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27 November 2016 / leggypeggy

Getting juiced up in India

sugar cane juice

Pouring sugar cane juice

Street food is common across India, especially in the north, and so are street drinks.

The two most common drinks are fresh crushed sugar cane and fresh lime soda and, of course, we’ve had both.

Our first one this trip was in a restaurant in Khan Market in New Delhi. Poor John noticed a sign that said 100 rupees for a fresh lime soda. It was blisteringly hot, so we went in and ordered two sweet–salted sodas, which were delicious. But imagine our surprise when the bill was for 333 rupees (almost A$7) instead of 200!

Turns out the posted price applies only to takeaway. The same drink inside the restaurant is 120 rupees and then there are all sorts of taxes in the big city. Sure reminded us that Khan Market is very upmarket!

Last week in Munnar we had lunch at Rapsy, a family-style restaurant, with one of the best sweet–salted fresh lime sodas we’ve ever had. Cost: 40 rupees each.

So what’s this sweet–salted business?

Your drink can be made just sweet, with several tablespoons of sugar syrup, or just salted, with a teaspoon or so of salt. Or you can order what we do, and have a combination of the two.

Our other best sweet–salted sodas were in Malvan near Tarkarli Beach. A woman had a tent set up on the sand and was making sodas to order. I noticed her when we were on our way to the island fort, and suggested we get drinks on the way back.

Making fresh lime soda

Adding pre-made sugar syrup

old ice chest

Derelict chest freezers keep the ice cold

We did exactly that, and I watched her process. First she shook salt into the base of the glass, then she squeezed in the juice of a lime, then she added sugar syrup and chunks of ice, and finally topped up the glass with soda water.

She stored huge ice blocks in two derelict chest freezers that most likely hadn’t worked for many years, and chipped off bits as she needed them.

I no longer remember the exact price but I think each drink was no more than 20 rupees (or about 40 Australian cents). Bargain!

Crushing sugar cane

Crushing sugar cane

We had similar luck with crushed sugar cane drinks.

We bought those next from a small shop in Malvan.

The fellow ran the sugar cane stalks through a crusher about eight times—each time squeezing out more juice. Geez, that was nerve-wracking to watch, because his fingers often came dangerously close to the crushing teeth.

He then strained the juice through a fine sieve and poured the result into glasses. This was another bargain at about 15 rupees a serving.

We’ll be heading home to Australia soon, and I’ll definitely start trying to perfect the fresh lime soda (hope limes aren’t too expensive) but I have no idea when the next sugar cane juice might come our way.

If you love juices, check out my cooking blog for a recipe for a Brazilian berry juice—colourful and delicious.


Leave a Comment
  1. maureenrose7 / Nov 27 2016 1:38 pm

    Love the post Peggy! You make me want these drinks now so much! I would have had to turn away from watching him make it though hahaa!

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 27 2016 2:22 pm

      If I figure out a recipe for fresh lime soda, I’ll be sure to post it. But I have no plans to risk my fingers with a sugar cane crusher.

      Liked by 2 people

      • maureenrose7 / Nov 27 2016 2:23 pm

        hahaha I do not blame you one bit! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. lorriedeck / Nov 27 2016 2:00 pm

    It sounds so delicious!

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 27 2016 2:23 pm

      Sugar cane juice is a bit too sweet for me, but I love the fresh lime soda.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. jeanleesworld / Nov 27 2016 2:15 pm

    Lovely to see the adventures continue on with all the salty sweetness one can ask for! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Ms Louise M Oliver / Nov 27 2016 2:27 pm

    They both sound delicious Peggy but I think I could easily become addicted to the sweet-salted lime soda. Shame it’s so unhealthy! Maybe once a summer when it’s 35 degrees. By the way, when do you come home?

    Liked by 4 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 27 2016 2:42 pm

      I think the price of limes in Canberra will keep me from making it too often. We’re home this week.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. lulu / Nov 27 2016 4:14 pm

    I’m loving your India posts as they whet my appetite for my upcoming trip.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 29 2016 5:57 pm

      Thanks. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time. When do you go?


      • lulu / Nov 30 2016 11:05 am

        October/ early November. It can’t come fast enough.


      • leggypeggy / Dec 1 2016 8:49 am

        Thrilled for you. You’ll love it.


  6. thegreyeye / Nov 27 2016 8:58 pm

    I love both

    Liked by 3 people

  7. calmkate / Nov 27 2016 9:02 pm

    Another favourite of mine is their lassi!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. ralietravels / Nov 27 2016 9:31 pm

    This has been a fascinating series of posts. Thanks for taking us along if only by Internet.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. beetleypete / Nov 27 2016 10:18 pm

    Delicious local drinks, though I can well imagine that the sugar cane is much too sweet. No health and safety inspectorate operating there, obviously!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 29 2016 6:01 pm

      Yep, not a sign of health and safety inspectors. My goodness, they’d cringe every direction they could look.


