Salty Lemonade at Huynh

I was definitely in the mood for Vietnamese food when some coworkers and I walked into Huynh Restaurant on a chilly day last week. It was then that I realized, even though I had dined there many times before, that the place was named Best Vietnamese Restaurant in the 2010 Houston Press Best of Houston edition.

I was planning on getting a piping-hot bowl of pho, but I noticed in the HP Best of Houston story that Huynh also does an excellent tofu with coconut curry and peanuts. I ordered it, and I was glad I did. What I paired with the dish, however, was a strange trip that I doubt I will take again.

The person sitting next to me ordered first, and he asked for a salty lemonade to go with his vermicelli bowl. I had never heard of such a thing but decided to try it. I'm a huge fan of salty and sweet combos and any chance to use the word "juxtaposition," so how could I go wrong?

Authentic or not, I can say that salty lemonade wasn't for me. The beverage was so salty, I barely got any of the sweet at all. When I got back to work, I did some research and found out that this is indeed no Country Time - it's actually made from chanh muÿi, a salted and pickled lime.

The limes are packed in salt and placed in the sun; during that process the juice is drawn out, producing a pickling liquid. To make salty lemonade, some of the chanh muÿi is muddled in the bottom of a glass, and some simple syrup is added with water.

I really wanted to like this new beverage. I thought it would be perfect to cut through the richness of the curry, and it did, just not in a good way. Next time I hit up Huynh, it'll just be water for me.