Trà (Vietnamese tea)
With a wide range of varieties, tea in Viet Nam can be separated into some main categories: fresh green tea (trà xanh), dried plain tea (trà mạn); scented tea; herbal tea; bud tea.
Green tea is the most popular amongst Vietnamese people. It can be enjoyed fresh and there is no need to wilt or oxidize; just pick the leaves from the tree, steep and boil the tea leaves in hot water, after fifteen minutes, your green tea is ready to be served. It can blow out the heat from the inside, improve the body’s resistance to infection and help you sleep well. A cup of fresh green tea is a wonderful summer treat.
Green tea (phununet.com)
Dried plain tea is made from another kind of tea; the trees are planted into bush with nearly one meter height at full mature, in the lowland, complex terrain areas or some highland regions. Fresh tea buds and leaves are picked carefully and dried naturally before wilting. Then people will roast the buds and leaves with fixed level of temperature until they begin to curl up and desiccated; the green color now turns into black. It sounds very simple, yet requires much patience, effort and skills of the workers to have the tea of high quality. Before serving tea, teapots and cups should be heated by boiling water. Put dried tea into the pot, quantity according to taste (strong or weak) and type of tea. Pour hot water into the pot and pour it out quickly; this step is to “wake tea up” and get better taste. Pour hot water into the pot, make sure hot water fills up the pot and wait for around 1 minute, then pour tea into cups and enjoy it. Unlike the fresh green tea, this plain tea tastes a little bitter, but after that you will feel a hint of sweetness, especially when you take time to enjoy it slowly.
Scented tea is actually the dried plain tea mixed with flower. The odorous scent of flowers twisting harmoniously with the bittersweet taste of tea creates a unique flavor and aroma. The most common are lotus tea and jasmine tea.
There are many kinds of herbal tea made from the leaves, root, stalk, and flower of the plants. Some of them are artichoke tea, chrysanthemum tea and aglaia tea. The herbal tea is said to be good for health.
Bud tea is made only from the bud of the tea flower. They are not as bitter as the dried plain tea.
Cà Phê (Coffee)
Viet Nam is one of the world's biggest exporters of coffee; therefore, it is no surprise that coffee is one of the most favorite drinks of the locals. Vietnamese coffee has strong taste and rough texture, probably because most of it is made from Robusta beans. Coffee is prepared by using a small metal filter. Originally it is served warm with condescend milk or sugar. Nowadays, there are much more ways to enjoy it, for example iced coffee with condensed milk, iced black coffee, yogurt mixed with coffee. An interesting variation of coffee is egg coffee; coffee is mixed with egg yolk and sugar in a special way that make it so delicious that some people say one small cup is not enough for them.
You will see the locals spend an hour or more enjoying the coffee, talking to each other, watching the world go by, either from a small chair at a street side stall or from the window of an air-conditioned cafe.
Nước dừa (Fresh coconut water)
This is probably one of the most favorite drinks of Hanoians during the hot summer. It's been a popular drink in Viet Nam for centuries, and the fresh coconut water is grassier, sweeter and more full-flavored than anything you'll find in a package. Vendors will chop off the outer green husk and keep the small white inner shell, cut into a shape that it won't fall over when put on a flat surface. These white globes are usually kept on ice until you order one; a giant machete will be used to chop a hole in the top.
Drinking cold coconut water in hot summer of this tropical country is wonderful. The locals also use coconut to make coconut jelly and coconut ice cream. Talking about coconut ice cream, you should not miss Bao Oanh, a café near Truc Bach Lake that is familiar to many Hanoians. After chopping off the outer green husk and removing the water, people put coconut jelly, ice cream and coconut milk inside the small white inner shell with little crushed coconut meat, roasted peanut and fried grapes on top. You can easily scrape fresh coconut meat, then take a spoon of all ingredients and coconut meat together and enjoy its special flavor.
It is said that coconut water has diuretic properties if you drink too much, and you should not drink it at night.
Sinh Tố (Fruit Smoothie)
As a tropical country, Viet Nam has a large number of fruits. Smoothies are therefore everywhere in the country; you'll find so many kinds of smoothies, such as fresh dragon fruit, custard apple, avocado, banana, pineapple, watermelon, along with ice and condensed milk or yogurt. There are also some smoothies from vegetables, such as pennywort (rau má) which is believed to have many health benefits.
Nước Mía (Sugar Cane Juice)
It is no doubt one of the most popular juices; you can easily find it at street corners of Ha Noi, especially during the summer. It is usually sold by street vendors, who use electric squashing machines to squeeze the juice from stalks of sugar cane, then mix it with a little mandarin juice for better taste. The juice has a refreshing grassy flavor
which is perfect for sweltering hot day.