Thailand Favorites on Ice: Refreshing Drinks

It’s no secret that Thai people love sweets. Well, it just doesn’t apply to Thailand! The love of sweets is quite universal! Every country has their own cultural desserts, cakes, and sweet traditions to celebrate different types of festivals and enjoy the everyday wonders of their cuisine.


One very common way to enjoy sweetness in Thailand is through a myriad of refreshing chilled drinks. The natural tendency in hot weather is to reach for a cool drink and that extra hit of sugar really takes away the sting of a hot day.


You can easily find many Thai drink specialties sold by street vendors on a busy soi all day and night long!  There are always people looking for a thirst quencher, whether on the way to work in the morning, out for lunch with work colleagues, while touring temples or at night over a tasty street food meal.  Sure, you could walk into a 7-11 and grab a cold drink, but some of these Thai favorites can only be found on the street (or their tastier versions can).

Some of the most common drinks available at local street vendors:

  1. Thai Iced Coffee (Kaffe Yen) – Strong Thai coffee with condensed milk, evaporated milk and sugar.


2.Thai Iced Milk Tea (Cha Nom Yen) – Thai Jasmine Tea with condensed milk, evaporated milk and sugar.


3. Iced Chocolate – Ovaltine or other chocolate powder drink over ice.


4. Iced Lemon Tea – Thai Jasmine Tea with lemon (or lime) and sugar(!)


5. Sala Soda –A syrup made from palm fruit that is thick and sweet and added to water or soda water to create a sweet, sweet drink.


Sala soda can have a whopping 15.5 teaspoons of sugar in one glass!  That is already well over the recommended daily allowance by the World Health Organization of six teaspoons of sugar daily.Unfortunately, coffee, tea and other drinks purchased from roadside vendors are not very healthy because they contain a lot of sugar. In Thailand, people may cross this limit often! It is not uncommon for a typical Thai to have more than one of these per day, too.  Leading to well over a full day’s intake of the recommended sugar allowance in drinks only!


Apart from the scary statistics, all these street drinks are very tasty and can be considered as refreshment drinks too. They are high in sugar but can quench our thirsts. Thailand is a hot country and these drinks are just lifesavers sometimes! Everything has its pros and cons. It’s quite normal, right?