Anyone tried the Vietnamese cinnamon from Pensey's? How does it compare to Chinese cinnamon?
Pemzey's sells five types: Ceylon, Chinese, Indonesian, Vietnamese and "Penzey's", which is a blend of all four.
If you can't get to a Penzey's store to be able to sniff and compare (the Ceylon has a hint of citrus and is very mild; the Chinese and Indonesian smell sweet and are both mild; Vietnamese is really strong and concentrated) then maybe buy the smallest size of each to decide what you like and will use most for your purposes (baking versus beverages)
I've used both. The Vietnamese cinnamon is stronger and more fragrant than the Chinese (which is stronger than the Indonesian/Korintje cinnamon that Penzey's also sells.). I would say that they are interchangeable in recipes, but, if you love cinnamon and want the flavor to really stand out, get the Vietnamese.
Most of them are interchangable, EXCEPT the Ceylon. That's actually a different species (C. Zeylancium, as opposed to C.Cassia) There are some recipies where either can be used, but if the recipe says "True cinnamon (or as it is usually called in this country "Mexican cinnamon") it means the Ceylon and the Celyon only. And if you DO go interchangable also note that, as the flavor of Ceylon is a lot gentler than that of Cassia cinnamons, convientional cooking wisdom says to multiply the amount you are using by about 4 (which, since Ceylonese is usually quite a bit more expensive than cassia, can make using it a bit pricey).
I like Penzey's Vietnamese (cassia) cinnamon unless the recipe would be better if I used true Ceylon cinnamon that is more floral.
Most American pastries are better suited to the stronger and hotter cassia.