This is one of the frequently asked questions we’ve received from our blog’s audiences, clients on our food tours, and those who are heading to Hanoi for a visit. Want to know what to drink in Hanoi too? This article post brings you a list of 7 drinks that Hanoi’s famous for, read on!
Hanoi offers a variety of ways to quench your thirst on any stage of your travel, from an eye catching mixed drink, to a regular sugarcane juice or locally brewed beer on the street, and to a quintessential beverage in a tucked-away outlet. Here is our list of Hanoi’s famous drinks to try when you’re here:
1. Pho Cocktail
If you know what’s pho, then pho cocktail may sound a bit odd. But the making of this drink brought a young Hanoi mixologist the country’s best bartender title from a mixology competition in 2012.
The beef noodle soup we eat as breakfast, lunch, and dinner is made up of herbs (cardamon, cinnamon, star anise…) flavored marrow-rich beef stock, rice noodle, and thinly sliced beefs. The flavorful taste of pho is finally enhanced with fresh lime and chili sauce.
Without the real pho stock, beef or noodles, the pho cocktail features a generous splash of gin and triple sec with the spices and herbs that’s made pho a world-famous dish. Sided with cinnamon, star anise, fresh chili, and lime wedges, pho cocktail is truly an incredible combination of alluring flavors that you must try it yourself – right here in Hanoi where it’s created!
Where to drink it: At these Hanoi’s best cocktail bars
2. Bia Hoi (fresh beer)
Bia hoi, meaning fresh beer, is a light and refreshing lager with an alcohol content of about 3%. It’s the most popular local beer in northern Vietnam, especially in Hanoi – where it’s found at almost every street corner.
Bia hoi is brewed daily, then matured for a short period of time. Once ready, each shop gets a fresh batch delivered every day in 20 littles steel barrels. A busy bia hoi in the city center may sell up to 100 barrels a day.
Squatting on the little plastic stools on the side walk, like the locals, sipping on a glass of bia hoi is one of the great pleasures of touring Hanoi, better still if you score some equally cheap and good street food from the same spot, though some only do beer and nuts.
Where to drink it: Bia Hoi Bat Dan, 50 Bat Dan Street.
3. Caphe Trung (egg coffee)
Yes, you’ve got it correctly – it’s egg coffee. Egg coffee is one of Hanoi’s most famous drinks. It’s so delicious and popular that you shouldn’t miss it on your visit to Hanoi.
Created by the owner of Café Giang when the regular sweeten condensed milk was scarce due to the war, egg coffee consists of well-whisked raw chicken egg yolk, Vietnamese Robusta coffee, sweetened condensed milk, butter, and cow cheese.
The ready-to-drink egg coffee features a lavish appearance and a liquid-tiramisu-like taste, offering a thick, rich, and authentic flavor that Hanoi visitors should really experience it.
Where to try it: best places to try egg coffee in Hanoi
4. Nau Da (sweeten condensed milk coffee)
Nau da (caphe sua da in the south), or iced coffee with sweeten condensed milk, is a traditional Vietnamese coffee. Of cause, you can have a good Vietnamese coffee almost every where in Vietnam, but the coffee is considered to be stronger when served in Hanoi.
As written in our article about Vietnamese coffee, to make a nau da, two tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk are put into the glass prior to the dripping filter process. Hot water is added twice to a metal drip filter containing coarse ground dark roast Robusta coffee, the filter then slowly drips hot coffee into the glass.
The finished glass of hot coffee is then added with two or three ice cubes, making the complete Hanoi version of sweeten condensed milk coffee – nau da. If you love coffee, try this one out on the streets of Hanoi.
Where to drink it: at one of these Hanoi’s coffee shops
5. Tra Da Via He (sidewalk iced tea)
Perhaps sidewalk iced tea is the most popular kind of shop in Hanoi, it can be seen every where in the city, from main streets to narrow alleys, around office buildings and luxury hotels, beside up-scale restaurants or commercial centers, and even steps away from a big café.
The tea spot is where we see group of locals sitting on little plastic stools sipping on a smallglass of tea, where the seller also sells sunflower seeds, peanut candies, chewing-gum, and other botted drinks.
Because of the convenience, cheap, and fun that customers of sidewalk iced teas are diverse. They’re both men and women, young and old, from office workers to janitors. So, join one of them when you can, and truly experience the simple but charming Hanoi’s daily life.
Where to drink it: on sidewalks around your hotel.
6. Nuoc Mia (sugar cane juice)
Nuoc mia, or sugarcane juice, is a fresh, sweet, and syrupy liquid that’s squeezed, from peeled sugarcanes. Vietnam’s ample sunlight makes it the perfect breeding land for sugarcane, which has been one of the country’s main crops since ancient times.
Being indigenous to Vietnam, sugarcane has been appearing in local cuisine for centuries. Vendors’ source of canes come from the nearby countryside, the close distance ensures them remain mostly fresh and juicy until consumption. Hence, sugarcane juice’s one of the most looked-for beverages on streets – especially on warm days.
On Hanoi’s streets, vendors commonly squeeze peeled sugarcane stalks with a green kumquat to flavor its juice, a dash of salt is sometimes added to balance out the sweetness. The fresh drink is then poured over a full-of-ice cup, making a refreshing nuoc mia that no one would deny.
Where to drink it: Nuoc Mia Hang Dieu – 77 Hang Dieu Street.
7. Nuoc Sau (dracontomelon juice)
With so many dracontomelon trees grown along the green tree-line boulevards in the city’s French Quarter, Hanoi is therefore a cradle of the dracontomelon fruit – which is widely used in local cuisine as a souring agent.
Speaking of traditional beverages, Hanoi has a numerous kinds of drinks that are tastier, healthier and cheaper than branded soft drinks. Among the beloved thirst-quenchers available in this thousand-years old capital city, dracontomelon juice is an undisputed king.
Only harvested during June and July – the hottest months of the year, the kumquat-size dracontomelon fruit, after removing its skin, will be soaked in jars with sugar and ginger for weeks. As the sugar balances out the sourness of the fruit, it makes a perfect concoction to quench your thirst.
If you’re looking for something special, something that can be taken as an iconic Hanoi’s drink, drocontomelon juice it is. Try it with ice, from time to time, take a bite of the fruit at the bottom of the glass.
Where to drink it: At any family-run coffee shop in the city
Hope you’ve found out what to drink in Hanoi, don’t miss the chance to try these famous dinks during your next visit. Join Flavors of Hanoi’s peronal foodie tour guide on our daily walking Hanoi food tour, and explore the best of what the city has to offer.