LEMON TEA AND GREEN TEA IN VIETNAM
Trà (tea) is the holy grail of drinks here in Vietnam. There are two types of trà that us Vietnamese love more than any other beverage: green tea (trà xanh) and lemon tea (trà chanh).
OUR CUPS OF TEA: LEMON TEA AND GREEN TEA
Green tea is basically authentic green tea in a small glass, most of the time served with ice. The same type of trà used to make this drink can also be drunk boiling hot during winter days. On the other hand, lemon tea comes in a larger glass with lemon juice and sugar added to taste, and is solely served on the purpose of blowing out heat. Green tea has a strong, bitter and original tea fragrance, while lemon tea has a lighter, yet more vibrant taste. The former should cost you no more than 2,000-3,000 VND, while the latter is worth about 10,000-15,000.
Lemon tea and green tea. CREDIT: khoemanh.vn – chebuptancuong.com
INTEGRATED INTO THE CULTURE
When it comes to Vietnamese street drinking culture, having a cup of iced green tea at a quán cóc (tea stall) on the pavement is the thing to do. Tea stalls are everywhere: near bus stops, in front of schools and offices’ gates, or even in quiet alleys’ corners. Thus, it is so common that the locals have a saying: “In Vietnam, you can see a tea stall with every step”. Wandering around Vietnam’s streets, we catch the sight of tea stalls with thermoses, candy jars, tobacco pipes, and several short-legged plastic chairs. People often sit around such roadside-make-shift stores to have some rest, start small conversations with each other and drink a cup of refreshing trà đá (iced green tea). While smoking cigarettes, eating peanut candies and sharing from daily stories to the city’s latest news, strangers gradually become endearing friends.
A tea stall in Hanoi. CREDIT: blog.bizweb.vn
On summer evenings, groups of youngsters gather at Saint Joseph Cathedral – the most boisterous and exciting place in Hanoi to drink trà chanh (lemon tea). Over glasses of tea and a small dish of roasted sunflower seeds, they can talk for hours on end. Yet, the tea stalls only get more crowded as the evening gets old: even passers-by pause at those side-walk shops to have some quick refreshments and moments of relaxation after a long day at work. Indeed, trà chanh is so favored that it has become a slang widely used to mean “hang out”.
Even in the countryside, it is typical for the locals to meet at the villages’ gates, chat merrily and sip tea from porcelain bowls. Therefore, it goes without saying that tea has immersed into Vietnamese culture and become a symbol of our lifestyles.
A TIME-HONORED PRACTICE
The first tea plant was found thousands of years ago, in the border between Vietnam’s northern mountains and China’s provinces. From a little plant, it grew into endless tea fields spreading along our tea-producing history. Over the course of time, tea penetrates in every generation’s lives and occupies an irreplaceable role in Vietnamese traditions.
Consuming tea is regarded as a noble pastime. It is an escape from daily, petty concerns and a door to inner peace. Vietnamese believe that drinking tea is a means of expressing hospitality and binding everyone together. It is a part of the social norm to invite friends and neighbors to one’s house and bring them tea to show the host’s friendliness. There is nothing that can’t be settled over a cup of green tea, whether it is disharmony or quarrels.
THE HOW-TO GUIDE TO VIETNAMESE MOST POPULAR DRINKS: TRÀ XANH (GREEN TEA) AND TRÀ CHANH (LEMON TEA)
|CHOOSING THE GOOD TEA
Do you know that fresh air gives tea extra flavor? In Vietnam, it is best to pick tea at the crack of dawn when tea leaves are still fresh with morning dews. Spring harvests are generally more loved, since the tea’s aroma, textures and aftertastes tend to be delicate and subtle to the palates.You can buy Vietnamese tea from Amazon. Click here to check the price.
|MAKING GREEN TEA…
Is a piece of cake! While choosing the right green tea is an art, making tea requires almost no effort at all. Just simply use hot water to wet the tea leaves and then steep and boil them in a tea pot or a flask. After 15 minutes, your green tea is ready to go. Then, drink it hot or add in jasmine flowers, pure water and ice to taste.
|BEATING THE HEAT WITH ICED LEMON TEA
-Above green tea