The Hanoitimes - How do you take your coffee? Ever with a little egg, butter and cheese? In Hanoi, that’s how ca phe trung or egg coffee is served at the famous Giang Cafe - a humble café hidden on a small alley on Nguyen Huu Huan Street in the city’s Old Quarter.
It may be difficult for visitors to find, but trust me, it is well worth the effort. Honestly, at the very first try, I immediately became a big fan of this amazing beverage in which creamy soft, meringue-like egg white foam is perched on dense Vietnamese coffee.
On the menu is an array of drinks but the most favourite one is egg coffee, in hot or cold versions. The hot one comes resting in a small dish of hot water to keep it warm. The strong coffee taste at the bottom of the cup seeps through the egg, the yellow layer on top and is quite thick and sweet, though not sickly! I can mix it well with my spoon before drinking and then just enjoy, taste sensation.
The cold option, laden with ice, is more of a dessert and tastes like coffee ice-cream. Awesome!
First created in Hanoi in 1946, egg coffee is the brainchild of Nguyen Van Giang. In response to the pressures of a milk shortage caused by the war with French colonizers, Giang whisked in egg as a much-needed substitute while bartending at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel, which stays near the Hoan Kiem (Sword) lake. This special beverage became such a hit that he opened Café Giang in the wake of its success. His son, Nguyen Tri Hoa, still serves the legendary egg coffee.
Despite the fact that the café has been relocated twice, its egg coffee recipe is almost the same as in its early days. The egg flavour is really fat, the coffee flavour is really both fragrant and bold. But the most important factor that makes Giang Café unique and different from other restaurants is the formula how to measure exactly the fixed amount of eggs and coffee and the way to mix them perfectly that will decrease maximum the egg sickliness.
"Egg, condensed milk, coffee powder, some butter, some cheese... but I can't tell you everything, it's a secret recipe," the owner says with a grin over the sound of a blender furiously whirring away in the kitchen behind him.
I was really impressed by the cafe’s simple and oldie decoration. The walls are aged and decorated with colourful pieces of artwork that appeared to be the result of years collecting. Sitting on the small wooden stool with relaxing atmosphere, listening to classical background music and enjoy the special egg coffee definitely will make your day!
If you are or plan to be in Vietnam, make sure you head up to Giang Cafe to try this unique beverage. I believe that egg coffee is going to be one of your new favourite coffee time experiences.
You will regret if you never try!