I may be talking crazy here, but I haven’t really been enjoying coffee that much of late. I’ve tried to get excited but I just haven’t had a cup that has brought me back into the fold. My new love was hot chocolate – born from a few too many weekends in the ski fields over winter that spilled into my everyday life and replaced my coffee.
Hitch is, I never had sugar in my coffee so the sugary sweetness of the hot chocolate (with marshmallows!), while lustworthy, was not good for my waistline as an everyday thing. Tea, love it, but you need to have a drink with punch every now and then…
Enter Vietnamese coffee. Wow.
So I’ve just spent a couple weeks exploring Vietnam and the coffee has won me back to the dark roast side and I’m loving it.
Here’s a few of the Vietnamese coffee highlights…
This is the cup that brought me back. I had read about the silky smooth egg white coffee and had to try it on my very first day. The coffee pictured is caphe trung da from Cafe Pho Co. It is one of Hanoi best kept secrets – ascend the stairs to the fourth floor terrace for amazing views over Hoan Kiem Lake. The coffee is a silky smooth egg white beaten until almost meringue like and dolloped over the coffee. It is sweet, texturally luscious and tastes like liquid tiramisu. Delightful!
Next up is ca phe sua da, the one in the pic I enjoyed at Cargo Club in Hoi An. Cargo Club is a French pattiserie and is a little, relaxed slice of Europe in Vietnam. While I am not an advocate of seeking out more Western style food while in Asia, I had heard their pastries were beautiful so I had to try. The Vietnamese iced coffee kept it real! The coffee is brewed using a ca phe phin, a small metal cup-top drip filter device, which drips into condensed milk. This divine elixir is then poured over ice for immediate enjoyment. Condensed milk is used in Vietnamese coffee as fresh milk was not always readily available when the French introduced it to Vietnam in the late 19th century. Thank god. Because they have discovered a truly tasty and addictive combination.
Next coffee stop was at the famous Ben Thanh Market. The key here is visit the stalls that are the busiest – either with seated customers or the ones pumping out takeaways for the market’s stall holders. The pic shows you just how much condensed milk is used, and for quickness the coffee is pre-made and poured from the bottle. Still tastes just as good, and all the better for being in a Fosters glass!
There are so many other variations to try and I can’t wait to go back and work my way through them. In the meantime it will be trips to Sunshine, VIC, and Cabramatta, NSW to keep my addiction under control.
Do you enjoy Vietnamese coffee in Australia? Where do you indulge in ca phe?