July 3, 2015

Vietnamese Preserved Lemons (Chanh Muối) and Salty Lemonade | Garden Betty

Vietnamese Preserved Lemons (Chanh Muối) and Salty Lemonade | Garden Betty

About a month ago, my wife and I had the opportunity for a date night. Those don’t come around too, too often. But it did that night. It was a Wednesday, and the kids had a youth group event. We were in the mood for Pho and decided tried a new Vietnamese restaurant in Covington called Pho V & V. It’s been around for a while, so it wasn’t really new… just new to us.

Small, quaint, family-owned, Pho V & V was a delight. The cozy atmosphere and friendly service instilled in us the hope that the food would be equally impressive. And it was.

When we are on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain (the Southshore), we like to go to Tan Dinh to get our Pho fix. Now Pho V & V allows us to get our fix on this side of the lake too.

Looking over the menu as we prepared to order, something caught my eye… something I had never seen before (or at least had never noticed before) on any other menu: Salty Lemonade.

I was intrigued. I couldn’t resist. I ordered one with two straws and my wife and I split it.

It came to the table as tall glass of ice. Under the ice was what looked like muddled lemon with a bit of extra lemon juice. Alongside the glass came a can of Canada Dry club soda. Our waitress indicated that we were to pour the club soda in ourselves and sip from the straws.

We did so and we loved it. It was that salty-sweet flavor that we both love oh so much! I had to know more about it, so our waitress explained that the lemons were actually pickled. They are packed in jars with salt and water for at least a week. To serve, they spoon some of the pickled lemon into a glass, add a bit of simple syrup followed by ice. Top with club soda and… Voila! A salty-sweet, lemony, refreshing lemonade.

Naturally, I had to search out a recipe, and I came across what looks to be an excellent one from Linda at GardenBetty.com. Click on the link below to see straightforward instructions and step-by-step photos of the process.

I plan on making my first batch today!

Vietnamese Preserved Lemons (Chanh Muối) and Salty Lemonade | Garden Betty

Growing up in an Asian family, I’ve seen my fair share of Eastern home remedies. There was the hard-boiled egg that my mom would rub on my bruises to make them go away. There was cạo gió, a method of scraping the skin with menthol oil and a coin to relieve aches and pains. And then there was chanh muối, a drink that can be taken hot or cold for a variety of ailments from nausea to the common cold.

Chanh muối literally translates into “salt lemon.” It is a way of preserving lemons in salt for what seems like practically forever — I have heard of jars sitting on dusty shelves for decades! The preserved lemons and the home remedy drink go by the same name.

And even though the term “home remedy” probably conjures up an unpleasant brew that you ingest because you have to, chanh muối actually makes a very refreshing summertime drink — especially if you’re more of a salt rather than a sweets person, like I am….

Story / Recipe Source: Vietnamese Preserved Lemons (Chanh Muối) and Salty Lemonade | Garden Betty

Featured image courtesy of John Onate on Flickr.com.