Anyone who has been in Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon) in the dry season must never forget the extremely hot summer. There are many ways to beat the scorching on these days. The best way is grabbing a cool drink on Saigon street. Which drink would you like to drink to quench your thirst in Saigon? I would like to share with you Top 20 Drinks in Ho Chi Minh City, which has become an important and special part of Saigon.
At any street corner in Saigon, in convenience stores, supermarkets, coffee shops, on small rolling carts on the streets, small stalls on the pavements, you can easily get something to drink. Bottled drinks, ingredients, cups, spoons, water, and others are arranged in glass cases, on wooden or metal shelves, on plastic tables, in rolling carts, on the back of motorbikes. Street vendors use a foam box to keep many bottled drinks cool.
Saigon streets are full of small drink stalls with different kinds of beverages – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
Although these stalls look temporary, their business is quite good. In hot summer, Saigon people need to quench their thirst with something that’s cool and refreshing. Mineral water, iced tea, Coca-cola, coconut water, sugar cane juice, herbal tea… are favorite drinks and are sold popularly in Saigon.
Sarsi is the number one bottled drink in Saigon. Sarsi is similar to root beer, originally made from the smilax regelii plant and has a special flavor. This can be considered one of the most long-standing and unique drink in Saigon. Sarsi appeared in Saigon in about 1975 with names “Tiger Sarsi” (Xá Xị Con Cọp) and “Deer Sarsi” (Xá Xị Con Dê). Since then, it has become more and more popular among Saigon people. From elders to children, everybody loves to drink this amazing drink. Popular brands of Sarsi are Mirinda and Tribeco. The most popular brand is Chuong Duong Sarsi. Many people from other regions of Vietnam and foreign visitors have tried this drink. Some have said that it made them feel fantastic while others have said that it was hard to drink.
Sarsi – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
Where to buy and drink Sarsi?
- At supermarkets, convenience stores, from street vendors.
The prices at different places are different, less than 15,000 VND.
2. Fresh coconut water
Fresh coconut water is one of the most popular drinks in this tropical country and one of the top drinks in Ho Chi Minh city. Mekong Delta is considered “coconut kingdom” and fresh coconuts are transferred from there to Ho Chi Minh city. 100 percents natural, safe and refreshing coconut water is a perfect choice in a hot afternoon in Saigon. Coconut water doesn’t taste anything like normal water. It tastes like slightly rancid sweat.
Foreigners were excited at drinking fresh coconut water at a local market – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
Where to buy and drink Fresh coconut water?
- At supermarkets, convenience stores, from street vendors.
- At local markets.
- At a moving stall in Bui Vien Street.
- Find it in menus of coffee shops, restaurants.
The prices range between 7,000 and 50,000 VND. The coconut is the cheapest at drink stalls and moving carts. At supermarkets and stores, it costs from 15,000 to 30,000 VND. At luxury restaurants, the price of a fresh coconut can be 50,000 VND.
3. Coconut water with kumquat
Adding other ingredients and ice to fresh coconut water, we create new drinks which are really tasty. Popular ingredients are kumquat and pineapple jam. In facts, this is a street drink so that you can only find it at drink stall on the streets. I would like to recommend you to drink coconut water with kumquat at:
- 246A Pasteur Street, Ward 8, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 10:00 – 23:00; Prices: 12,000 VND.
- Turtle Lake, connecting Pham Ngoc Thach Street, Pham Ngoc Thach Street, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.
4. Chinese detox and refreshing drink
Chinese people believe being hot isn’t good for health. So that they have created many recipes of drinks that help to detoxify the human body. This kind of drink is black and served in a small bowl. It’s a little bitter so that some people couldn’t drink it. Chinese detox and refreshing drink could be found easily at drink stalls in China Town area (Cholon) in District 5.
5. Chinese herbal teas
These kinds of Chinese drinks are delicious and healthy. They are great choices to counter body headiness. Herbal tea is cooked from many natural ingredients: dried sugar cane, lemon root, corn silk, pandanus, plantago, siraitia grosvenorii, rock sugar, and corn silk… There are 2 main groups of herbal teas: sweet drink and bitter drink.
After cooking all ingredients with water in a pot for a few hours, we will receive light sweet and delicious herbal tea. On Saigon streets, you can easily find metal rolling carts that sell iced herbal teas with cheap price.
Best places to drink Chinese herbal tea in Ho Chi Minh City
- Sâm Đông Y Khiết, 1 Block B, Apartment Building 518 Vo Van Kiet Street, Cau Kho Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 11:30 – 22:30; Prices: 20,000 – 25,000 VND; Highlight: many extras including dried longan, mint, dried rose, butterfly pea blue flower are added.
