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Vietnamese Egg Coffee – Dessert in a Cup

In case you missed it, we featured Vietnam’s ubiquitous coffee culture alongside a tale of how the Southeast Asian country would eventually become the world’s second largest exporter of coffee in a previous article.

As Vietnamese iced coffee with milk (cà phê sữa đá) takes the world by storm, egg coffee (cà phê trúng) is a lesser-known variant not be missed by anyone travelling through the region. While egg coffee packs the same strong caffeine punch as its counterpart, proteins in the egg yolk balance out the bitterness of the Robusta beans. This results in smoother and sweeter flavours, which often leads to the drink being compared to as more of a dessert, particularly ‘liquid tiramisu’.

Because this frothy, fluffy treat is best consumed hot, patrons are often served egg coffee in a cup within a bowl of warm water or atop a lit candle. The two layers, espresso on bottom and cream on top, should be sampled separately before mixing them together in order to fully appreciate the blend of aromas and textures.


The History of Vietnamese Egg Coffee

The tasty beverage originated in the 1940’s, when Mr. Nguyen Van Giang (pronounced ‘Zee-ang’ in northern Vietnam) was working as a bartender at the historic Grand Métropole Hotel in Hanoi. By then, Vietnamese coffee was already quite popular with his guests.

But, due to the ongoing First Indochina War with France (which followed immediately after World War II), fresh milk in Vietnam was a rare commodity. Not wanting to disappoint his patrons, a spark of ingenuity led Giang to using whisked egg yolk as a replacement.

The creamy concoction became an instant hit – so much so that the bartender would open his own café in Hanoi’s Old Quarter which still stands to this very day.


Where to Experience Egg Coffee in Vietnam

If you’re in Vietnam and have a desire to try egg coffee for yourself, both of Vietnam’s largest cities have several options to choose from.

(Please note that while researching locations for this article, it was discovered that many establishments serving egg coffee have closed permanently due to Covid-19. Therefore, it may be a good idea to double check that the venue is open beforehand.)

Hanoi:

  • Cafe Giang: 39 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem District – Mr. Giang’s first location, serving his original recipe from 1946
  • Dinh Café: 13 Dinh Tien Hoang (2nd floor), Hoan Kiem District
  • Lading T Café: 8 Chan Cam (2nd floor), Hoan Kiem District

Saigon

  • Little Hanoi Egg Coffee: 119/5 Yersin, District 1 (location 1) or 212 Le Lai, District 1 (location 2)
  • Nap Saigon: 3/5 Nguyen Van Thu, District 1 (location 1) or 65/1 Thu Khoa Huan (location 2)
  • RuNam Bistro/Boutique/d’Or: Several locations in Districts 1, 2, 3 & Binh Thanh

Note that Heritage Line offers luxury cruises along the lower Mekong River in southern Vietnam (Saigon to Siem Reap, Cambodia) as well as Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay in northern Vietnam (near Hanoi). For guests embarking on a journey with us, be sure to take the opportunity to visit a local café serving the delectable egg coffee before or after your cruise!


Try Egg Coffee at Home with Our Recipe

Fortunately, you can try egg coffee for yourself with our very own recipe! Be sure to read our other article for recommended types of coffee as well as tips on using a Vietnamese coffee filter.

You will need:

  • 2 Tablespoons ground Robusta coffee beans
  • 2 Tablespoons sweetened, condensed milk
  • 2 egg yolks (separated from egg white)
  • Other equipment: Vietnamese coffee filter (phin), whisk (hand or electric), bowl for whisking, cup for drinking

Preparation:

  • Filter coffee into cup.
  • Whisk together egg yolks and condensed milk in bowl until very frothy like whipped cream and light yellow in colour. This process can take roughly 10 minutes by hand or two minutes via electric blender. About halfway through, add a teaspoon of coffee from step 1 into the mixture.
  • Pour cream over coffee and enjoy!