It's been three months since I went to Vietnam. For an entire week, Johnny and I scootered around Saigon, and then a few days down the Mekong Delta. It was an unforgettable trip, that I have yet to recount here. Once I get all the photographs organized, I'll write a big post about all our meals, I promise. I have not forgotten, my Umami Mart friends!
On my first day in Saigon, I discovered nuoc mia which is 100% sugarcane juice. It was sweltering outside, and we ducked into the labyrinthian Ben Thanh Market in the middle of the city. The market was cramped with food stalls, fresh meats and parts, durian (ick), pajamas, scooter helmets, knick-knacks -- anything you could possibly need for life in Saigon.
We sat down for a quick snack, and I saw the stall serving a frothy bright yellow drink in plastic cups. I had to have one.
This was my introduction to nuoc mia, a semi-sweet, tropical, refreshing drink that is perfect for the HOT HOT days and nights. The sugarcane produces a really musty, tropical flavor. The froth is irresistable.
Whenever we took a break from walking around the city, Johnny always ordered his cafe su da (Vietnamese iced coffee), and I would order a nuoc mia. Instead of a morning coffee, I started my day with this drink, and I would often have a few throughout the day.
Nuoc mia and summer rolls.
After a few days in Saigon, we scootered south towards the Mekong Delta. I hadn't had my nuoc mia that day yet, so we stopped off at the side of the road when I saw a nuoc mia stand.
That is the machine to grind the sugarcane. The sugarcane gets pressed through a few times until there is no liquid left. The sugarcane carcasses are left in a pile in front of the machine.
Lady preparing the sugarcane for juicing
Johnny got into a little bit of a scooter accident when we were getting off the road for the nuoc mia...
I silently drank my nuoc mia while watching the scooters pass by.
The scooter population was NUTS in Vietnam. People would just get off the side of the road for their nuoc mia fix, and take it togo in plastic bags, like above.
Here's another scooter break in the Mekong.
Out of probably 30 nuoc mias I had during my week in Vietnam, this here was my favorite.
The peanuts added a complimentary savoriness to the semi-sweet drink. I say semi-sweet cause it really was not overly sweet -- it just tasted like sugar water, with a bit of vegetal funk, if you can imagine that.
Can't wait to go back someday for my nuoc mia fix!