Vietnam is notoriously famous for the abundance of delicious street food that is literally omnipresent. It’s available almost everywhere you turn. However, the country is also known for the plethora of amazing drinks and all sorts of liquid refreshments.
Among alcoholic drinks, the most popular one is a beer — more precisely, the beer mixed with the generous amount of ice. That’s the Vietnamese way of getting drunk. However, in this article I want to focus on non-alcoholic refreshing potions. The most famous ones are fruit smoothies, juices and of course super-famous Vietnamese Ice Coffee.
Following are the top 5 Vietnamese non-alcoholic drinks that everyone who visits Vietnam should try
1. Dừa Nước – the Vietnamese water coconut, a refreshing drink full of natural jelly-like wedges
The Vietnamese water coconut juice is a bizarre Vietnamese drink that we could also considered to be a sweet snack. Dừa Nước is not 100% drink, neither it’s 100% dessert. The jelly-like wedges that float inside a cup among the ice-cubes are tasteless, a little bit chewy and grainy in texture. The juice itself is mildly sweet, similar to coconut juice but grainier in texture.
This drink is usually served in plastic cups with heaps of ice. It’s refreshing to drink in hot weather. It’s very easy to buy in the Mekong Delta regions. Usually sold on roadsides and from street sellers. Learn more.
2. Dừa Tươi, Fresh Coconut Water – The Vietnamese All-Natural Thirst Quencher
The coconut juice, almost always served directly from the coconut shell, is one of the most popular all-natural sweet drink in Vietnam. “The best thing about Vietnamese coconut juice is that it comes to you super-fresh,” says Tung, a friend of mine who runs a small coffee shop in Saigon. And I agree with him. It’s better than the packaged stuff we can buy in supermarkets. Learn more.
3. Vietnamese Sugarcane Juice Nước Mía – a frothy bright yellow drink
Nước Mía, sometimes called Mía đá, is a sugarcane juice extracted from pressed sugarcane sticks. It’s super popular in Vietnam and available in almost every Vietnamese coffee shop or from the street sellers in Saigon and other big cities.
Nước Mía is tropically sweet drink with a slightly grainy texture. It will quench your thirst while you are indulging in the cold natural sweetness but expect to get thirsty again as soon as you are done with it. Learn more.
4. Cà phê sữa đá – Vietnamese Iced Coffee with Sweetened Condensed Milk
Take a sip and let the overwhelming sweetness of Vietnamese milk coffee hit your senses. Wait a moment until your mouth dries and bitterness of coffee kicks in. Isn’t that awesome? Take another sip and enjoy the whole experience again, except this time around you are the king of the world and nothing matters anymore. Everything is just right. Welcome to the world of Vietnamese iced milk coffee – Cà phê sữa đá.
5. Sinh Tố Dừa – solid coconut meat turned into the liquid heaven
Coconut smoothie (Sinh Tố Dừa) is my favourite non-caffeine drink in Vietnam. I like the slightly granular texture and subtle milky, coconut sweetness. The Vietnamese coconut smoothie is made of the white flesh, also called solid endosperm from inside the coconut. It’s the white pulp that covers inside walls of coconut shell. In Vietnam, the smoothie is usually served with the liquid endosperm which is basically the semi-transparent and mildly sweet liquid we call “coconut milk”. So when you order a Coconut Smoothie (Sinh Tố Dừa) you often get two drinks instead of one. Learn more.