Top 5 dishes to cool down the summer heat | Saigon Food Tour
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There is no need to say much about the heat of summer in tropical countries, right? It is burning hot with lots of sunshine and high humidity. On these days, except diving into the cool sea water of a stunning beach, nothing is more wonderful than taking a sip of an iced water or having a bite of a cool food. Let’s take a Saigon food tour to sample the amazing dishes in summer retreat.
1. “Trà tắc” (Kumquat tea).
This drink has been driving the whole city crazy this summer. During the summer day, the temperature might reach 40℃. While people have to involve in the traffic or work outdoor, finding an exceptionally cool drink to dispel the thirst is their priority.
“Trà tắc” is a familiar drink in Vietnam, especially in Saigon. It is simply a drink made from tea, kumquat, honey (or sugar). Different to other drink which is served in only small-sized bottles, “trà tắc” is often sold in huge cups (up to 1 liter). It is not a luxurious drink that you need to come to the large drink shop to buy but you can easily get it on the street vendors. Maybe just in a few seconds when waiting for the green light, you can get one fast and furiously.
More appealingly, the price for a huge cup of “trà tắc” is extraordinarily cheap. It’s only 10,000 – 15,000 VND (under $1) for a 1-liter cup. Both cheap and tasteful, this is definitely a must-try street food of Saigon that travelers should never miss.
2. “Dừa tắc” (Coconut milk with kumquat).
It seems like kumquat has taken control of Saigon cuisine in summer as it is an integral part of many different foods and drinks. Besides “trà tắc”, “dừa tắc” is another amazing drink made from this small and familiar fruit.
Coconut milk is a familiar summer drink in Asia, especially in South Vietnam, which is said to be the paradise of coconut. Coconut milk is cheap, clean, and sweet. It is even tastier when being cooled down in the refrigerator.
Wanting to create a difference, Saigon people try putting some kumquat juice into the coconut milk. The fragrance from kumquat has incredibly added a flavorful taste into the coconut milk, turning it into a favorite summer drink for Saigon foodies.
A Saigon food tour in summer will never be complete without trying flan – a favorite dessert of the locals.
This is not a strange or unique dish of Saigon; flan is actually a popular western dessert made from egg, sugar, and milk. However, when it comes to Saigon version, flan becomes tastier as the locals add the coffee into it. Saigoners pour black coffee onto the cake, creating a perfect blend of the fatness of egg & milk and the bitterness of coffee. This strange taste, when comes with ice, is amazingly scrumptious.
Aside from the conventional caramel, the ice-blended flan is said to be a must-sample in this summer. The average price for a plate of flan is around 20,000 VND.
4. “Chè” (Vietnamese sweet soup).
It would be a big loss if “chè” is not listed in the to-try list for your Saigon culinary tour. Even when there appear more and more new and tasty desserts, “chè” is still an indispensable part of summer.
This Vietnamese sweet soup varies in taste and ingredients. There are tens of “chè” dishes to try such as “chè bưởi” (with pomelo) “chè hạt sen” (with lotus seed”), “chè đậu” (with mung beans), “chè thập cẩm” (mixed “chè”), etc. Foodies can also sample the special Chinese or Cambodian “chè”.
“Chè” can be found in the street stalls or in the local markets, with the price ranging from 10,000 – 20,000 VND.
5. “Nước mía” (sugarcane juice).
“Nước mía” is a familiar drink all over Vietnam, not just in Saigon. Once appeared in a Korean food show (Battle Trip), this drink easily surprised the tasters thanks to its simple yet fresh flavor.
In Vietnam, sugarcane is not simply an ingredient to make sugar but it is also a favorite food of the locals. You might catch the image of people holding a sugarcane stick and chewing it when crossing the streets. Not only is it a favorite food for summer, but people also love it in the winter. If you travel to the North in the cold season, you might see the locals grilling sugarcane to eat, as it is exceptionally warm and nutritious.
In the past, people tore apart the rind of the sugarcane and eat the inner part, which is exhausting and might make your mouth injured. Then the locals squeeze the juice out by machine. The juice is light green and sweet. Put some ice into the cups, a wonderful drink is complete.
It costs only 10,000 VND for a cup of this cool juice.
The foods and drinks above are undoubtedly great coolers for the hot summer days in Saigon. Do not hide inside your house, step outside and challenge the summer with these fresh desserts!