Enjoying coffee has naturally been a Vietnamese elegant pleasure; perhaps that is why numerous coffee shops have been popping up everywhere. Interestingly, people flock to the coffee shops from morning to midnight. They are crazy about coffee. Walking down streets in Ha Noi, it is easy to see people sitting on low plastic chair on sidewalks, gossiping with friends and drink coffee, or those who choose cafes with catchy-style decoration. Interestingly, there is a must you cannot miss, which is “ca phe trung”, or egg coffee – a Ha Noi specialty when coming to Ha Noi.
HOW TO TASTE A PERFECT CUP OF EGG COFFEE
Many people consider coffee as “three-meal rice”, because they have sense of relaxation when watching each drop of coffee falling. This is totally different compared to the way Western people enjoy coffee. As its name, egg coffee is a mixture of egg blended dense Vietnamese coffee in a small glass. Its taste is almost like a coffee flavored ice cream. People always have a teaspoon to enjoy the egg white foam on top like the “appetizer” before drinking the below coffee layer. For hot version, it is put in a small dish of hot water to maintain its temperature. The strong taste of coffee at the bottom of the cup seeps through the egg – the yellow layer on top – and is quite thick and sweet.
THE ORIGIN OF THE EGG COFFEE
While venues across the city now serve it, Cafe Giang claims to have invented it. Egg coffee is an ultimate drink invented by Mr. Nguyen Van Giang, as he used to be the head chef at Sofitel Legend Metropole during the French domination in Vietnam. Mr. Nguyen Van Dao says it was his father, Nguyen Van Giang, who created the coffee when he was a bartender at the Metropole Hotel in 1946. At that time, due to lack of fresh milk, he took eggs instead. “All the foreigners or Vietnamese in the hotel loved the drink. Hence, he decided to leave the hotel to start selling coffee with his own brand.”
When enumerating the ingredients to make the egg coffee, Mr. Dao spread his fingers to count with a smile. “Eggs, condensed milk, coffee powder, butter … but I cannot tell it all because this is an secret formula.”, he said. It is said that when describing the egg coffee, most of people cannot imagine eggs mixed with coffee. The majority of tourists wish to get back to Ha Noi to enjoy it every single day. Especially, even people who do not drink coffee are surprised by the taste of the egg coffee.
OTHER HANOI CAFES TO GET A CUP OF EGG COFFEE
1. Giảng Coffee
Being one of the oldest coffee brands in Hanoi, the shop was founded by Mr. Giang, an inventor of this specialty.
- Address: 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Street, Old Quarter, Hanoi
- Price: 17.000 VND (~80 cents)
2. Dinh Coffee
Here, you can enjoy a cup of coffee while admiring the beauty of the nearby Hoan Kiem Lake.
- Address: 13 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Old Quarter, Hanoi
- Price: 15.000 VND (~70 cents)
3. Pho Co Coffee
You can find this café an old architecture ancient tile rooftop, enjoy the calm view of Hoan Kiem Lake from the balcony, and get a good egg coffee although the price is nearly a double than the previous ones.
- Address: 11 Hang Gai Street, Old Quarter, Hanoi
- Price: 35.000 VND (~1.5 USD)
If you travel to Hanoi any time soon this year, make sure to stop by one of those amazing café and have some egg coffee for your pleasure. There is no interest than taking a trip with I Love Asia Tour in Hanoi to experience the best food and drink only locals know.