Hanoi’s Cafe Culture
Coffee plays a major role in Vietnam and it’s likely Hanoi is at the center of Vietnam’s cafe culture.
Within a single block, you’ll easily find 3 or 4 cafes with people sipping on rich, Vietnamese coffee in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
There are many high-end, sit-down, indoor establishments (like Cafe Runam which I recommended here) but there are also plenty of casual cafes with small plastic tables and chairs that sprawl onto the sidewalk.
When traveling in Hanoi it’s impossible to resist sitting out on the sidewalk with a cup of Vietnamese iced coffee (ca phe da) to watch bicycles and motorbikes pass by. Usually Peter and I will have 3 or 4 cups a day when we’re traveling in Vietnam. How I manage to sleep at the end of the day is beyond me.
This stuff will certainly get your pulse going.
Ca Phe Da
The most popular ca phe da you’ll find is ca phe sua da (think cah-fay so-dah) which is Vietnamese iced coffee with a thick layer of sweetened condensed milk at the bottom just waiting to be stirred.
Most of the time, if you don’t specify between ca phe da and ca phe sua da, you’ll get condensed milk in your coffee regardless.
But my favorite iced coffee in Hanoi so far is the coconut coffee at Cong Caphe (details on where to find cong caphe are listed here).
Vietnamese Coconut Iced Coffee
We had multiple cups of the coconut coffee each day we were in Hanoi. I daresay it’s not just my favorite coffee drink, but it’s probably one of my favorite drinks, ever.
While I try not to drink sweet, milky coffees on a regular basis, when Peter and I returned home to Hong Kong from Hanoi I knew I couldn’t wait until my next trip to Vietnam to have this coconut coffee again.
The recipe is simple, indulgent and so damn delicious. Slowly drip your Vietnamese coffee (or other ground coffee of choice) in to a cup filled with condensed milk and coconut milk.
Mix it all together and proceed to treat yo self. You’ll never look at a cup of black coffee the same way again.
- tbs sweetened condensed milk
- tbs coconut milk
- tbsp finely ground coffee
- 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup hot water
- enough ice to halfway fill cup
- Pour condensed milk into a small glass
- Carefully pour coconut milk in to glass
- Fill Vietnamese coffee filter with coffee grounds
- Place filter on top of the glass
- Pour hot water in to top of filter
- Allow hot water to filter through
- Remove filter
- Scoop ice in to glass
- Stir with spoon before drinking