The term egg-coffee may seem odd to many people. Coming to Hanoi, it is definite not; even it does taste far beyond your imagination.
An egg coffee (cà phê trứng) is a Vietnamese drink which is traditionally prepared with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and Robusta coffee. The drink is made by beating egg yolks with sugar and coffee, then extracting the coffee into the half of the cup, followed by a similar amount of egg cream,[clarification needed] which is prepared by heating and beating the yolks.
The drink is served in cafes throughout Hanoi, and has been a staple since the 1950s, with one barista describing it as appearing on “every cafe menu”. The Giang Café in particular is known for serving the drink, which it makes with chicken egg yolk, coffee powder, condensed milk (cheese optionally). The cup is served inside a bowl of hot water to retain its temperature. The son of the café’s founder claims that his father developed the recipe for the drink when milk was scarce in Vietnam, replacing the dairy product with egg yolk
In order to make this drink, egg yolk is whisked with heated condensed milk until the mixture becomes frothy and fluffy. Then, the fluffy mixture is added on top of the coffee cup. A well-prepared egg-coffee cup is full of flavor: the bitterness of coffee, the sweetness of milk mixed with the creamy taste of whisked egg.
It all started in early 20th century when Vietnam was under French domination. The inventor of egg-coffee, Mr. Nguyen Van Giang was a bartender working for the 5-star Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel. Due to a milk shortage in Vietnam at that time, he replaced milk with egg yolk to make a cappuccino. After creating the recipe, he started his own business – Giảng café. Later, two other egg-coffee shops are opened by his children- Đinh café (next to Sword Lake) and Giảng cafe on Yên Phụ street. Today, Giảng and Đinh café are still the two most famous one for egg-coffee. Having appeared for a long time, egg-coffee is still a hot trend in Hanoi because of its unique flavor and the nostalgic feeling it brings.
- Giảng café – 39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân street
- Đinh café – 13 Đinh Tiên Hoàng street (Both of these two coffee shop above are in “hidden” places. Giảng cafe is located in a narrow alley while Đinh cafe is on the second floor of a bag store)
- Giảng cafe Yên Phụ – 106 Yên Phụ street (next to West Lake)
- Helio cafe – 57B Đinh Tiên Hoàng street (next to Sword Lake)
- 1 egg
- 3 teaspoons of Vietnamese coffee powder (Vietnamese coffee is available on Amazon here)
- 2 teaspoons of sweetened condensed milk
- Boiling water
- Brew a small cup of Vietnamese coffee. (Vietnamese coffee filters available on Amazon here. Also, for visual step-by-step of the brew process, there is a good set of photos explaining how to here.)
- Crack an egg and discard the whites.
- Put the yolk and the sweetened condensed milk in a small, deep bowl and whisk vigorously until you end up with a frothy, fluffy mixture like the one above. Add a tablespoon of the brewed coffee and whisk it in.
- In a clear coffee cup (we’re going for aesthetics here), pour in your brewed coffee, then add the fluffy egg mixture on top.
- Presto. Egg coffee.
Note: a reader, Graham, has tried this at home and says another option is to add the yolk to the coffee with the sweet milk and whisk all together. The foam will then rise to the top.
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