Mark this on your list of sweets to consume on a hot day. Few things are as refreshing as a cup of Sam Bo Luong ($2.50) at the Paris Sandwich on Grand Street (most Vietnamese restaurants in Chinatown also sell this in to-go cups). Seaweed, ginkgo nuts, barley, and longans float in the iced concoction. There is plenty of variety, from the soft to the chewy, and my personal favorite—the crunch of transparent sweet snow fungus. You will need both spoon and a straw to consume.
This is dessert, all right, but many of the ingredients come with health benefits. Snow fungus is often used in Asian medicine to fight inflammation, and ginkgo nuts are believed to improve memory. Always a good excuse for a second serving.
213 Grand Street, New York NY 10013 (map) 212-226-7221