Found on almost every traveler’s “must eat/drink” list in Vietnam is the egg coffee. I’ve been a fan of the slowly-prepared Vietnamese drip coffee ever since the early aughts when I was a newbie coffee enthusiast, but I had never tried egg coffee until my first trip to Hanoi last month.
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Hidden vertical coffee shops are omnipresent in Hanoi, but I made sure to visit one of the OG coffee shops that specialize in egg coffee—Café Giang.
Tucked along Nguyen Huu Huan Street in Hanoi’s charming Old Quarter, Café Giang has been around since 1946. Its original egg coffee recipe remains unchanged. According to the son of founder Nguyen Giang, his father’s traditional recipe consists of chicken egg yolk, Vietnamese coffee powder, sweetened condensed milk, butter, and cheese. [source: giangcafehanoi.com]
My litmus test for the authenticity of a restaurant or café is to see if unassuming locals flock to the place as opposed to busloads of tourists and paid influencers. It was a little after lunch when my family and I found the café, which was filled with mostly locals, a group of English-speaking backpackers, and a few tourists like myself.
Seated on one of the low-style chairs that Vietnam is known for, I extended my neck to see what everyone else had ordered. Egg coffee was it.
With just a few cubes of ice, our glasses of egg coffee were served on our table. The verdict of this once egg-coffee virgin: The creamy part that filled up 2/3 of the glass mug feels and tastes like a liquefied, foamy custard, sans the eggy or cakey bits I imagined it was going to contain, and relieved that it did not have. Part of me was afraid it was going to be like those raw egg drinks concocted by ’80s bodybuilders. Double relief that it wasn’t like that at all.
I would’ve ordered another one, if not for the strong robusta kicking in fast. Vietnamese coffee is, after all, made of robusta coffee, which is stronger than the usual arabica or barako that I often have in the Philippines.
What’s your egg coffee story?
Café Giang is located at 39 P. Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Lý Thái Tổ, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam.