There’s been a steady stream of ethnic restaurants opening on Long Island, and with them come their national drinks. You can sip a Vietnamese coffee as you eat a bahn mi sandwich or wash down your tostada with a horchata. Here is a handful of eateries whose signature drinks are treated as liquid gold.
Vietnamese coffee at The Rolling Spring Roll
Vietnamese coffee at The Rolling Spring Roll (228 W. Jericho Tpke., Syosset): The secret to the strength of this espresso-like drink is in the stir. Vietnamese coffee is made of a dark roast blend with a small drip filter. Once hot water is added to the device, the drip filter slowly releases hot coffee into a small cup with a base of sweetened condensed milk. Stirring the drink controls how sweet it is. It is served in a small glass because of how potent it is, says Kim Nguyen, manager of Rolling Spring Roll in Syosset. “In Vietnam it’s typically served cold because it’s hot there, but here it’s served both ways,” Nguyen says. The cold variation is simply poured over ice. One serving is $4. More info: 516-677-9090.
Bubble tea at Bubble Hut
Bubble tea at Bubble Hut (309 Bedford Ave., Bellmore): This Taiwanese tea-based drink is alternatively known as pearl milk tea or boba milk tea. Most recipes contain a tea base that is mixed or shaken with fruit or milk. A key ingredient in any variation is chewy tapioca balls or fruit jellies that settle at the bottom of the plastic, domed-shape container in which the drink is usually served. The fruit flavors available at Bubble Hut are strawberry, peach, papaya, mango, honeydew, lychee and coconut. There are also almond, cappuccino, coconut and milk tea flavors. The most popular option at Bubble Hut is the taro bubble tea. Sizes range from medium ($3.85) to large ($4.25) to extra large ($7.25). More info: 516-308-4987
Ayran at Nazar
Ayran at Nazar(1474 Deer Park Ave., North Babylon): The primary ingredients in ayran are yogurt, salt and water, says Huseyin Akarsu, co-owner of Nazar restaurant, where the drink is available in mint, original or “Turkish style” flavors. Typically served chilled with a meal, the yogurt drink must be refrigerated. The exact origin of ayran is unknown, but it is common in all Middle Eastern countries and is considered the national drink of Turkey, Akarsu says. A pint-size serving is $2. More info: 631-586-2246.
Doogh at Kabul Kabab
Doogh at Kabul Kabab (274 Post Ave., Westbury): Doogh is a savory yogurt-based Persian drink. “It’s sort of like Indian lassee but not sweet and not as thick,” says Omar Mosaver, owner of Kabul Kabab. The restaurant serves a carbonated version by the cup ($2.50) or pitcher ($8). Mosaver says doogh can be an accompaniment to a meal or taken on its own. More info: 516-280-4753
Thai iced tea Sawasdee Thai
Thai iced tea Sawasdee Thai (395 S. Oyster Bay Rd., Plainview): This drink is made in house with a strongly brewed tamarind-spiked Ceylon tea, poured over ice and finished with a cloudy splash of condensed milk. The tea can be sweetened with sugar. A tall glass will cost you $4. More info: 516-261-9346
Lassi at Shaheen Sweets
Lassi at Shaheen Sweets (255 S. Broadway, Hicksville): This sweet, yogurt-based drink hails from India and Pakistan and is made of curd, milk and sugar at Shaheen Sweets, where it is served in a steel cup. Lassi can be savory or sweet by substituting salt for sugar — or adding water to thin the consistency. Lassi is sometimes paired with spices and fruit and garnished with fresh mint. More info: 516-937-9797
Horchata at Nelly’s Taqueria
Horchata at Nelly’s Taqueria (356 W. Old Country Rd., Hicksville): Horchata has taken on many variations in Latin America with some countries such as El Salvador, Nicaragua and Venezuela excluding milk from their recipes. At Nelly’s Taqueria in Hicksville, horchata is popular year-round and is made with either milk or water, rice, cinnamon, sugar and nuts. A 20-ounce serving is $3. It is typically served with a meal but is treated by some as a dessert. More info: 516-261-9177
Greek frappé coffee at Gyrolicious
Greek frappé coffee at Gyrolicious (24 Jericho Tpke., Jericho): Frappé coffee, also known as Greek frappé, is a foam-covered iced coffee drink made from instant coffee. Frappé was invented by a Nescafe representative in 1957 in Thessaloniki, the second-largest city in Greece. The word frappé has French origins and in this context means “chilled.” At Gyrolicious in Jericho, the drink often is paired with native desserts such as baklava or galaktoboureko, according to Robert McNally, the venue’s head server. One cup is $4.More info: 516-427-5555