- Nước Sâm Hoà Hưng, 480 Ba Hat Street, Ward 8, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:30 – 21:00; Prices: 15,000 – 20,000 VND.
- Nước Mát Hồ Lô Vàng, 315 Tran Hung Dao Street, Ward 10, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 15:00 – 23:00; Prices: 14,000 VND.
- Nước Mát Thảo Dược, 308 Tran Hung Dao Street, Ward 11, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 – 22:30; Prices: 13,000 – 15,000 VND.
- Hồng Phong, 154 Le Hong Phong Street, Ward 3, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 – 23:00; Prices: 13,000 – 18,000 VND. Highlight: 20-year-old stall.
- At the crossroads of Ta Uyen and Tran Quy Street, District 11, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 16:00 – 20:00; Prices: 12,000 – 22,000 VND. Highlight: 50-year-old stall.
6. Iced tea
Iced tea is an extremely cheap drink. It costs from 2,000 VND. It is the most popular drink among Saigon people. In Saigon, everybody drinks iced tea. It’s sold in every drink stall and served in every street food stall or restaurant. Whatever you eat, you can drink a glass of iced tea with it.
A glass of iced tea in Saigon – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
Where to drink iced tea in Ho Chi Minh City perhaps is the simplest question about food and beverage in the city. Almost eating places offer this cheap and refreshing drink. At coffee shops, besides the drink you ordered, they usually bring you a glass of iced tea for free. Iced tea is the best seller drink at small drink stalls on Saigon streets.
Smoothies are made from fresh fruits are very healthy and delicious. Smoothies couldn’t be missed in the list of top drinks in Ho Chi Minh city. There is a vast of smoothie and juice stalls on Saigon streets. The most popular smoothies are made from mango, avocado, jackfruit, strawberry, sapodilla, papaya, dragon fruit, mixed.
Mixed smoothie – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
Although you can easily order a smoothie at a coffee shop or a restaurant, I would like to share with you the best places to drink smoothie in Ho Chi Minh City.
Best places to drink smoothie in Ho Chi Minh City
- 142 Ly Chinh Thang Street, Ward 7, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:00 – 23:00; Prices: 30,000 – 40,000 VND; Highlight: one of the oldest smoothie shops.
- Alley Fruit Cocktail, Alley 177 Ly Tu Trong Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 13:30 – 22:00; Prices: 20,000 – 35,000 VND.
- Banana’s Juice Shop, 102B Le Thi Rieng Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 10:30 – 23:59; Prices: 20,000 – 35,000 VND; Highlights: 50 choices of smoothies.
- Nước Ép Anh Phán, 60 Nguyen Thai Binh Street, Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 21:30; Prices: 35,000 – 50,000 VND; Highlights: 50 choices of smoothies and juices, or a custom drink.
- Five Boys Smoothie, 84/7 Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:00 – 10:30; Prices: 20,000 – 70,000 VND.
8. Fruit juice
Although fruit juices are popular around the world, fruit juices from fresh local fruits are not only healthy but also flavorful and refreshing. There are many fruit juice stalls and shops which offer dozens of kinds of juices on the streets for your choice. Tomato, carrot, cherry, apple, guava, pineapple, apple, watermelon, grapefruit.. are used to make savory drinks.
- Nước Ép Anh Phán, 60 Nguyen Thai Binh Street, Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 21:30; Prices: 35,000 – 50,000 VND.
- Juice Bar Vietnam, 58/17 Pham Ngoc Thach Street, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 – 20:00; Prices: 20,000 – 70,000 VND.
9. Sugarcane juice
Sugarcane juice is one of the oldest drinks in Saigon. No one drinks this kind of juice without ice. Sugarcane juice is consumed popularly in Saigon due to its known health benefits, cheap price, and fantastic flavor. Not only does it give you that instant boost of energy, but if drunk when cold, it helps to cool down the body during the harsh summers. Many years ago, vendors used hand cane crusher to get juice from sugar cane. The image has stayed in the minds of many generations of Saigon people.
A plastic glass of sugarcane juice with ice – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
How to make sugarcane juice in Vietnam? Video by Scooter Saigon Tour
There has been a movement to selling sugarcane juice in white foam cups and it’s got a kumquat juice taste as commonly seen in Vietnam today. They also add lime juice, durian, strawberry, apple…to make the drink tastier.
Best places to drink sugarcane juice in Ho Chi Minh City:
- Lá Xanh, 205 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Cau Ong Lanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 – 20:30; Prices: 10,000 – 45,000 VND; Highlights: sugarcane juice with fruits (coconut milk, durian, lime juice and salt-preserved lime, kumquat, pineapple, orange juice, etc.).
