It can be said that the culinary culture of Vietnam is the street food culture. What is so adorable about Vietnam is that you can easily find the most stunning dishes with amazingly cheap prices served in a stall nestling by the street. While street-side cuisines of Vietnam have been talked about for so long, travellers coming to Vietnam should never ignore delightful Vietnamese pavement drinks, which are at the same time delicious, healthy and cheap. Following we will break down 4 best Vietnamese street-side drinks every visitors should not miss when coming to Vietnam.
1. Black coffee with condensed milk
It would be a mistake if not putting coffee in the list of hottest drinks in Vietnam. A cup of coffee, in Vietnamese style, is bound to get you up in the morning thanks to its strong flavor. Vietnamese coffee is mostly made from Robusta beans, which, unlike Arabica beans, have a deep, intense flavor and a high amount of caffeine. The special thing about Vietnamese coffee lies in the way you enjoy this drink. A metal drip filter will be put above your coffee mug and you will have to patiently wait for drops of coffee to drip off the mug before you can enjoy your drink. Taking a seat in a roadside coffee shop, watching the world walk by while waiting for your coffee to drip off can be an elegant way to savor your morning in Vietnam.
To savor Vietnamese coffee in Vietnamese traditional way, you will have to patiently wait for your coffee drip off a metal drip filter.
Walk-side Vietnamese coffee is usually served with ice and condensed milk. If you would like to taste the original intense flavor of the coffee, then just simply add to your cup some ice but if you want to mellow the bitterness, put in your coffee cup some condensed milk. Normally people prefer the latter (which is called “cà phê sữa đá” in Vietnamese) to the former one, especially those living in Ho Chi Minh City, this drink has become the iconic drink of the city. Don’t miss out the chance to try Vietnamese coffee in a Vietnamese traditional way when you come to our country!
2. Tra da (Iced tea)
To your astonishment, you can hardly walk down a street in Hanoi without seeing an iced tea stall on the pavement. This is the most popular drink of Hanoians in the summer, which can quench your thirst and cool your body immediately. People are so in favor of “tra da” partly for its chilling taste but mostly for the ambience of the space it obtains. Sitting on a plastic stool with a glass of tra da on a street pavement, watching vehicles walk by, people forget the hustle and bustle of life for a while, they tell each other their daily stories. If you want to discover an authentic Vietnam at its daily breath, it would be a great ideal to drop in a sidewalk tra da stall.
You can easily find out a "tra da" stall in every corner of Hanoi.
3. Nuoc mia (Sugarcane juice)
Nuoc mia is another must-try street drink you should not miss when it comes to discovering the diverse local food and drink of Vietnam. Nuoc mia or sugarcane juice is made by a squashing machine which will squeeze sugarcane stalks to bring out shiny golden liquid. Add some kumquat into your glass of nuoc mia before drinking to enhance the flavor of the drink, the sour taste of kumquat blends with the light sweetness of sugarcane would give you such a treat in sweltering days of summer.
Nuoc mia is a Vietnamese popular drink in boiling hot summer days.
Nuoc mia is usually sold in small vendors in most streets of Vietnam. Walking down the street, you can easily recognize a nuoc mia stall by the bucket of sugarcane stalks sellers put in front of their stalls or the signature ship’s wheel-like part of the squashing machines. Remember to put this simple but sophisticated drink into your bucket list when coming to Vietnam!
4. Bia hoi (Draught beer)
Bia hoi or draught beer is a salient feature in Vietnamese street drinks. In a tropical country like Vietnam, where it is usually hot and humid for most time of the year, beer is so popular for its taste and coolness. Take a sip of draught beer and the heat is immediately beaten off!
A bia hoi restaurant can easily be spotted in many corner of the street but the most famous place for foreign tourists coming to Vietnam is Ta Hen Street if you are in Hanoi and Bui Vien Street if you are in Ho Chi Minh City.
Foreigners coming to Hanoi usually choose Ta Hien Street for a couple of "bia hoi" glasses.
If you want to experience drinking bia hoi in the most authentic way, the advice is to drop in a roadside bia hoi restaurant in the early evening, the most crowded time of the day, when people finish their working day. When drinking beer, Vietnamese people usually say: Một, hai, ba dzô! (One, two, three, dzo!), this is how to “Cheer!” in Vietnamese. Don’t forget to try this before drinking, trust me, somehow it will make your taste of beer much more delicious!
People usually eat boiled peanuts with shelter while drinking bia hoi.
The taste of a dish or a drink is not only evaluated through its flavor but also through the ambience space and the way you enjoy it. You may find the above-mentioned drinks in other country but for certainty, their taste will be no elsewhere the same as they are in Vietnam.