  10. Alison and Don / Nov 28 2016 5:20 am

    Arrrgh I hardly know where to start. The sugar cane juice! We saw that so many times in India and I would have loved to try it but we were always too scared we’d get some heinous illness from the unsanitary conditions. We didn’t come across any lime sodas though I’m sure I would have loved that too . . . . but the Ice! How would you ever know what water it was made from. Everyone knows that the water in India is basically toxic. How can you be sure they froze clean bottled water? This is why we never tried any of this drinks though I would have love to. You are brave! Did you get sick?

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 29 2016 6:40 pm

      As unbelievable as it may sound, I don’t get sick on these overland trips. I attribute this to the fact that when I moved to Egypt in the mid-1970s, I was sick as a dog for about three weeks. No idea what caused it, but I’ve never had a sick tummy on a trip since that episode.

      Plus, India has put a lot of effort into providing safe water. I wouldn’t necessarily drink out of every tap, but I brush my teeth from them all. Ice isn’t routinely offered, so rarely a cause for concern. No one suffered from the fresh lime soda, and ice wasn’t added to the sugar cane.

      I reckon the greater concern is hepatitis from the glasses, but we’ve been vaccinated for virtually everything.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alison and Don / Nov 30 2016 1:28 am

        Our most recent time in India was 4 years ago. It never occurred to us that the water would be okay even just for teeth cleaning, and we disinfected all fruit and vegetables we bought. I still got sick! – eating at a “western” restaurant in Tiruvannamalai. I was the lucky one who got the lettuce that hadn’t been properly washed. We’ve been vaccinated against everything too. That episode in Egypt seems to have served you well!

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Dec 1 2016 8:46 am

        I’m super wary of western-style restaurants when I travel. Especially buffets. No idea how long that stuff has sat out, or how many days in a row. Sorry you got taken out by lettuce.


  11. weggieboy / Nov 28 2016 5:24 am

    You must have an iron digestive system from eating and drinking in places that probably have scant sanitary conditions, but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying your adventures! I’d balk at the sugar cane drink, too. The lime drink, however, sounds very good indeed, and kind of like a margarita without the alcohol.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 29 2016 10:04 pm

      I probably do have a cast iron stomach, because I just don’t get sick on these travels. My father’s mother had an amazing constitution, so maybe I inherited that. Fingers crossed for the future.


      • weggieboy / Nov 30 2016 4:15 am

        Of course, you may have self-inoculated yourself by many travels and many foods from many iffy sources, Peggy!

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Dec 1 2016 8:48 am

        Good point, I think I have acquired some natural immunity.


  12. Coral Waight / Nov 28 2016 9:20 am

    So enjoying your adventures in India. Don’t come back. Keep going.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 29 2016 10:07 pm

      I’ll get home eventually, but there is so much to tell that I can keep going here for ages.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. gerard oosterman / Nov 28 2016 9:30 am

    On arrival back, don’t miss out on the excitement of the last week of parliament. 😉
    Welcome back. I’ll miss the Indian Joy de vivre you so well describe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 29 2016 10:16 pm

      Oh don’t even talk to me about politics. The US election has so upset me. What a shocking result. But there is lots more of India to come.


  14. badfish / Nov 28 2016 6:32 pm

    You probably weren’t aware that the Khan market is where the word “con” came from, eh? Some great shots of the place!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. hiMe / Nov 28 2016 8:16 pm

    Lovely sugar cane juice. We have that in Vietnam too. Is it hot there?

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 29 2016 10:18 pm

      It was hot in parts of India and quite cool in others. They are approaching winter now.


  16. Brenda / Nov 29 2016 12:12 am

    I also thought that you must have an iron stomach when I read this post. But lime and salt are two of my favorite things, so was intrigued by the sweet/salty lime soda. I’ll await your recipe and use my own ice though.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Nov 29 2016 10:20 pm

      I’ve been investigating possible recipes when I have an internet connection. Stay tuned. And yes, I do have a fairly cast iron constitution. 🙂


  17. Steph McCoy / Dec 2 2016 10:13 am

    Hi Peggy, I hope you are doing well. This was a very informative post. I kept trying to imagine what sweet and/or salty soda would taste like. I’m not so sure I’d be crazy about the sweet drink but the salty one sounds intriguing. The process of preparing the drinks is interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 3 2016 10:51 pm

      Hi Steph, we’re doing very well. Been a bit remote lately. The salt–sweet lime drink is a great combo. Lime is just too sour to have no sweetener at all, but a couple of tablespoons of sugar syrup is just the thing. Will be working on a recipe.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Steph McCoy / Dec 4 2016 10:04 am

        That’s cool. You’ll have to post the recipe once you’re satisfied with the results.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Dec 5 2016 7:36 am

        I certainly will.


