Nuoc Mia, or Sugar-cane Juice – A Refreshing Drink in Vietnam

Rachel Tran
Rachel Tran | Published: February 11, 2020

In the hot weather like Vietnam, people know sugar-cane juice as a natural beverage that is delicious and cheap. Therefore, sugar-cane juice is so popular in Vietnam and is available at most small street stalls, often sold alongside other popular beverages. The juice is served from distinctive metal carts with a crank-powered sugar cane stalk crushers that release the juice.

    Origin: Southeast
    Usual price: VND 10.000 - VND 20.000
    Vegetarianity: Vegan

What is Sugar-cane Juice in Vietnam Like?

There used to be a vendor that would make freshly squeezed sugar-cane juice. Previously, sugar-cane juice was sold in small plastic bags filled with ice and tied at the open end with an elastic band around a straw. Buyers could then suck the drink out through the straw. There has been movement to selling sugar cane-juice in white foam cups and it’s got a slight lime taste to it as commonly seen in Vietnam today.

How is Sugarcane Juice made?

Vietnam ranks as one of leading producers of sugarcane in the world. That’s why sugar cane juice is such a popular drink in Vietnam, especially on harsh days of summer. Local people often call it “nước mía”. After being cut down and peeled, the sugar canes are cut into 50-centimeter segments. Sellers often use a manual or an electric machine to extract the juice from these sugar canes. Each segment is placed between the two opposite rotating rollers of the machine.

For the manual machine, the sellers must use their hand to wheel on. The process is easier with an electric machine because they just need to push the start button and everything is done. The juice is extracted and flows into a big cup while the grinding residues are thrown away. The ingredients to make a cup of sugar cane juice are very simple, with just peeled sugarcane. In some stalls, the sellers will add some kumquat to create citrus fragrance and boost the sweet flavor of the juice, bringing it to a whole new level.

Why is Sugar-cane Juice Popular?

  • Cheap Price

This drink doesn’t cost you much to get a cup of it. Looking for a cheap and nutritious beverage, you should not ignore sugarcane juice in Vietnam. The price is just VND 10.000 – VND 15.000 depends one the size that you want. In some stalls, you can add another fruit, the price will be around VND 15.000 – 25.000.

  • Good for Your Health

Though its price is very cheap, Sugarcane juice is extremely good for your health. Containing many nutritious value, it can boost your energy up after a long day of wandering around the streets. If you feel tired and thirsty, let’s try sugarcane juice, you will surely be awake. In a cup of the juice, there is a great deal of protein, antioxidants and minerals. It means it is very beneficial for your skin and helps you prevent pimples and acne.

  • Freshly Made

Because it is an instant beverage, it is freshly made. Most sellers don’t make it before customers buy it. They usually make the juice when they receive orders. It would need around 2 to 3 sugarcane stalks to make a half liter of sugarcane juice.

Where to Buy It?

Sugarcane juice can be found in small vendors in most streets of Vietnam. Walking down the street, you can see many buckets of sugar cane stalks in front of the stalls or the signature crashing machines. Or, to make it easier, find the ones with the word “nước mía”. Just head to these stalls and ask for sugarcane juice. 

Recently, you can add some extras to your cup of the juice such as popular kumquat (a kind of sour fruit with familiar mandarin smells) or durian and bean. It will be much more tasty to add these, so don’t forget to ask the sellers about the options. Normally, sugarcane juice is sold in a small plastic cup with a straw for takeaway. We suggest you drink at the stalls with a glass so we could protect the environment.

Here are some most famous places for sugarcane juice in Vietnam:

  • Co Gam – Nuoc Mia Tran Chau

Location: 37E Hang Vai street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi

Price: VND 13.000 – VND 18.000

Suggested drink: sugarcane juice with coconut and bubbles

  • Nuoc Mia Hang Dieu

Location: 77 Hang Dieu street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi

Price: VND 10.000 – VND 20.000

Suggested drink: sugarcane juice with kumquat

  • Nuoc Mia Vuon Cau

Location: 259A, National Route 22, Tan Thong Hoi, Cu Chi district, Ho Chi Minh

Price: VND 10.000 – VND 20.000

Suggested drink: sugarcane juice with durian 

Now, you can feel free to enjoy a glass of sugar-cane juice (considered the second best drink in the world after the orange juice) and you do not have to worry whether it meet the standard of food safety or not.

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