Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Round-up of Vietnamese Drinks

Soda ChanhI usually try out some local soft drinks and such when hitting up other countries. And while there are a lot of them here in Vietnam, interestingly I didn't bother with many of them. Why not? Because of the ubiquity of soda chanh here. Having ordered it at nearly every meal, it was interesting to see mild variations of how it was made: most places gave you limes to squeeze yourself, and some places gave you sugar to scoop in yourself too (which was my preference, since I prefer mine more sour than sweet). Most places used very fine sugar, but some places used very granular sugar. Either way, it was always refreshing.

Saigon Special beerOn the beer front, one of the most popular brews (aside from Singapore's own Tiger) was 333. Not surprisingly, it was light and generally forgettable, but it was my preference over another beer called Saigon Special, which emanated a bit more taste (not necessarily in a good way). I preferred the so-called "red beer," or Saigon Do Export, over the Saigon Special too.

Ruou NepSome of the touristy areas of course sold bottles of liquor with snakes and scorpions sitting inside, but I didn't try any of that. One cool thing we did come across though was a Vietnamese version of moonshine called ruou nep. Made from sweet rice, this thing was nowhere as smooth and silky as sake. Instead, this was harsh on the throat going down, and amusingly was filled into empty plastic water bottles. Pair it with some pickled leeks and veggies as "bar snacks," and you've got yourself a party in the village waiting to happen.

And finally, one can't leave Vietnam without trying that infamous weasel coffee, or ca phe chon, whose top-quality beans are carefully selected by civet cats for their taste, passed through their digestive system, and then harvested and roasted before being ground into coffee. I could make a corny joke by saying that this stuff tasted like sh*t, but in reality it was really, really good. Even before grinding it, it emitted such a strong rich chocolate taste (hold the jokes now) that I knew that it had to be good, even for a non-coffee drinker like me. OK, I'll say it...this was one sh*tty coffee that didn't taste like crap.

1 comment:

Lynn's Life said...

man i laughed so hard over ur poopy coffee post! lol
i am a foodie myself and ive heard about the "poopy coffee" funny if it was actually called that! but it was good huh? i hope they r steralized after they clean the sh*t off!
btw i am so in love with ur blog!!!
i love the airplane meals,ive always wanted 2 travel & have a meal on an airplane & get 1 of those cool travel accessory bag,ive seen them yrs ago. all i got 4 flying 2 ord in 08 was free drink,coffee,tea,juice,ect & that was when they had nuts & pretzels,i even brought some home 2 my 2 kids! it was my 1st & only time i flew. SO PLEASE tell us everything that comes with it,whats in some of the packs? oh & btw,i didnt know u could grab a shower @ some airports! keep blogging hungry boy!! i know its long but had alot 2 say