For years, I always thought I had to go to Little Saigon to score fresh-pressed, Vietnamese-style sugar cane juice, or so I thought. A petite woman named Huong has run Quang An Duong Chinese Herb Store Rosemead’s Vikon Center for the past 11 years. She presides over shelves that resemble a library’s card catalog, with each drawer designated for a different spice, each designed to cure a different ailment or provide a boost. You’ll also find bags of fungi and boxes of various teas and tonics. When she’s not working as an Eastern pharmacist, Huong makes Sugar Cane Juice, known in Vietnamese as nuoc mia.
Huong uses a machine to press sugar cane stalks to order with tart kumquat. The bright yellow liquid ($3.50 and up) is filtered over ice into a 20-ounce (or larger) Styrofoam cup, providing incredible refreshment on warm days in the San Gabriel Valley, which are frequent.