Sugarcane Juice in Vietnam (Nuoc Mia): A 2023 Traveler's Guide

Sugarcane Juice in Vietnam (Nuoc Mia): A 2023 Traveler's Guide

Wondering how to savor sugarcane juice in Vietnam just like a local? Look no further – the answers are right here! Whether you're reading this article now or saving it for later, you'll have an invaluable guide at your fingertips. It covers everything from the flavor of Vietnamese sugarcane juice to where to find it, local customs, important dos and don'ts, and much more.

This information will prove incredibly beneficial for your journey through Vietnam, especially since sugarcane juice ranks among the top Vietnamese beverages, making it a must-try. So, are you ready to uncover the secret to staying refreshingly cool in the tropical heat?

How Do Vietnamese People Buy Sugarcane Juice?

First and foremost, it's important to note that the term "sugarcane juice" can be somewhat misleading, as per the FDA (1). In Vietnam, it is commonly referred to as "sugarcane drink," which is essentially a translation of the same term. For simplicity's sake, we'll continue to use the term "sugarcane juice" in this discussion.

Sugarcane juice holds a cherished place among Vietnam's favorite beverages, and it's typically served ice-cold. Thanks to its refreshing qualities, you can find it available at almost every corner throughout Vietnam, particularly on hot and humid days. However, locating this beverage during the winter months can be more challenging, especially in the northern region.

The primary purveyors of this non-alcoholic delight in Vietnam are street vendors and roadside stalls. It's a common practice for locals to make a quick stop, purchase a cup of sugarcane juice, and continue on their way. While many places specialize exclusively in sugarcane juice, some also offer it alongside other cooling beverages.

Additionally, you may come across sugarcane juice in cafes, juice bars, and occasionally in restaurants. Nevertheless, most Vietnamese individuals view freshly pressed sugarcane juice as an affordable and convenient drink to enjoy on the go, so consuming it in a formal dining setting might appear somewhat extravagant.

The best sugarcane juice in Vietnam should be bought on the street.

A Closer Look At Vietnamese Sugarcane Juice

Vietnam stands out as one of the world's major sugarcane producers, cultivating various sugarcane cultivars across the country. Consequently, the characteristics of sugarcane juice can vary from region to region.

However, in general, Vietnamese sugarcane juice exhibits a vibrant golden hue tinged with hints of dark green. Over time, as it undergoes oxidation, the color gradually deepens, taking on a more brownish tone.

Authentic Vietnamese sugarcane juice should also possess a certain opaqueness. Clear-looking sugarcane juice often indicates heavy dilution and tends to be less flavorful. Additionally, a distinguishing feature of high-quality sugarcane juice in Vietnam is the presence of a white foam atop the beverage, a characteristic that is exclusive to freshly prepared drinks. The thickness of this foam serves as an indicator of the juice's delectability, with thicker foam being associated with more flavorful juice.

High-quality sugarcane juice must have a lot of foamy bubbles on top.

Vietnamese Sugarcane Juice: A Dance Of Flavors

Sugarcane juice in Vietnam offers a distinctive flavor profile, characterized by a deep sweetness underscored by grassy notes and subtle hints of green fruits. While it naturally possesses a sweet taste, some street vendors may enhance its sweetness by adding extra white sugar.

In Vietnam, pure sugarcane juice is a popular choice, but locals often infuse it with other ingredients to elevate its flavor. Traditional options include kumquat juice and salt, which impart a delightful blend of tanginess and spiciness to the beverage.

The combination of sugarcane juice and kumquat juice enjoys immense popularity in Northern Vietnam, with locals holding it in high regard, leaving little room for other variations to compete.

For those seeking a more complex and diverse flavor experience, many Vietnamese vendors offer sugarcane juice infused with roasted peanuts, jelly, mung beans, or coconut milk. These innovative concoctions are more readily available in Southern Vietnam compared to other regions.

Fresh fruits also serve as favored toppings for local sugarcane juice, with jackfruits and pineapples being common choices. However, adventurous food enthusiasts can explore creamy durian-blended sugarcane juice, an exotic delicacy that has gained popularity in the Southern region.

Whether you're in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, or My Tho (Tien Giang Province), you'll find a wealth of delightful sugarcane-based beverages to savor in Vietnam.

My Tho sugarcane juice in Southern Vietnam is known for its diverse toppings.

The Making Of Vietnamese Sugarcane Juice In Vietnam

Street vendors have to press sugarcane a few times to extract its juice completely.

Sugarcane juice vendors are a common sight on the bustling streets of Vietnam. They can often be found stationed next to their portable sugarcane juice presses, eagerly awaiting potential customers. These machines typically come equipped with either hand-cranked or electric engines, although the former has become somewhat obsolete and is rarely seen today.

When a customer places an order for a refreshing glass of sugarcane juice, the vendor begins the process by placing peeled sugarcane batons into the machine and operating it. The sugarcane is meticulously crushed between the rollers, ensuring that every last drop of juice is expertly extracted.

