What: Vietnamese-style salty lemonade at Crispy Banh Mi. Cost: $3.75 for a 16-ounce serving.
OK, I didn’t eat it, I drank it. But beverages can make me just as happy as sandwiches. And Vietnamese-style salty lemonade is something that sounds strange – you might not try it unless someone coaxes you.
I learned about the super-sweet/super-fresh lemonades of Vietnam years ago, from a friend. In a country with basically two seasons – hot and hotter – cool drinks are life-savers, and everyone drinks lemonades and limeades that are just freshly squeezed fruit over ice with simple syrup and just a little water. The melting ice dilutes it.
But salty lemonade? That’s another taste sensation entirely.
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It’s made from salt-pickled lemons (or limes, you can find both) called chanh muoi. You can make salty lemonade by just adding salt to lemonade, but the pickled lemons get the balance just right.
At Crispy, they make it with salt-pickled lemons and squeeze a lime into the glass to finish it off. It’s sweet, tart and salty, all at the same time. It’s surprisingly thirst-quenching, especially when you’ve been sweating a lot. Have it with a banh mi, the small Vietnamese sandwiches that often have whole slices of jalapeno. Both will help you shake off the heat and get on with your afternoon.
What else have we loved in July?