The Beverage Scene in Ho Chi Minh City

Written by Sahar Gowani (University of Michigan) Student Correspondent CET Vietnam, Summer 2017

Being in Ho Chi Minh City for about a month now, I’ve learned a lot about the food scene here in District 1. With the help of our Vietnamese roommates and some curious classmates, we’ve ventured into small allies with the best street food, different districts famous for their barbeque and various other Asian cuisines available in Ho Chi Minh City. While we’ve been trying our fair share of Vietnamese cuisine, we’ve also been exploring the beverage scene. Whether its Vietnamese coffee, fruit smoothies or fresh coconut from a street vendor, the variety of drinks is extensive and delicious! Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying lots of different drinks and I wanted to share a few of my favorites thus far!

A post-lunch peach bubble tea with lots of jelly and boba before going back to class.

  1. Vietnamese Iced Coffee with Milk: This is one of my favorite beverages in the morning (or any time of theday really)! Vietnamese coffee is a lot stronger than the coffee in the United States, so most cafes don’t usually give you a full cup. This coffee also includes condensed milk, instead of fresh milk, making the coffee creamier and richer. Vietnamese coffee is definitely a great pick-me-up, especially in the mornings.
  2. Fruit Smoothies: With all the fresh fruit available in Ho Chi Minh City, fruit smoothies are very popular drinks. Lots of smoothies include mangoes, passion fruit, bananas and strawberries. However, the best fruit smoothie I have had in Vietnam is the avocado smoothie. Unlike the United States, avocados are eaten as a dessert in Vietnam (often with sugar and condensed milk). After trying the avocado smoothie, I fell in love and will definitely miss them when I go back to the States.
  3. Fruit Juice: While fruit smoothies include milk, fruit juice does not! Besides the added sugar, fruit juice just comes from the actual fruit. There are many street vendors selling freshly squeezed juice, while many cafes also offer a variety of juices. My favorite fruit juice so far
    is definitely pamelo juice (pamelos are very similar to grapefruits).
    The bitter, sour and slightly sweet flavor of this fruit is amazing and
    I would definitely recommend it!

    Coffee & pineapple juice date with one of my classmates.

  4. Bubble Tea: While this is also very popular in the United States, Vietnam has a wide variety of bubble tea cafes as well. With lots of different jellies and boba, drinking bubble tea is a fun experience that reminds me of the bubble tea back home.

Although I’ve only mentioned a few of my favorite beverages, there are so many to choose from! Teas, coffees, juices and smoothies are all over the streets of Ho Chi Minh City and available in any flavor imaginable. Because of the intense heat in Vietnam, it’s really important to keep hydrated, which is surely not a problem with all these amazing drinks to choose from J