Traveling to Vietnam is fun and enjoying Vietnamese cuisine is fantastic. However, very few visitors are aware of some amazing tasty drinks that widely available on the street. From sugar cane juice to local beers, whether it’s a friendly meeting at a restaurant or a casual stopping by at a beverage stand, they are the must-try to experience the local taste and quench your thirst on hot, humid days. Curious? Here are 7 amazing drinks that will revive you.
1. Sugar Cane Juice (Nuoc Mia)
Not as sweet as you’d imagine, sugar cane juice is a drink that’s considered light and cool. It’s squeezed using an electric squashing machine, identified by what looks like a ship’s wheel on the side of the stall, part of the electric wringer mechanism that juices the cane. The finished product has a crisp grassy flavor mingling with mandarin that’s very refreshing on a sweltering hot day. It is not only delicious but also rich in electrolytes and antioxidants to fight dehydration. You can easily buy it in almost every corner of Vietnam, especially where near the schools, markets or parks… at a very cheap price (about $1).
2. Fresh coconut (Nuoc Dua)
Coconut water has been a popular drink in Vietnam for years and can be found easily on the streets. Coconut water is served straight from a coconut with the vendors chopping the fruit once you order it (unlike the coconut milk packaged you often see in grocery stores). Enjoying this way, the coconut juice is sweet, revitalizing, and comes with the added bonus of roadside theatre as you watch vendors artfully slice open a coconut with a machete. Keep in mind that smaller coconuts tend to be sweeter, and try to find a roadside stall that keeps their coconuts on the ice.
3. Herbal Tea (Nuoc Sam)
Herbal tea is one of the most loved drinks in Vietnam. It has a sweet and nutty taste, usually served over the ice making it perfect to sip in the chaos and noise of a street on a steamy day. Herbal tea usually consists of locally found ingredients like nettle leaves, grassroots, sugar cane, and corn silk that are believed to have a cool down effect according to Chinese medicine. Variations of this drink can also include dried longan, the flower of the sawtooth herb (also known as spiky coriander/cilantro), and roasted water chestnuts.
4. Ching Po Leung (Sam Bo Luong) Sweet Soup
Ching Po Leung (in Cantonese accent), or Sam Bo Luong (in Vietnamese accent) is a type of herbal Tong Sui served cold, originally a Chinese dish but it has become so famous in Vietnam, especially in China Town, Saigon. The recipe may vary from city to city, but most often it contains dried longans, Job’s tears, thinly sliced seaweed, water, sugar, and crushed iced. If you are looking to cool yourself down on a hot summer day and get a ton of health benefits of Chinese herbal medicine without that strong, god-awful herbal smell, look no further than Sam Bo Luong.
5. Pennywort Juice (Rau Ma)
Though pennywort is a member of the carrot and dill family, in reality, it tastes more like cucumber water and is served almost everywhere (like sugar cane juice). This drink will keep you hydrated under the humid Vietnam weather while you are touring the country. Finding this drink is just the same as locating sugar cane juice street vendors.
You may or may not know, Vietnam is the world’s largest producer of Robusta beans, and the way locals experience the coffee is very typical. Their favorite drink is coffee with milk. A cup of milk coffee in Vietnam is often served with a small metal drip filter over ice, which has a thick and bitter flavor of Robusta smoothed out by the creamy and sweet flavor of condensed milk. However, you may choose between milk coffee and the black (without milk) one depending on your own taste. Both are strong and may energize you up for the whole day.
7. Draught beer (Bia Hoi)
As one of the countries that consume the highest amount of beer in the world, Vietnam is where drinking beer has become a culture. Draught beer is wildly popular for its taste and coolness, which can immediately freeze the heat and thirst, especially in a tropical country like Vietnam where it is constantly hot and humid. For that reason, restaurants that serve draught beer are always crowded in the early evening. You may easily find at the street eateries, roundly dozens of people drinking the cool beer on hand cheering each other and chatting about their day over a plate of roasted or steamed peanut with a shell. If you want to get socialized or make friends with locals, these places are where you should be at.
And Draught beer is a specialty for Hanoians, if you want to enjoy then book Hanoi tours right away.