Getting fruit smoothies and fresh fruit juice is one of my favorite things to do in Vietnam.
The vibe is just mellow. What you do is, first pick a friend (or if you’re introverted, pick a book, podcast, or app). Then go there and pick a drink. I personally like sinh tố bơ – an avocado smoothie. The smoothies are a bit heavier than the juice, but there are lots of choices, and they’re almost always under 30k.
Is Your Tropical Fruit Smoothie In-Season?
What the shop has depends on what’s in season. So for example, last November, I was getting fresh pomegranate juice (lựu) every weekend. Toward the end of those good times, I got a pomegranate that didn’t taste sweet at all. The guy actually added a bit of sugar to help the taste, but I could tell it wasn’t quite right. Sometimes you gotta just make sure they’re being legitimate with you. Like, if it’s the end of the season and the fruit isn’t so good anymore, just tell me. I’ll order something else. There’s lots on the menu.
Passionfruit (chanh dây) comes to mind. The flavor is so bright and intense. Passionfruit goes well with pineapple (quả dứa). And anyway, don’t even worry about the seasonal fruit thing. Sure, I miss pomegranate, but now avocado is in season, so awesome.
How do they make it? Easy. They just blend it right in front of you. They throw the fruit in the machine. If it’s a smoothie, they’ll add some condensed milk. If it’s thick like avocado, they’ll sometimes give you a spoon with it.
to stay or to mang đi
If you tell them “mang đi,” that means you’d like it to do. To order mang đi, I usually just roll up on my scooter and yell my order at the guy. He puts the drinks in these little cups that you hang from the hooks on your scooter. You pay him and you putt-putt away.
If you want to hang out there, usually they have tables and chairs. I don’t know the Vietnamese word for “eat-in,” so I just point at the table I want.
The place I go to doesn’t have wifi, but some of the more established storefronts will (but not necessarily the outdoor stands with the folding chairs).
What Else to Do
If you really want to fit in, grab a phone, download Liên Quân, and find some noobs to ace. Protip: if you see “nguuuuuuuu” in the chat that means you (or someone on your team) is not very good at the game yet. It means “stupid.” From what I can tell, in Vietnamese gaming, it basically replaces the whole noob/nob/nub family of insults.
Anyway, if you are ever out and about in Vietnam but wondering what to do, consider stopping in somewhere for a smoothie or fruit juice. It’s cheap, healthy, and fun. You get fresh air, people all around you, and unique tropical flavors.