Vietnamese Cinnamon Sticks

Vietnamese Cinnamon Sticks
Vietnamese Cinnamon Sticks
SKU
101190 003
$6.22
Net Weight:
1 oz
Select Size:

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Vietnamese Cinnamon Sticks are strips of rolled bark from the Cinnamomum loureiroi tree, a type of evergreen laurel that’s native to the mountainous regions of Vietnam. It is also called Saigon cinnamon, Saigon cassia or Vietnamese cassia. It is also available as Ground Vietnamese Cinnamon.

The sticks are called “quills”, and Vietnamese Cinnamon are cut into quills that are about 4 inches long. With an essential oil content between 4-6%, Vietnamese Cinnamon has the highest concentration of essential oils of all the varieties of cinnamon. Hence, Vietnamese Cinnamon is the most aggressively flavored cinnamon on the market.
 

What Are Vietnamese Cinnamon Sticks

Thick and woody Vietnamese Cinnamon Sticks are strips of the interior bark from the Cinnamomum loureiroi tree. This bushy evergreen is found in the mountainous regions of Vietnam and produces a spicy-sweet variety of cinnamon. With its high volatile oil content and pronounced flavor, Vietnamese Cinnamon is widely considered to be the best variety of cinnamon in the world.

Cinnamon is harvested by pulling the bark from mature trees and separating the outer bark from the fragrant inner layer. The inner layer is cut to size and left to dry, naturally curling onto itself into “quills” during drying. Whole quills are either left intact or further processed into ground powder. Whole Vietnamese Cinnamon Sticks can be used to season soups and stews, or mulled into wine, or slow-cooked with roasts or tagines.
 

History of Vietnamese Cinnamon

Vietnamese Cinnamon, or Cinnamomum loureiroi, is the variety of cinnamon tree endemic to Vietnam. It was given its botanical name in honor of João de Loureiro, a Jesuit missionary and botanist sent to Vietnam in 1742. He lived in Cochinchina, a region that’s now part of southern Vietnam and eastern Cambodia, for more than 30 years, and was one of the world’s foremost authorities on Asian plant life.

Cassia agriculture is strong in Vietnam’s northern provinces of Yên Bái and Thanh Hóa, and the central province of Quảng Nam. Yên Bái leads Vietnam in cassia production, with about 100,000 hectares, or 247,000 acres, or land dedicated to cassia production. During the feudal times of the 9th-15th centuries, cinnamon from Yên Bái was delivered in tribute to China’s emperors, to show respect and to maintain friendly relations. The thousand years of dynastic tribute ended in the 19th century when Vietnam was ceded to the French, and the French Colonial period began. The French were happy to take advantage of “French Indochina” and the established spice trade. Cassia from Annam, Cochinchina and Tonkin—which is most of the current country of Vietnam—was globally exported through the port of Saigon.

The elevated measure of volatile oil found in Vietnamese Cinnamon gives it a bold, “cinnamon-y” aroma and strong flavor. The International Standards Organization (ISO), a volunteer group that assesses products around the world to rank them according to standards of successful production, safety, and well-being for consumers, has declared that Vietnamese Cinnamon is the best cassia in the world. A study completed in 2004 indicates that it’s also, likely, the rarest cinnamon in the world. Field Survey of Cinnamon in Vietnam claim that there are differences between some of the trees found in Vietnam. Other trees in that region may be Cinnamomum cassia, or Chinese cassia, that’s made its way over the border because of natural propagation.

Saigon Cinnamon was part of a trade embargo in the US during the 1960s, in the midst of the Vietnam War. This embargo remained in place until 1994; after that, Vietnamese Cinnamon began making its way back into American pantries. In recent years, Vietnamese Cinnamon’s reliably spicy-sweet flavor has gained popularity in the US, increasingly making its way into home and commercial kitchens.
 

Cultivation of Vietnamese Cinnamon

Vietnamese Cinnamon trees are part of a vast agricultural network with a well-established system for planting and farm maintenance. They start as seedlings, taking 1-6 months to germinate in a warm environment, and are planted in the ground when they reach approximated 4 inches in height. They are planted in soil that’s sandy or loamy, with good drainage, and in full sun or some shade. The soil should be slightly acidic, with a pH of 4.5-5.5.

The trees do best in warm, humid weather—they like an average temperature range of 65-85°F and an annual rainfall of 98-115 inches. They can take up to 7 years to reach full maturity, though the best cinnamon comes from trees that are between 15-25 years old. After 25, the quality of the cinnamon declines as the bark starts getting too thick.

When it’s time to harvest, farmers strip the trees of both outer and inner bark. The part of the bark close to the roots, and thus close to the absorption points for minerals and water, produces the best cinnamon on the tree. The inner layer of bark is separated from the outer layer, and then cut into saleable portions and left to dry into the curled quills we see in stores. After that, they’re sorted by quality and then ground to powder or sold whole.

Where Are Our Whole Vietnamese Cinnamon Sticks From

Vietnam.

