Sugar cane juice (mia da, nuoc mia) is the summer suck of choice in a heated up Hanoi.
Mangled through a metal contraption that would bring tears to most health and safety inspectors' eyeballs, sticky sugar cane rods (and lime halves) produce a stunning light green bevie that momentarily halts the human melt. Served on half a tumbler of crushed ice, this juice is a dentist's dream: really sweet but subtly edged with lime.
Sugar cane can also be bought cubed, like little blocks of wood, and gnawed on as a sugar hit with the woody afterchew being spat out - a fine aerobic workout for the jaw and, get this, apparently good for your fangs! Removes plaque or some such thing. Still awaiting orthodontic verification on that theory!
The crunching amputator-juicer contraption extracts every last drop of liquid from the big sugar sticks as each one is folded and passed through again and again. When all that is left is sticky kindling, it is piled up in front of the machine and sold as....sticky kindling, used by some to start their coal burners for cooking.
Mia da should be bright green and drunk fresh. The darker it is, the further away it is from fresh. The sugar cane shed we patronise goes through hundreds of metres of sticks a day. Ride by take-aways can be had in plastic bags sealed with rubber bands but, for the environment's sake, pull up and sip it from glass.
Two glasses - 4000VND (USD25c, AUD32c)
77 Hang Dieu Street
(a few doors up from Bun Bo Nam Bo)