May 04 2011
Cold drinks seem to always taste better in hot places, and HCMC is no exception. From iced beer to coffee, the streets here offer a huge variety of cold drinks to choose from.
My favourite cold, roadside drink in Saigon is the smoothie. Smoothie stands usually offer a wide variety of fruits, from standard strawberry through to more exotic dragon fruit, blended with crushed ice, condensed milk, and a hefty dose of sugar. Here are some pointers to help you get the fruit that you want and to know what they are putting in the blender.
Be careful when ordering your smoothies if you’re doing so in English — for example, saying to the stand operator that you want mango may be confused for mang cau, or custard apple. If you’re not a fluent Vietnamese speaker, the best way to get the fruit of your choice is to simply point through the glass at the displayed, usually plastic, fruits.
Sometimes a fruit displayed is not actually in stock, in which case the smoothie maker may offer an alternative. If this isn’t to your liking, move on to the next cart until you can get the flavour you were looking for.
If you are ordering at a stand for the first time, find out the price before you order your smoothie. Prices are generally between 10,000 and 20,000 VND but sometimes they can be found for less.
If you don’t happen to be in the mood for smoothies, the same stands generally stock all sorts of other drinks including soft drinks, teas, and coconuts.
Now that you have your drink in hand you can sit at one of the small plastic stools next to the cart, or you can take the drink with your provided small individual plastic bag and head out on the town.
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