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.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lennie Ambrose