The Roots of Vietnamese Egg Coffee

Let me tell you the story of a pioneer in Vietnamese coffee culture and what he started with his curious creativity.

Egg Coffee at Giang Cafe in Hanois Old QuarterEgg Coffee at Giang Cafe in Hanois Old Quarter | photo: Frank Fox (cc-by-sa)

A Story of Taste and Innovation

Let me tell you the story of Mr. Nguyen Giang, a bartender at the famous five star hotel Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.

He was enthralled by European coffee with cream, however cream in Vietnam was expensive and hard to come by. So he started to experiment with other ingredients, readily available and affordable also for non-five-star customers. The recipe he came up with contained egg yolk, cheese, sweet condensed milk and butter - the heart of Vietnamese egg coffee.

Giang Coffee Sign HanoiGiang Coffee Sign Hanoi | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

Seeing that his creation was fairly popular among the people, he founded Giang Cafe in Hanoi, where people met to sip on a cup of foamy, creamy, sweet goodness. The cafe itself relocated twice, but the recipe for egg coffee remains almost unchanged. Today, his son, Mr. Nguyen Tri Hoa runs the place and when you enter it through the narrow passage way, you find yourself in a simplistic environment. Low tables and small chairs invite you to sit down, relax and order a drink from their rather interesting menu.

Apart from regular cafe items, the specialities of Giang Cafe are egg coffee, egg chocolate, green bean milk with egg foam, egg coffee/chocolate with rum and egg beer (!). We had the egg coffee (of course), one egg chocolate for the little rascal and egg coffee with rum for the big rascal.

Giang Coffee Menu in HanoiGiang Coffee Menu in Hanoi | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

Being in Vietnam you may expect a coffee shop to save on the rum, but not so at Giang Cafe. There was a proper amount in the glass and it was a very nice drink for a rainy afternoon in Hanoi.

Inside Giang Coffee, HanoiInside Giang Coffee, Hanoi | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

The kitchen is the centre piece of the cafe and next to it is the desk of the owner. He is a friendly man, modest, yet proud of his product. Rightfully so I think, because even if Giang's egg coffee has not much in common with the speciality coffees I usually drone on about, it is a tasty and beautiful cup of Vietnamese heritage.

Egg Coffee at Giang CafeEgg Coffee at Giang Cafe | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

When you are in Hanoi, just drop by and check it out. It's easy to find on 39 Nguyen Huu Huan street. There are many egg coffee shops around, but this one is the original. We paid 115.000đ for a total of 2 egg coffees, 1 egg chocolate and 1 egg coffee with rum.

Entrance of Giang Coffee HanoiEntrance of Giang Coffee Hanoi | photo: (cc-by-sa) Frank Fox

For more information about Giang Cafe, check out their website. Other than that, enjoy your cup!

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