My first experience of egg coffee in Vietnam was in Hanoi although, strictly speaking, it wasn’t my first Vietnamese egg coffee experience per se. I had made it at home before and I knew I could easily make it again. So, in Vietnam, it wasn’t something I sought out in particular although, far at the back of my mind, I must have added it to my list of “must try”. How I got to taste it in Hanoi was, as best as I can describe, accidental.
Sam wanted egg waffles and she asked me to locate a place called Take Eat Easy. We were in Hanoi for a few days already, I managed to find the place on the map and I told her it was along Church Street which we had visited before.
But there were so many places to go to and so much food to try that visiting Take Eat Easy somehow went forgotten. Until one day when Sam decided we should walk the entire length of Church Street so she could buy paper lanterns. Our house renovation had already begun at that time, she wanted to redecorate her bedroom and she wanted to hang paper lanterns in different sizes.
That was the same day I bought a laptop case at Tohe. After exiting Tohe, we went to a shop that sold tea in every imaginable flavor. I tried several and bought a few boxes along with jars of Vietnamese condiments.
I wish I could remember the name of the shop because there was so much good stuff in there. Sam and I were both smitten with the keychains. There was a short discussion about buying a few but paper lanterns were foremost on her mind so we just contented ourselves with photos of the keychains. From Nhà Chung, we turned right to Church Street and the search for paper lanterns began in earnest.
We went inside every shop that sold paper lanterns, she compared prices, she couldn’t make up her mind so we just went on and on. At one establishment, the shop lady owned a cat that was so friendly it allowed Sam to pick it up and pet it. The shop lady was just as friendly and generous too — she offered to give the cat to Sam. What the heck, right? We weren’t going to fly home with a cat. I politely turned down the offer as Sam reluctantly let the cat go.
We moved on. And that was when we spotted Take Eat Easy.
Of course I wanted to try the egg waffles too. I missed trying them in Hong Kong. But we had lunch at Cela just an hour or so earlier and I did not know how to fit egg waffles in my digestive system. But I hadn’t had my after-lunch coffee yet so I decided it was going to be egg coffee for me.
Sam took her sweet time deciding which egg waffle she wanted. In the end she chose the one with strawberry ice cream.
My egg coffee was served with a candle beneath it. I spotted cup-and-warmer sets like that in Bat Trang but, at the time, I couldn’t imagine how they were used. It wasn’t until the visit to Take Eat Easy that I experienced a live demonstration.
And the coffee? I loved the richness of Take Eat Easy’s egg coffee so much that we made egg coffee at home again after returning from Hanoi.
Vietnamese Egg Coffee
- 2 egg yolks (from large eggs)
- 5 to 6 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- 1½ cups freshly brewed coffee (make it a strong brew to balance with the richness of the custard)
- Place the egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk in a mixing bowl.
- Beat the yolks and milk until thickened. You can use a fork, a wire whisk or a hand mixer. What you use for beating isn't really important so long as you get bring the mixture to a state where it is thickened and, at the same time, frothy.
- Divide the hot brewed coffee between two mugs.
- Pour the yolk-milk mixture over the coffee. Don't worry if, right after pouring, the dark coffee and creamy custard appears to get mixed together. If you made the custard correctly, it will rise and float above the coffee in no time.