Soda Chanh (Lemon Soda)


  • For simple syrup:
  • 2 cups sugar (to make 1 cup simple syrup)
  • 2 cups water
  • For soda:
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ice cubes or crushed ice
  • 6 cups sparkling water or club soda


  1. To make the simple syrup, combine 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Continue cooking without stirring for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is clear and the consistency of light syrup.
  4. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool completely.
  5. Either use immediately or pour into a clean, dry jar and refrigerate, covered tightly, until ready to use. Makes about 2½ cups.
  6. To make lemon soda: In a pitcher, combine 1 cup simple syrup and lemon juice. Stir to mix well.
  7. Fill six glasses with crushed ice; then pour ¼ cup of lemon syrup in each glass. Fill the rest of the way with sparkling water, stir, and serve immediately.
Serves 6.
In southern Vietnam, it is impolite for visitors to refuse a meal. If guests are not hungry, they may excuse themselves by explaining that they have eaten very recently, and then sit down with the hosts and keep them company during the meal. Polite guests will take a small amount so as not to insult their hosts.
In northern Vietnam, the situation is reversed. Invitations to join someone for a meal should always be refused unless they have been repeated many times. This custom most likely stems from the fact that, historically, people in the north did not have enough food to feed an extra mouth. Even though invitations are extended out of courtesy, a guest is expected to refuse them.
Vietnamese city dwellers frequently eat meals outside the home. For example, pho bo is available on almost every street corner in the morning, and there are spring rolls or pork meatball kabobs later in the day. The cost of meals outside the home can vary widely depending on the type of establishment in which they are purchased. A street vendor meal (the Vietnamese equivalent of "fast food") might cost US$1 to 2, whereas a meal in a sit-down restaurant ranges from US$4 to 8 per person. At the most exclusive restaurants, an elaborate meal could run as high as US$40 per person.
A typical "lunchbox" type item in Vietnam would be spring rolls, which can be prepared in advance and wrapped in plastic wrap to be eaten out of hand later.

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