As a change from a latte or cappuccino, how about trying your coffee with egg, butter and cheese! This is how coffee is served in the famous Giang Cafe in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi.
Hidden down a small alley in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, the cafe’s menu lists a selection of beverages, but the tourists and locals who have hunted it out are all there for the cà phê trúng, or egg coffee.
Born of Necessity
The unusual drink, available in both hot and cold versions, was invented in 1946 by the father of the cafe’s current owner, Nguyen Van Dao. He was working in the Sofitel Metropole hotel in the city, but milk was scarce in Vietnam at the time, so he used whisked egg yolk as a substitute, and egg coffee was born.
Other cafes in Hanoi have tried to imitate the secret recipe, which also contains butter, cheese and condensed milk as well as coffee powder, but Giang Café’s authentic and closely guarded recipe is still the most popular – and the cafe is always busy.
What Does It Taste Like?
The hot version, served with the cup sitting in a bowl of hot water to help keep it warm, is thick, like custard, and may need to be eaten with a spoon rather than drunk. Very sweet, the coffee is at the bottom of the cup, while the whisked egg mixture, reportedly tasting of vanilla, sits on top.The cold version, served with lots of ice, is again very sweet and said to taste rather like coffee ice cream, probably not unlike the frappes we enjoy on hot summer days.
Recipes for this unusual coffee can be found online, but for the truly authentic version, you will have to take a trip to Vietnam.