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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sinh To Nha Dam (Vietnamese Aloe Vera Shake)

Sinh To Dam (Vietnamese Aloe Vera Shake) 1

Ah, didn't know you could drink aloe vera, did you? Or maybe you did? It's a common enough shake in Vietnam, but I'm not sure many people know about it here. Not in its raw form anyway.

During the recent heat wave, UnHipLA asked me about its health benefits after she taste-tested five different brands of aloe vera juice. While we know aloe vera soothes sunburns, taken internally, it also acts as a natural laxative, helps kill parasites, heals ulcers, and soothes stomachaches, according to this website anyway. I don't know the exact particulars, but my second-youngest aunt says its good for me and likes to eat aloe vera during hot weather. She usually just mixes some fresh lemon juice and sugar with slices of raw aloe vera.

Luckily my youngest uncle has plenty growing in his yard so I can share my recipe with you.

Sinh To Dam (Vietnamese Aloe Vera Shake) 2

Sinh To Nha Dam (Vietnamese Aloe Vera Shake)

I cut off just two leaves? Is that what you'd call it?

Sinh To Dam (Vietnamese Aloe Vera Shake) 3

You can see the slime oozing out. To prepare, cut the sides where the spines are. Then I cut the leaf into smaller pieces to make it easier to peel with a knife.

Sinh To Dam (Vietnamese Aloe Vera Shake) 4

It'll be pretty slimy to work with but when stripped bare, the aloe vera is pretty much translucent.

Sinh To Dam (Vietnamese Aloe Vera Shake) 5

I cut the strips into thinner slices.

Sinh To Dam (Vietnamese Aloe Vera Shake) 6

Washing my hands frequently because of the sliminess.

Sinh To Dam (Vietnamese Aloe Vera Shake) 7

Here's a close-up of the side of the glass. Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice and sugar, and adjust to your taste.

Sinh To Dam (Vietnamese Aloe Vera Shake) 8

Would you eat this?

Sinh To Dam (Vietnamese Aloe Vera Shake) 9

How 'bout if I put a pretty little heart-shaped ice cube on top?

Sinh To Dam (Vietnamese Aloe Vera Shake) 10

If you don't like aloe vera in slices, you can also blend it with ice cubes and make a shake. Add sugar if you wish.

Sinh To Dam (Vietnamese Aloe Vera Shake) 11

This is how I drank it in Vietnam. Afternoon shake break with my cousin. We alternated between sipping this, Sinh To Bo (Vietnamese Avocado Shake) and Sinh To Ca Chua (Vietnamese Tomato Shake). Very cooling on a hot day!



  1. I would definitely drink this since I know it tastes wonderful! Very refreshing, too. ;)

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  2. Wow - I would drink it. It looks refreshing as anh said.

  3. Wow I didn't know aloe was edible! It does look very refreshing. :)

  4. Ahhh... that's where the aloe vera comes from :p - the "leaves" :)

  5. Anh,
    Hehe. I knew you would!

    You're quite adventurous then.

    I think my aunt even makes it into a soup!

    Was I right? They're leaves? :)

  6. Seriously, you have so much knowledge about Vietnamese food, you could even teach my grandmamma a thing or two! Sorry I haven't been commenting lately, but I've been reading! You always make me smile with your great recipes.

  7. PE,
    Thanks for the compliment but I'm sure your grandma knows a whole lot more!

  8. Have you tasted the Aloe before adding sugar and lemon? I've found it very bitter with an unpleasant smell. Am I using the wrong kind of Aloe?

  9. Johta,
    I think you might have the wrong kind of aloe. It's not bitter, nor does it have a strong smell. The kind I eat or drink, the smell is the usual aloe scent, although a fresh slice isn't very strong. And taste-wise, it's quite bland. Definitely not bitter. Was it freshly cut? Perhaps that's another reason?

  10. I began using aloe vera for sunburns about 20 years ago. Soon after I also began to use it as an after shower moisturizer, for my face in particular. Skin tends to feel rather tight and dry following a shower. This became part of my routine and I haven't looked back.

    For 20+ years now following every shower ... occasionally at other times during the day I have been using aloe. I have always liked the fact that it was natural, non-greasy and essentially disappeared about five minutes after using with no residue leaving your skin properly moisturized. Evidence suggests that aloe provides significant benefits far exceeding simple sunburn treatments. This seems to be backed up by the fact that island residents where aloe is prevalent and used regularly tend to have skin looking years younger than the user's true age.

    My preference is towards the more natural. Aloe from the plant is a clear gel - not green as many products show it. I suppose some manufacturers have made it green because that color is either expected or more pleasing in some way but if you are looking for natural you want it clear and as close to 100% aloe vera as is possible. Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera fills the bill on all fronts. 100% aloe vera, no added color, no added alcohol etc. It has become our house favorite.

    Side note: at the time I began using it I was not seeking a youth potion, just a way of getting rid of that tight dry feeling following a shower. I don't know if credit belongs with the aloe, heridity, luck or some combination but my skin appears quite a bit younger than my age should dictate. Take that for what it is.

  11. SB,
    Oh wow! With those kind of results, I feel like I should start slathering myself in aloe vera. I must admit, I've been pretty lazy about just putting regular lotion on after a shower. But my face has been quite dry lately and no amount of lotion seems to tone down the dryness. Thanks for reminding me of its benefits!

  12. Is there any other ways to make the drink? Without any bitter fruits?

  13. Mo,
    You could try orange juice? Or any other fruit juice really. Or just plain if you wish. Aloe vera is a pretty neutral flavor.

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