When you go to Ho Chi Minh City (also called Saigon) in the dry season, you’ll experience intense summer heat that is hard to forget. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to beat the heat during these extremely hot days. One great option is to enjoy a rejuvenating drink available in the lively streets of Saigon. If you’re interested in discovering the perfect thirst-quenching beverage for yourself, let me introduce you to the top drinks that have become an essential aspect of Saigon’s culture.
Saigon offers a plethora of options for drinks, available at every street corner, convenience stores, supermarkets, coffee shops, and even mobile carts. From bottled beverages to freshly prepared concoctions, you can find an assortment of ingredients, cups, spoons, water, and more neatly displayed in glass cases, wooden or metal shelves, plastic tables, rolling carts, and even strapped onto motorbikes. Street vendors ingeniously employ foam boxes to keep their bottled drinks refreshingly cool.
Favorite Refreshing Beverages for Hot Summer Days in Saigon
Vietnamese drinks are not only diverse but also mouth-watering, much like its cuisine. With a tropical monsoon climate, Vietnam is fortunate to offer beverages with incredible flavors that can satisfy even the most discerning palates.
Drinking is an integral part of daily life in Vietnam, whether it’s meeting friends for coffee or tea, enjoying a refreshing juice or smoothie from street stalls, or celebrating important events and holidays.
By exploring the various drinks in Vietnam, you can immerse yourself in local traditions and uncover fascinating stories with the guidance of Vietnam Travel.
1. Coconut Juice
Coconut juice is a highly popular choice for quenching thirst on hot summer days. Its mildly sweet taste, coupled with the delight of consuming the coconut flesh, makes it a beloved refreshment. You can easily find coconut juice in most coffee shops in Saigon, typically costing around $2 per coconut.
However, one of the favorite pastimes for Saigon residents is savoring coconut juice from street vendors while engaging in conversations and observing the bustling city streets. A notable spot for numerous coconut street vendors is a small corner at the end of Pasteur road. Here, you can indulge in best-selling variations such as coconut juice mixed with kumquat or pineapple jam, both offering a delightful blend of sweetness and coolness. The price for a glass of coconut water here is pleasantly affordable, less than $1 for a full serving.
2. Nuoc Sam – Herbal Tea
Nuoc Sam, also known as herbal tea, is a quintessential Saigon drink. This beverage is known for its cooling properties and health benefits, as it consists of herbal plants that help regulate body temperature during hot weather.
Creating Nuoc Sam at home is a simple process of boiling water with specific herbs available at oriental medication shops, often found along Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street in District 5. After boiling for a few minutes, allow the concoction to cool naturally before refrigerating it for later use.
3. Artichoke Juice
Artichoke juice is a favored drink among the people of Saigon, along with coconut juice and Nuoc Sam.
This beverage has numerous health benefits, being initially bitter but ending with a slight sweetness on the palate. Made by boiling artichoke roots in water, it is known for its healing properties, particularly for rejuvenating livers and improving kidney function.
In Saigon, you will find many street stalls selling artichoke juice. These shops are designed for quick stops or takeaways, offering a refreshing glass of artichoke juice for less than 25 cents.
4. Bitter Juice (Nuoc Dang)
True to its name, Nuoc Dang is a strongly bitter drink with exceptional health benefits. While it may be challenging for those who prefer sweet flavors, once the bitterness is overcome, one can appreciate its detoxifying and cooling effects. If the bitterness is too intense, balancing it out with Nuoc Sam afterward is recommended.
Small shops and pavement stalls throughout Saigon offer Nuoc Dang at an affordable price of less than 25 cents per glass.
5. Sugarcane Juice
Sugarcane juice is a popular sidewalk beverage that should not be overlooked in Saigon. Operating from compact spaces, these cane juice shops typically consist of a small blending machine, chairs, and stools for customers to relax and chat with friends while enjoying their drinks.
Both young teens and adults enjoy sugar cane juice, as it acts as a stress-reliever and quenches thirst while providing a boost of energy. A glass of sugarcane juice can be purchased for no more than 50 cents. For an affordable option, visit Ben Thanh market.
In conclusion, it is challenging to determine the best beverage in Saigon. However, two well-established shops that have been selling Nuoc Sam, Bitter Juice, and Artichoke juice for over a decade can be found at the corner of Dinh Tien Hoang and Dien Bien Phu in District 3.
6. Assorted Fruit Juices
Combining various fruits in a juice not only enhances its nutritional value but also adds to its taste. Select fruits of different colors, wash them thoroughly, and slice them thinly.
Layer the fruits in a glass and filter water through them. Optionally, you can include chia seeds and sugar according to your preference. Place the prepared juice in the refrigerator and garnish with mint leaves on top. Enjoying a refreshing summer drink to keep cool is undeniably delightful during hot weather.
Rejuvenate and nourish your body with these recommended summer beverages! All fruits are beneficial for both the body and mind, making them an excellent addition to your daily meals.
If time is limited, canned juices can be an alternative option as they still provide a delicious and refreshing taste.
Wishing you a revitalizing and joyful summer!