You can find tea, whiskey, beer, coffee, delicious shakes, and fruit juices – hot or cold, sweet or mellowing anywhere in Vietnam.
Don’t miss any of cool drinks and beverages during your Vietnam vacation.
Tea | Tra
Hot tea | Tra nong
Small cups of hot, bitter Chinese tea (called tra) are de rigueur for a first meeting, for a business situation, and for just killing time say, during check-in at a hotel. The cups just keep getting filled up, and this casual offering of Chinese tea is an important component of hospitality. Note: When pouring more, fill your host’s cup first and your cup last.
Tea follows hundreds of years of Chinese tradition under Chinese tutelage in the provinces of Thai Nguyen and Lao Cai, for example, where estates date back centuries. Vietnam’s plantations produce all varieties, standard black and green as well as fine jasmine tea, and fine teas are imported from China.
Ice Tea | Tra da
Tra da is iced tea, a standard pot of bitter Chinese tea poured over ice, usually unsweetened. Local restaurants serve tra da gratis from large pitchers. It’s a great way to cool down on a hot day (although you should beware of drinking ice that’s made from unfiltered water, especially if you have a sensitive stomach).
Local Beer | Bia hoi
Local bia hoi, a cheap draft beer of watery lager made in every region, is served cold on tap in every town, usually in small storefronts crowded with squat stool tables and lots of revelers. You can expect a fun night of “Chuc mung! ” (“Cheers! ” or “Good luck! ”) All around.
Vietnamese Snake Wine | Ruou Ran
As a special wine of Vietnam, snake wine can make you scared at the first sight. To make this wine, locals will put one or some snakes in a vat, pour rice wine over the snake and leave to ferment for some weeks. Vietnamese believe that snake wine has many medicinal qualities such as disinfecting cuts and killing lurking bugs after meals. It also is used to cure everything of farsightedness to hair loss, as well as to increase sexual performance.
In the Central Highlands, don’t miss an opportunity to slurp from a long red straw from a massive pot of ruou can, a particularly potent local brew made by ethnic-minority groups.
Coffee | Ca Phe
The hills of Vietnam’s Central Highlands, from Dalat all the way up to Kontum, look something like a Colombian landscape, with high, rolling hills as far as the eye can see sprouting coffee like a giant Chia pet you almost expect a grinning Juan Valdez to pop from behind a bush with a steaming cup any minute. Vietnam is the second-largest coffee grower in the world just behind Mr. Valdezs cohorts and though roasting techniques are primitive, choice Vietnamese Robusta coffee is delicious.
Small coffee joints can be found on every corner. Look for the Trung Nguyen brand, Vietnam’s Starbucks of coffee. And because coffee is made with boiled water, it’s okay to drink. Trung Nguyen stores might look like a chain, but franchising in Vietnam is limited to getting a free sign (you will see Trung Nguyen everywhere) in exchange for buying and serving Trung Nguyen coffee, so individual outlets are all independent and distinct. Also look for the fine Highland Coffee outlets in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnamese Coffee | Ca Phe
Filter Coffee | Ca Phe Phin
Filter coffee is served in small cups with stainless-steel filters of coffee over the top. You pour your own hot water and wait for the slow filtration process part of the experience really, and a good lesson in patience (the Vietnamese even have a saying about the patience required to sit and watch a filter coffee drip).
Milk Coffee | Ca Phe Sua
Vietnamese coffeeis usually served with sua, or very sweet condensed milk. Say “Ca phe sua chut-chut” if you want only a little of the saccharine sweet stuff (a bit too much for some), or order a “cafe den” for black coffee. Rarely will you find sua tuoi (fresh milk) only in the big cities but you’ll always find duong (sugar) on the table. Ordering ice coffee a local alfresco stand just means the same rig as above, accompanied by a glass of ice-all very do-it-yourself just say “Ca phe sua da” and wait for the drip and pour it on ice.
Egg Coffee | Ca Phe Trung
If you visit Hanoi Capital, you should take a mouthful of Egg Coffee in Hanoi Old Quarter. Stop by No 11 Hang Gai to sip a cup of coffee while seeing the chaotic flow of traffic outside. Awesome!
Mineral water | Nuoc Khoang
Nuoc Khoang is Vietnamese for “drinking water,” which is available in bottles everywhere. Just say “Cho toi nuoc khoang” (pronounced Jya toy nook kwang). Even locals drink bottled water (tap water is never potable), and all ice or drinking water provided is usually boiled or filtered and is just fine.
Sugar-Cane Juice | Nuoc Mia
Nuoc mia, or sugarcane juice is one of the most popular drinks in Vietnam. It’s a refreshing drink during the hot Vietnamese climate. Kids love this drinks so much. Only with 7000VND-8000VND (about 0.5 USD), you will have a tasty glass of nuoc mia to enjoy. If you are in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City you can drink it with many flavors in Fruit Shake store which offers many high-class beverages in Vietnam.
Lemonade | Nuoc Chanh
Another popular drink you cannot miss in Vietnam is lemonade. It’s so cool and refreshing. You also can sip it with a can of soda. This drink is often served with a glass full of ice. Ask for it with or without sugar (duong). This is the hip expat drink of choice.