Have you ever had a "Nước Sâm" on a hot day?
This black-colored drink is a quite typical beverage in Saigon that one usually drinks with ice and no sugar. This herbal tea is healthy and tonic as it is made from as much as 24 different herbal plants. It is the perfect way to cool down on a hot day.
After drinking this special dark cocktail, you will feel like your whole body has been recharged and revived.
But what is it made of? It turns out the main ingredients seem quite strange to put together: sugar cane, seaweed, corn silk, artichoke and chrysanthemum. There are many different kinds of "Nuoc Sam", some of which even include nettle leaves, grass roots, liquorice, dried longan, coriander or roasted water chestnuts! Each ingredient holds a special medicinal or restorative purpose and while some people love this bitter-flavored herbal drink, some other will prefer to add a little bit of sugar.
This drink (that seems almost magical at this point) is also known for helping with congestive heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure and constipation.
Seriously, you're still here? What on earth are you waiting for? Grab one of these amazing herbal drinks and let it revitalize your body right on the spot!
If you are one of those DIY people, why not just buy the ingredients in an oriental medicine shop along Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street in District 5? Afterwards, boil them in water and let the mixture cool down in open air, then put in the fridge for later use. On the other hand, if you do not have time for this, you can always buy it in any of the very popular "Nuoc Sam" shops around Cholon.
When being really thirsty in Cholon, stopping for "Nuoc Sam" becomes a matter of life and death. So next time you get there, stop at the popular “Hữu Duyên” shop to have some "Nuoc Sam". The woman in charge of the shop has been working here for 10 years and told us she sells up to 20 liters of Nuoc Sam per day. We questioned her in vain to get the details of her own recipe.... Her secret stays a mystery. Fair enough.