- 125A Phan Dinh Phung Street, Ward 17, Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City; in Phu Nhuan District; Opening hours: 09:00 – 22:00; Prices: 12,000 – 15,000 VND; Highlights: over 50 years.
- Langon (or The Coffee Ship), 759 Tran Xuan Soan Street, Tan Hung Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 – 20:30; Prices: 10,000 – 45,000 VND; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCoffeeShip.vn; Highlights: floating on an old ship on Te Channel.
- 30 Co Giang Street, Cau Ong Lanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 – 22:00; Prices: 10,000 – 30,000 VND.
- Vuon Cau, 259A, Highway 22, Tan Thong Hoi Ward, Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 06:30 – 20:00; Prices: 3,000 – 15,000 VND; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NuocMiaVuonCau.
10. Soy milk
The healthy and tasty soy sauce – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
Soy milk is a healthy drink and has been a favorite of Saigon people for many years. They drink soy milk warm, cold, or with some ice. Some prefer to drink it with sugar and other extras such as chocolate, pandan juice, tea powder, coffee, egg, tapioca pearl, cocoa while the other like plain soy milk.
Best places to drink Soy milk in Ho Chi Minh City
- Sữa Tươi Mười, 10 Phung Khac Khoan Street, Da Kao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 6:00 – 11:00; Prices: 6,000 – 15,000 VND.
- Sữa Đậu Nành Hòa Hưng, 79 Hoa Hung Street, Ward 12, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 15:00 – 22:00; Prices: 6,000 – 22,000 VND; Highlights: many extras add to soy milk.
- Sữa Đậu Nành Bạc Hà, on the pavement at 710 Nguyen Trai Street, Ward 11, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 19:00 – 23:00; Prices: 15,000 – 22,000 VND; Highlights: smelling soy milk with mint.
- Soya Garden, 27B Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Da Kao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:00 – 23:00; Prices: 39,000 – 69,000 VND; Highlights: a franchise with lots of soya milk shops in Vietnam, beautifully decorated, diverse menu.
11. Lotus seed milk, Corn milk, Mung bean milk, Peanut milk, Aloe Vera Drink
Corn milk – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
Beside Soy milk, Vietnamese people have created lots of drink recipes from seeds, beans and aloe vera. These drinks are healthy and comfortable. Hot milk warms your body on cold and rainy days, cold and iced milk can help to refresh your self on hot days. The drinks are usually sold on the streets and at many restaurants. I would like to recommend to buy bottles of Lotus seed milk, Corn milk, Mung bean milk, Peanut milk, Aloe vera drink in supermarkets or convenience stores. The prices are from 15,000 VND/bottle.
12. Centella Asiatica juice
Although Centella Asiatica juice is a little bitter and has a strange taste, it is very healthy and refreshing. They also add coconut milk, mung bean paste, avocado, durian, milk to make the drink more flavorful. You can drink this juice at:
Phúc Rau Má, 196 Xom Dat Street, Ward 10, District 11, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 12:30 – 23:00; Prices: 8,000 – 25,000 VND.
Bột chiên Đạt Thành, 277 Vo Van Tan Street, Ward 5, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 12:30 – 23:00; Prices: 8,000 – 25,000 VND.
Vietnamese iced milk coffee – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
Coffee is a big part of Saigon and it is a long story about this drink. Check out The Ultimate Guide to Vietnamese Coffee in Ho Chi Minh City for types of coffees and best places to drink coffees in the city.
Locations and Opening hours of Supermarkets and Convenience Stores Where to buy drinks in Ho Chi Minh City?
Supermarkets near tourist areas in the city are as below:
- Vinmart, Vincom Center, 72 Le Thanh Ton Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; 500 m from Notre Dame Cathedral; Opening hours: 9:30 – 22:00;
- Coopmart Cong Quynh, 189C Cong Quynh Street, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, 700 m from Bui Vien Street – Backpacker Area; Opening hours: 9:30 – 22:00.
Convenience Stores are popular in the city center, Circle K, Vinmart +, B’s Mart. The plus of Circle K is that the stores are open 24/24:
- Circle K, 45 Ly Tu Trong Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; 500 m from Notre Dame Cathedral.
- Circle K, 40 Thu Khoa Huan Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; 160 m from Ben Thanh Market.
- Circle K, 201 Pham Ngu Lao Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; right in the Saigon Backpacker Area.
What can be bought at the above places: fresh coconut water, soft drinks including Coca-cola, Soy milk, Corn milk, Lotus milk.
How to eat and drink the city to its fullest? A Saigon food tour is a good choice to enjoy the best foods and drinks within a few hours with a local guide.