Not only have the one of the most delicious and healthiest foods, but Vietnam also has a wide range of beverages that are fresh and tasteful. Here we listed the most common and loved drinks of Vietnamese people.
Vietnam is the biggest market of Robusta coffee and Vietnam is the world’s second-largest coffee producer. In Vietnam, we have a rich culture of coffee and drinking coffee.
Locals often drink coffee in two ways, cà phê sữa đá (iced coffee with condensed milk) and cà phê đen đá (iced black coffee). Coffee is brewed using a Phin, a small metal drip filter that sits on top of a coffee mug. When being served this way, you are forced to slow down and watch the coffee being made drip by drip.
Iced coffee with condensed milk
Thick, dreamy and wonderfully sugary is the famous sweetened condensed milk which makes it the perfect counterbalance for the strong, dark-roasted Vietnamese coffee. In Vietnam, if you ask for coffee and milk, you will get condensed milk, not fresh milk, unless you clearly specify what you want. It can be served either hot or iced.
Iced black coffee
This is for the addicted only as it is not exactly that easy to get used to. It is a pure black liquid, dense, dark and strong in flavour. Different blends produce an array of tastes and finishes. That’s why there is another version, a combination of both the coffees above, which is nâu nóng (hot brown coffee). It’s smooth, buttery but not milky as the amount of condensed milk is much less to bring out the dark coffee flavours.
Vietnamese egg coffee makes it to the world top 10 best drink list. This speciality tastes like silky coffee-flavoured custard. Egg yolk and condensed milk are whipped together until thick and creamy, and then black Vietnamese coffee is poured over the top and left to sink to the bottom.
Beer is one of the exceptions to the rule that drinks aren’t served with food in Vietnam. In Vietnamese, the phrase “di nhau” means “to go drinking.” However, the term refers to much more than just the drinks; there’s a whole range of tapas-style dishes that accompany a Vietnamese drinking session, such as prawns barbecued with chilli and salt, clams steamed with lemongrass, green mango with a prawn-chilli-salt dip, or coconut snails sautéed with butter and fish sauce.
Many Vietnamese beers are only available in their home region, so your options will vary depending on where you travel. In the southern hub of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, the local beers are Saigon Red, Saigon Special and 333, all lightly hopped and slightly sweeter than beers from other parts of the country. In the central region of Vietnam, the local beers are Huda (the name combines the words Hue, Vietnam’s former Imperial capital, and Đan in “Đan Mạch” – Denmark), and Bia La Rue, a slightly more bitter beer believed to have originated from a French recipe. A visit to Hanoi is not considered complete without a pilgrimage to Bia Hoi Corner (at the junction of Luong Ngoc Quyen, Ta Hien and Dinh Liet) to try bia hơi (draught beer), a low-alcohol draft beer with a clean, crisp taste.
Of course, the locals don’t always choose the local brew. Holland’s Heineken, Singapore’s Tiger Beer and Japan’s Sapporo are also popular, and there is an increasing number of microbreweries producing a range of craft beers. Brewpubs in Vietnam usually serve Eastern European fare, such as sausages and sauerkraut, which is eaten local-style: with chopsticks.
Coconut has been a favourite drink of Vietnamese people for centuries and you can easily fresh coconut being sold everywhere on the street, especially in the south. And they drink in the most interesting way you can imagine: it’s drunk straight out of the coconut – and this coconut water is grassier, sweeter, and more full-flavoured. There is something you should know if you are going to try some soon: the smaller coconuts are sweeter than the larger ones.
Whole coconuts are unwieldy to store, so vendors will chop off the outer green husk and keep the small white inner shell, cut into a shape that won’t fall over when putting on a flat surface. These white globes are usually kept in the icebox until you order one, then a giant machete is used to chop a hole in the top to put a draw in.
Coconuts are usually harvested when they’re about seven weeks old – any earlier and the juice is gassy, any later and it tastes too salty. To judge the readiness of a coconut, the harvester will chop one open to inspect the flesh, which should be jelly-ish but not completely translucent. Hard white coconut flesh is a sign that the fruit is too old for drinking.
Locals will advise you not to drink coconut water after 5 p.m. if you want to sleep well because they believe it has diuretic properties if you drink too much of it; before 5 p.m, however, it’s the go-to drink for rehydrating.
Fruit smoothies are easy to find in any region in Vietnam, too. Making fruit smoothies is really easy. All you need to do is to pour fruit into the liquidizer, add a little sugar or milk if you love sweet, finally you will have an amazing fruit smoothie by yourself. The most famous must be sinh tốbơ (avocado smoothie) with the luxuriously rich and creamy, sweet taste.
The French introduced avocados to Vietnam, which explains why in Vietnamese, avocados are called trái bơ (pronounced “try buh”; trái means fruit, bơ is Viet pidgin for beurre). In the name of the shake, trái is omitted from the name because we assume that it would be made from avocado and not butter.
Beside strawberry and banana, you will find more of smoothies with fresh dragon fruit, custard apple, and jackfruit, along with ice and condensed milk or yoghurt on top…
Another common and sweet Vietnamese beverage that is sold a lot on the streets you should try. Usually, sugarcane juice with ice is drunk a lot in summer in order to cool off the heat. The price is considered cheap to many other drinks and desserts, only 8,000VND to 10,000VND for one plastic bag or cup. It’s usually sold by street vendors, who use electric squashing machines, not unlike an old-fashioned wringer, to squeeze the juice from stalks of sugarcane. It’s usually then mixed with juice from the calamansi, a tiny sour citrus fruit that smells like a mandarin. The finished product has a crisp grassy flavour that’s very refreshing on a sweltering hot day.
Artichoke tea is believed to have liver-cleansing and detoxifying properties and can be used every day. There are two versions of the tea, which is usually served with ice—the sweetened yellowish version made from the artichoke flower and the intensely bitter black version made from the artichoke stems.
The best quality of artichoke herbal tea is produced in the Da Lat region of Vietnam. Wise grandmothers in the Da Lat make a traditional herbal tea simply by boiling the leaves of an artichoke. This might sound like it would produce a bitter, stewed brew, but actually the flavour is smooth, delicately sweet and mild.
What are you waiting for? Just come to Vietnam and try out these wonderfully healthy and cheap drinks and enjoy your time with us!