For those who prefer a zesty twist, kumquats can be pressed along with the sugarcane. The final touch involves pouring the freshly squeezed juice into a cup filled with ice, creating the perfect chilled beverage. The remaining pulpy residue from the sugarcane is collected in a box either behind or in front of the sugarcane juice press.

In cafes and restaurants, sugarcane juice is typically prepared in advance and stored in refrigeration until it's ready to be served. However, many enthusiasts attest that the flavor of freshly made sugarcane juice from the sidewalk vendors far surpasses the pre-prepared version found in formal dining establishments.

Now, you might be wondering, "Can I recreate Vietnamese-style sugarcane juice at home?" The answer is yes, but it may require a significant investment, as the most authentic method involves using a dedicated sugarcane juice press.

To prepare this delightful beverage at home, you simply need to extract the juice from fresh sugarcane, optionally adding kumquat juice or your preferred flavorings, and serving it over ice. Alternatively, you can cut sugarcane batons into small pieces, grind them into a coarse mass using a quality food processor, and then manually squeeze the juice out.

Top Reasons For The Popularity Of Sugarcane Juice

Sugarcane juice holds a special place in the hearts of many Vietnamese people, and it's not without reason. However, if you're new to this delightful treat, understanding its merits will enhance your appreciation of it.

Sugarcane juice is a popular drink in many tropical countries, including Vietnam.

Health Benefits

Sugarcane juice is low in fats, sodium, and cholesterol, making it a healthy choice. It's rich in essential nutrients like vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants, and various minerals, including potassium, zinc, calcium, and magnesium.

These nutritional qualities contribute to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, benefiting organs like the liver, kidneys, and digestive system. Additionally, sugarcane juice can help improve skin conditions such as acne, promoting a radiant appearance.

However, it's important to note that this beverage is high in sugar and calories. While it provides a quick energy boost, individuals with diabetes should exercise caution when consuming it.

Unprocessed sugarcane juice has a lot of health benefits.

Amazing Taste And Refreshing Quality

The combination of sugarcane's grassy sweetness and the refreshing chill of ice creates a tantalizing beverage perfect for a hot summer day. As the ice slowly melts and blends with the juice, it enhances the overall flavor, creating a delightful and mellow taste that's truly irresistible. The inherent freshness of sugarcane juice only adds to its allure, making it a top choice for staying cool and refreshed in the heat.

Vietnam-made sugarcane juice is often enriched with kumquat juice for a better taste.

Low Price

Sugarcane juice stands out as one of the most budget-friendly beverages in Vietnam. For the price you'd typically pay for a to-go coffee or a cup of Cà phê sữa đá (Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk), you can enjoy a serving of sugarcane juice that's two to three times larger. Its affordability, combined with its infrequent appearance in high-end restaurants and cafes, solidifies its status as an accessible and economical drink for people of all backgrounds.

Sugarcane juice is cheaper than most beverages in Vietnam.


In Vietnam, you can run, but you can’t hide from fresh sugarcane juice!

No matter where you travel in Vietnam, whether it's the North or the South, the countryside or a bustling city, you'll always have a high chance of encountering a sugarcane juice vendor just around the corner. This delightful drink is truly a ubiquitous street food item in Vietnam.

So, when you're unsure about what to quench your thirst with, simply stroll along a busy street, and you'll likely stumble upon a sugarcane juice stall waiting to tantalize your taste buds!

Moreover, Vietnam's major travel routes are often adorned with places selling this refreshing drink for travelers. As you explore the beauty of the country, you may find a fantastic sugarcane juice stand to refresh yourself.

For those visiting Ho Chi Minh City, Ben Thanh Market is one of the best places to savor authentic Vietnamese sugarcane juice

Drink Sugarcane Juice At The Right Time

Drinking a glass of ice-cold sugarcane juice in the heat isn’t a good thing to do since there is a risk of sending your body into a state of shock. Wait until you get to someplace with cooler temperatures to enjoy your drink.

In addition, Vietnamese people think that sugarcane juice shouldn’t be drunk at night or in the early morning, or you may get an upset stomach. However, since there is a large number of nighttime sugarcane juice stands in Vietnam, that rule is difficult to obey.

Order Sugarcane Juice With Less Or No Sugar

While not many vendors add sugar to this type of drink, it's always a good idea to be cautious. If you prefer your sugarcane juice without kumquat juice or any additional ingredients, be sure to inform your vendor beforehand.

Vietnam-made sugarcane juice often comes in plastic cups.

Sip On The Sweetness Of Vietnam With Sugarcane Juice

While sugarcane juice is available in many countries worldwide, Vietnam offers a unique and exceptional experience for enjoying this drink. From the unparalleled freshness of the classic version to exotic variations that will exceed your wildest expectations, Vietnam is truly a paradise for sugarcane juice enthusiasts.

By following the tips mentioned in this post, you can ensure that your days in Vietnam are as sweet as the sugarcane juice you're savoring. Don't forget to share this article with your friends, and if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section. Goodbye, and see you soon!


  1. Ingredients Declared as Evaporated Cane Juice: Guidance for Industry. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, US Food and Drug Administration. 1 May 2016.
  2. Sugarcane drinks: Types, health benefits, and more (no date) WebMD. WebMD.