Over the past couple of years, Vietnamese coffee seems to have found a special spot in most café menus. Most new cafes in town currently serve the popular beverage, and it seems to be becoming the drink of choice. The coffee has gained popularity in the last few years and is now being served by big players like Starbucks. This makes one wonder, is this the only popular drink to come out of Vietnam? Definitely not. Here’s a look at 10 other drinks from the Southeast Asian nation.
Nuoc Dua – Coconut water
Coconut water is a refreshing drink that helps keep cool during the summers. It is easily available on the streets of Vietnam and is one of the most loved beverages. A coconut is cut open right in front of you and you are given a straw to drink the water straight out of the coconut.
If you prefer cold coconut water, you can order one which is kept in an icebox. Ask for a smaller coconut if you prefer sweeter water. That’s right, in Vietnam you get different options depending on how you prefer your coconut water.
Ruou Ran – Snake Wine
A controversial drink even at the best of times, snake wine is indigenous to the Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam. The ‘essence’ of snakes, preferably venomous ones, gives this drink its extra kick. It’s safe to drink but if you spot one of the transparent bottles from which it is served, you might just lose your appetite.
Nevertheless, the drink remains popular for its so-called aphrodisiac properties. The high alcohol content also means you can have no more than a shot glass of the drink at a time.
Sinh To – Fruit Smoothie
A fruit smoothie is a creamy and refreshing drink that is available all throughout Vietnam. The fruits used range from pineapples to oranges to jackfruit to banana and many more. The creamy texture comes from the use of yogurt if you prefer a thick version, or milk if you prefer your smoothie to be runnier. The ingredients are then blended with ice to give you a smooth and filling smoothie. Whilst in Vietnam, try some of the unusual flavours that you wouldn’t find back home, durian for example (called Sinh To Sau Rieng).
Ruou Nep Cam – Sticky Rice Wine
Sticky rice is Vietnam’s national dish so it’s not crazy to think the locals have a wine made out of it. The Vietnamese love their wine made from sticky rice, which contains almost 30% alcohol by volume.
The men like to come home from work and relax with a glass of wine. At barbeque parties and seafood outings, the wine is perfect as an accompaniment. You must try the Ruou Nep Cam on your next trip to Vietnam, especially in the capital Hanoi, where it is the most popular.
Nuou Rau Ma – Pennywort Juice
Pennywort leaves are dill-like and belong to the carrot family. The juice is found in almost every restaurant in the country and is very refreshing after a hard day’s work. The taste of the beverage is similar to that of cucumber water. The juice can also be found on the streets of Vietnam and it helps keep your body hydrated.
Tra Atiso – Artichoke Tea
Just like Herbal tea, Artichoke tea is a cleansing and detoxifying drink. It is the perfect cure for hangovers and is usually preferred by the men who get drunk from the sticky rice wine. This tea is served cold and can be made either from the artichoke stem, which makes for a black colored bitter drink, or artichoke flower, which makes for a yellowish drink and is slightly sweeter.
You can easily find artichokes in the supermarkets and make your own tea at home. If you’re visiting Hoi An, don’t forget to try the drink here as it’s the most popular in this tourist town.
Soda Chanh – Lemon Soda
It’s a hot and sunny day outside and you are thirsty. In that case, Soda Chanh is the perfect drink for you. This drink can be easily prepared at home and is a hot favourite at restaurants. The beverage is served with lemon juice and sugar syrup mixed, and you are given a can of soda to mix in the drink yourself. Some places serve the lemon juice separately and you can decide how much juice you want in your drink.
Bia Hoi – Beer
When in Vietnam, you must try their Vietnamese beer. What’s so special about their beer you ask? Well, Bia Hoi is known to be the cheapest beer in the world. Fun fact: The Vietnamese are one of the highest beer drinkers in the world. You would, too, once you see just how cheap the local beer is.
Beer is easily available at liquor stores and at every restaurant you visit. The locals look forward to a refreshing can in the Vietnam heat.
Tra Sua Tran Chau – Boba Tea
Boba refers to edible pearls, which are chewy and crunchy in nature. They are mixed with sugar, ice, sweet potato, and cassava starch to make the Boba tea.
Boba tea is available in cafes as well as in standalone shops dedicated to it. The youngsters are crazy about this beverage and can often be seen in groups in outlets that serve Boba tea.
Sam Bo Luong – Cold Sweet Soup
As the name suggests, this soup is served cold. It is made of sugar, water, seaweed, and longans, along with some crushed ice. It is originally a Chinese drink, but the people of Vietnam love it so much that it is now easily available everywhere in the country. One of the not-so-popular drinks among the tourists, Sam Bo Luong is a must-try for a truly local experience.
Isn’t your mouth watering already? Are you salivating at thought of having these refreshing drinks? Plan a trip to Vietnam to enjoy these super cool Vietnamese drinks and if not, find yourself a recipe and make one at home today.
PS: We’d planned a trip to Vietnam to make you taste these drinks and more but we’ve had to cancel it on account of Covid 19. Rest assured, we’ll be back with another edition as soon as the threat has passed.
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Sneha is an avid reader and writer who quit her job to pursue her passion for writing. When she is not reading or writing, she can be found teaching kids, cooking or cuddled in her bed watching Netflix.