese and doesn’t go quite as well in savory applications like pho broth or in seasoning rubs.
How Do You Use Vietnamese Cinnamon?
Use 1/2 teaspoon of Vietnamese Cinnamon to flavor our favorite Vietnamese soup, Chicken Pho. Or find it in bun bo hue, a traditional Vietnamese braised beef noodle bowl. Enjoy a sweet and pungent Chicken Satay accented with Vietnamese Cinnamon, or stir into Apple Cider Sweet Potatoes for a sweet and savory taste of autumn. Stir into the spice blend for Butter Chicken. Rub on a pork loin and roast, then slice for Banh Mi Sandwiches. Blend into cookie doughs and marshmallow batters. As for vegetables, you can dust carrots, onions, and spinach with cinnamon for an unexpectedly pleasant flavor combination. It pairs wonderfully with other spices, like Turmeric, Ginger, or Cardamom. It sweetens the punchy heat of Black Pepper and brings out earthy and fruity qualities in a wide variety of chile peppers—particularly Ancho or Chipotle Morita Peppers.
Vietnamese Cinnamon Substitutions
If you are in a pinch and don't have any cinnamon on hand, Allspice or Nutmeg with a pinch of Clove are good replacements. You can use either Ground Nutmeg or Ground Allspice in a 1:1 ratio when replacing Cinnamon.
|Ingredients||Vietnamese Ground Cinnamon|
|Also Called||Saigon Cinnamon, Vietnam cinnamon, or ground Saigon cinnamon.|
|Recommended Uses||Use in soups, grilling rubs, baking|
|Flavor Profile||Woodsy, peppery, and sweet, with no bitterness|
|Botanical Name||Cinnamomum loureiroi|
|Oil Content||4% - 6%|
|Cuisine||Vietnamese, American, Global, Asian|
|How To Store||Airtight container in a cool, dark place|
|Shelf Life||6-12 months.|
|Country of Origin||Vietnam|
|Dietary Preferences||Gluten Free, Non-GMO|
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Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*