vietnam coffee

The cure for Vietnam’s traffic chaos? Egg coffee, of course.

Vietnam is the place where perfection meets chaos. A country where the perfect structure and clear lines of a Vietnam egg coffee are synchronized with the chaos of streets and traffic that does not obey any rule. Vietnam is, indeed, a mesmerizing land of contrasts.

A photo by frank mckenna.
Photo Credit: Frank McKenna

Cars are rare appearances, as annual taxes will reach almost 200% of a car’s initial value. With such limited financial options, lower social classes will ride motorcycles. All roads in Vietnam are overwhelmed by these fast and relatively small means of transportation.

A lack of traffic lights coupled with narrow roads, motorbikes seem to speed around at careless and frightening speeds in every imaginable direction.

Photo Credit: Zmo

So what if you are a pedestrian looking to cross the street? Well, you can expect that no one will stop from their hectic rush to let you pass through uninterrupted.

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Crossing streets in Vietnam’s crowded cities will be a shaky experience no doubt and with hundreds of backpackers injured every year, it’s really no laughing matter. Although local drivers have seemed to have developed a sixth sense when it comes to avoiding obstacles, accidents involving tourists who are not used to this madness happens quite often.

Photo Credit: Rikki Chan

So what’s the best way to go about it? First, begin by taking a deep breath, followed by your first step and then hope no one will bump into you. It’s the best possible piece of advice you can get. You know how they say that the world won’t stop for your pain? Well, motorcycles in Vietnam won’t stop for you to cross the street, either, so you’d better take your courage by the reins and dive right in! Hesitation is your enemy. 

Reward yourself with a nourishing cup of egg coffee

After the adrenaline rush of crossing chaotic streets, would you have ever believed it possible to enter a cafe in Hanoi and sip on one of the world’s most flavorful cups of coffee? Not only will you be wowed by its divine taste, but it features a structure close to perfection, with clear and flawless lines, leaving you with the impression that even the most chaotic traffic scene will be unable to disturb this perfect balance.

Photo Credit: Howard

The flawlessly brewed coffee is best served in a small portion size. With a perfectly balanced layer of coffee, a generous amount of foam made of egg yolks and condensed sweetened milk, you’re left with a delicious and visually stunning cup of egg coffee mastery.

Part strong coffee and part decadent dessert, a cup of egg coffee is liquid pleasure with a caffeine kick. When you think about it, egg coffee is a logical extension of the Vietnamese coffee tradition of thickening coffee with condensed milk. Through a bit of ingenuity, Hanoians have used thickening, luscious egg yolks to elevate coffee to a new level of richness with the creation of egg coffee. Think of a rich mixture like sabayon (minus the alcohol) or crème anglaise mixed with black coffee. It’s so simple and so good.  – Daryl and Mindi, 2 Food Trippers

vietnam egg coffee
Photo Credit: oh contraire

One sip will leave you wanting more. You can certainly expect that your Vietnamese adventure will only be improved by the taste of this unforgettable drink, leaving a window open for nostalgia to settle in long after you’ve returned home from your trip.

How to make egg coffee at home

Now, although egg coffee originates from Vietnam, it can be prepared and tasted anywhere in the world, even in the comfort of your own kitchen. Here is the quick and painless way to do it:

Start off by brewing a small amount of coffee, the old-fashioned way. In order to achieve a taste as close to the authentic Vietnamese kind as possible, it’s recommended to use Robusta coffee. The specific bitterness of this coffee creates a wonderful contrast with the sweet foam, therefore, leading to that taste you’ve been dreaming off since you left Southeast Asia.

Photo Credit: Irene Coco

Next, take an egg and carefully separate the yolk from the whites. Grab a bowl deep enough to allow you to whisk the yolk with the condensed milk until a foamy texture is created. Add in a tablespoon of that brewed coffee and vigorously whisk some more!

Photo Credit: Sander Spolspoel

Pour two fingers worth of coffee into a transparent cup. Add the foam on top and voila!

Photo Credit: lyhon Chiu

What makes Vietnamese Egg Coffee unique is it’s a drink and a dessert combined into one. The beverage is a pairing of sweet and velvety whipped egg yolks over robust hot coffee. The combination of sweet and fluffy egg topping with fragrant and bitter coffee is simply tantalizing. It can be enjoyed all day similar to other coffee drinks. It’s also a wonderful drink to serve after a meal in place of the traditional dessert and coffee. The preparation is really straightforward: whip the egg yolks with condensed milk until fluffy and then spoon over strong filtered coffee. Serve the drink in a bowl of hot water to keep the coffee warm. To enjoy the drink you can mix the whipped eggs and coffee together or leave it  unstirred for a more intense bittersweet experience. It’s the perfect beverage for the coffee lover who enjoys a rich sweet treat. – Trang, RunAwayRice

Take a small part of these wonderful Vietnamese traditions to the comfort of your home. When you need a break from the chaos of your own life at home you can prepare your favourite drink from your adventurous days exploring Vietnam’s lively backroads and city centres. Enjoy a warm cup of egg coffee on a cold rainy day, or as an afternoon snack. Filled with proteins, it will surely keep you going until dinner! 

Antonia is a passionate writer and an avid reader. Eat well, travel often - are some of the words she lives by. When she's not writing or reading, she loves getting out in nature, hiking or losing herself in unknown cities.

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