What Do Vietnamese Cinnamon Sticks Taste Like?

The smell of cinnamon is the smell of nostalgia, and Vietnamese Cinnamon is no exception. It offers its aroma, peppery toffee with a touch of fruit, like it’s giving you a big, fragrant hug. Whole Vietnamese Cinnamon Sticks are woodsy and strong with a little bit of surprising heat tucked in their quills. Citrus, pine, and maple flavors mingle through the cinnamon, without any trace of bitterness.
 

What is Better – Cinnamon Sticks or Ground Cinnamon

When you’re trying to choose which cinnamon to buy, you should bear in mind that spices are tools, and you want the best tool for the job. You’ll most likely want to choose whole cinnamon sticks when you’re looking to steep cinnamon in a liquid, like when you’re making spiced cider or seasoning a spicy stew. They can be easily removed from food, too, so make sure you remove them when the cooking time is complete. The sticks, left in a liquid, will continue to flavor a product; over time, this can make a product very, very cinnamon-y, and you’ll understand the idea of too much of a good thing.

Ground cinnamon should be selected when you want the cinnamon to incorporate into a product. Use this when mixing into baked goods like cookies or cakes, or when you want to use cinnamon in a spice rub for barbecues or roasts.

Whole spices will inherently last longer in a cupboard than ground spices, which start to lose their punch easily over time thanks to their enormous amount of surface area exposed to air. Whole Cinnamon Sticks will retain their flavor much longer than Ground Cinnamon; if you have a way to grind spices then you can turn what you need into powder and keep the unground sticks in the pantry a little bit longer. If that’s not appealing, buy ground cinnamon in smaller amounts so you can replace it easily.
 

How to Use Vietnamese Cinnamon Sticks

Up the aromatic value of your homemade Chicken Pho by tossing a cinnamon stick into the stock pot and letting it simmer. Add the stick to Bo Kho, a traditional Vietnamese beef stew, when the weather turns cold and you’re looking for comfort food. Play up sweetness and fire by adding a Whole Vietnamese Cinnamon Stick to spicy Red Chili Oil seasoned with de Arbol Chiles and Black Cardamom Pods. Give your holiday sides a boost by making a cinnamon-y Spiced Apple and Cranberry Sauce, and wash that down with a warm, fragrant mug of Mulled Cider. Vietnamese Cinnamon Sticks go well with most bright, light, fruity flavors like apple or berry, and they also pair nicely with hearty, meaty flavors like beef or lamb. Use this with zesty Ginger, or make it fruity and bold with some Granulated Orange Peel. For a licorice-like twist, pair cinnamon with some Star Anise for a fragrant blend that will add cozy comfort to hearty meat, like venison or lamb.
 

Vietnamese Cinnamon Substitutions

The complex flavor of Vietnamese Cinnamon is not easily substituted. If you’re in a pinch, swap Whole Clove or Star Anise at a 1:1 ratio with the cinnamon, and top with a little bit of Black Peppercorns. Cloves have that touch of astringency that cinnamon expresses, and Black Pepper brings a bit of floral fruit and some heat. To remove these items easily from a soup stock or casserole base, wrap in cheesecloth and twine into a bouquet garni. Place in the dish, cook as usual, and then find the small spice package and set to the side before serving.

 

Ingredients Vietnamese Cinnamon Sticks
Also Called Saigon Cinnamon, Saigon Cassia or Vietnamese Cassia
Recommended Uses Use in soup stock, marinades, braises, and mulled beverages
Flavor Profile Pungent and woodsy, with notes of wood, pine, and maple
Botanical Name Cinnamomum loureiroi
Oil Content 4% - 6%
Cuisine Vietnamese, Asian
How To Store Airtight container in a cool, dark place
Shelf Life 1-2 Years
Country of Origin Vietnam
Dietary Preferences Gluten Free

 

Hungry for more information?

Spices and Seasonings of Vietnam
5 Reasons to Have Cinnamon Sticks On Hand
Most Popular Spices by Cuisine
The Best Fruit and Vegetable Seasonings

 

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size1 stick

Amount Per Serving

Calories14

% Daily Value*

Total Fat0g0%

Saturated Fat0g0%

Trans Fat0g

Polyunsaturated Fat0g

Monounsaturated Fat0g

Cholesterol0mg0%

Sodium0.6mg0%

Total Carbohydrate4.5g2%

Dietary Fiber0.0g0%

Total Sugars0.1g

Added Sugars0g0%

Sugar Alcohol0.0g

Protein0.2g0%

Vitamin D0mcg0%

Calcium56mg4%

Iron0mg2%

Potassium24mg1%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice. These values were calculated and therefore are approximate. For more accuracy, testing is advised.

5 out of 5
1 total ratings.

Derek W. (Verified buyer) 11/02/2021
Deliciousness! We purchased a 5 pound bag for our Mechanicsburg Mule cocktail. Customers are loving the addition of your Vietnamese cinnamon sticks. It really puts the drink over the top! Thanks!
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