  18. Zambian Lady / Dec 3 2016 3:26 pm

    I hope I will be able to visit countries where street food is safe and can be eaten without fear of contracting cholera. Until, then I will enjoy the eats and drinks vicariously through you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 3 2016 10:52 pm

      Good thinking. It makes sense to be careful until you know the street food or have a constitution like mine.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. babl / Dec 4 2016 8:23 am

    Reblogged this on Hello Creatives Times.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. babl / Dec 4 2016 8:23 am

    I plan to reblog your post in my blog Since you have enabled reblogging on your post, I am assuming that you are allowing others to reblog this post. However, if you have any objection to reblogging your post, please let us know as soon as possible. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 4 2016 10:06 pm

      You are most welcome to reblog my post. Thanks so much for your interest.

      Liked by 1 person

      • babl / Dec 5 2016 12:24 pm

        Thanks for sharing your awesome posts. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Dec 5 2016 8:33 pm

        So glad you appreciate them.


  21. IreneDesign2011 / Dec 4 2016 7:00 pm

    You got really to taste local at your trip, Peggy 🙂
    I’m not in for sweet drinks, but the lime juice sounds delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 4 2016 10:06 pm

      I’m not big on sweet drinks either, but love the lime soda. Working on a recipe for it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. JunkChuck / Dec 6 2016 9:37 am

    That lime soda sounds delicious. I wonder if I can approximate it at my home bar?

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 6 2016 7:57 pm

      I’m working on a recipe. Hope to get the balance right by tomorrow. Check back.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Sascha Darlington / Dec 7 2016 3:56 pm

    The sweet salt lime sounds fantastic! I like salty more than sweet so can just imagine. yum!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. kunstkitchen / Dec 8 2016 1:50 am

    And you don’t get sick drinking at stands like this?

    Liked by 1 person

  25. philosophermouseofthehedge / Dec 8 2016 12:45 pm

    When I was little there were fields of sugar cane growing locally. I had forgotten about the sugar cane drinks. Cool post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 8 2016 1:11 pm

      Thanks. I’ve lived and travelled many places that offer sugar cane drinks, but they are a tad too sweet for me. Fresh lime soda is a different matter completely.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. The Whitechapel Whelk / Dec 8 2016 5:53 pm

    Ok, three questions:
    1- Where have you been?
    2 – How much is 40 Aussie cents in proper money?
    3 – Why is it snowing in your blog? Are you retracing Shackleton’s doomed journey to the South Pole?
    There is no 4th question. Do understand me? NO 4TH QUESTION!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 8 2016 6:07 pm

      1. Been kicking around in remote India.
      2. About 24 pence.
      3. Oh good grief, the snow has come up again! Argh! Now to find out how to turn it off. I can’t see it.
      4. No answer.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Whitechapel Whelk / Dec 8 2016 6:26 pm

        There! That wasn’t too damn painful was it? I don’t ask for much you know???
        Why I outta! *fume*
        PS. Re the snow. Try re-locating your blog to the Atacama Desert. They only get a light dusting of the white stuff, or so I’m led to believe. No, don’t thank me!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Dec 9 2016 12:09 am

        Okay, I won’t!


  27. anil_ji_clan / Dec 12 2016 9:11 pm

    Please try this drink ‘Spiced butter milk (Sambaram)’ . It is salty , tangy , spicy and an instant energy booster in an active afternoon. It is also worth enough to taste .

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 13 2016 7:24 am

      Thanks for the suggestion. I found a recipe and it looks fantastic. Yummy!


  28. milliethom / Dec 14 2016 6:53 am

    The lime juice soda sounds delicious, though I’m unconvinced about the sweet cane sugar one. But I suppose when it’s hot and you’re very thirsty any ice-cold drink is amazing! I enjoyed the info and photos about crushing the cane stalks. It’s not a job I’d like to try it, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 14 2016 7:22 pm

      I’m with you Millie. The fresh lime soda is my preference. And yes, I’m glad I don’t have to run the cane crusher.


  29. Roberta Pimentel / Dec 16 2016 10:59 am

    The last picture just made me remember of my home town Brasil. We have just the same as in India ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 16 2016 11:44 am

      We’ve had sugar cane juice in many countries, including Brasil. Which place is your hometown?

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Jaspreet Singh / Dec 20 2016 2:07 pm

    Omg! I used to live in India and nothing beats the SugarCane juice! I’m literally drooling right now..

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 20 2016 4:59 pm

      Hope you have the chance to have some soon. 🙂


  31. vbansal96ngu / Jan 12 2017 3:21 pm

    My God! You sure loved the cane juice a lot! Yummy.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. macalder02 / Jan 27 2017 8:37 am

    As you present it, I know you want to try them out. They look delicious drinks.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Tooting Hustle / Jun 7 2017 11:53 pm

    I bet the fruit there is so fresh and full of flavour! My mouth is watering just thinking about it… Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Happy blogging! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 9 2017 10:04 pm

      The produce in India is wonderful. I look forward to checking out your post, but it will have to wait until I finish my cycling trip this week in France.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Phyllis Gaetz / Jul 1 2020 5:47 am

    Enjoyed this post Peggy. When you mentioned the sugar cane crusher it brought back memories of my grandmother putting her clothes through the rollers of those old washing machines!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 1 2020 8:09 am

      Oh yes, old wringer washing machines. Glad we don’t have to wash clothes that way these days.


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