Viet Nam cuisine is affected by many other culinary styles in the world, for example, in the north; it is closely aligned with that of China. Another example is coffee, the Vietnamese embraced the original drink, added some local products and then turned it into something new and fantastic.
Ca phe sua da and ca phe trung are two Vietnamese versions of coffee that are now famous worldwide. Your Ha Noi food tour cannot be complete without them.
The name of the drink indicates its exact components: coffee, milk and ice. The milk in question is not what people usually have in the morning, it is condensed milk that goes in cans and can be found in every single grocery store all over Viet Nam. The milk is intensively sweet and thick and it makes the coffee somehow resembles coffee ice cream.
Here is the recipe for one serving of ca phe sua da so that you can make it by yourself: condensed milk, ground coffee, hot water and ice
Remove the lid and the upper screen of a Vietnamese coffee filter pot and put it over a cup or a mug. Pour the ground coffee into the pot until it is a third full. Screw the upper screen over the coffee but do not push it too hard. The next step is to pour in 90 degrees Celcius hot water, do not use the boiling one or the aroma of coffee will be lost. Wait about 20 seconds and slowly add approximately 45 ml of hot water. Put the lid on the pot and let it drips. Wait until the liquid has drained to add the milk. Depend on how sweet you want your coffee to be, choose between the two ratios: 40%-60% or 30%-70%, the first digit is the amount of condensed milk. Stir until fully blended. If you would like your coffee cold, add in some ice of your choice.
A cup of coffee in Ca Phe Nang Tuong (Source: Internet)
A coffee shop that has the authentic Vietnamese ca phe sua da is Ca Phe Nang Tuong on Hang Bac street. A cup of coffee here costs about 20.000 VND (Vietnam currency).
This is the famous Vietnamese egg coffee that has brought Giang café brand to the world. Mr.Nguyen Chi Hoa, the eighth son of the late Mr.Nguyen Van Giang, told the story behind this drink: His father (Mr.Giang) used to work as a bartender at Metropole hotel in Ha Noi, as milk was extremely expensive back then, he invented a way to use eggs as the substitute for milk. It was a huge success and Mr.Giang opened his own coffee shop selling his unique drink in 1946. A standard cup of ca phe trung comes with grounded coffee, eggs, condensed milk and butter, other ingredients are not revealed as the complete recipe is a secret.
A cup of egg coffee (Source: Internet)
The egg yolk is lightly whisked with milk and sugar, then the mixture is poured on top of the coffee. The whole cup sits in a dish of hot water to maintain its temperature. Before the popularity of hand mixers in Viet Nam, the whole process is manual so they serve only hot egg coffee. But now, on the menu is an array of drinks: iced egg coffee, hot egg cocoa, and egg matcha yet all visitors order is the original hot egg coffee. Café Giang is at number 39, Nguyen Huu Huan street. Mr.Dao said that the best bartender in the family was actually his wife. Unfortunately, their two daughters do not have the intention to keep the family business but he still keeps his hopes up that someday they will have a change of heart.
Giang coffee (Source: Internet)
Other coffee shops that serve this exotic drink are Café Dinh (39, Dinh Tien Hoang), Leu coffee (1A, Ta Hien) and Café Tran (157, Ba Trieu).