In the baking Hanoi summer heat, there is a tasty treat to refresh and give you a nice kick of energy. What is it? Vietnamese coconut coffee! Yes, you read right. Let me tell you all about it.
In 2016, during our family's visit to Hanoi to visit our daughter who lives there, we were introduced to this tasty treat. Our daughter took us to "walking street" Okay, let me explain. Streets in Hanoi are called by the locals by whatever item the street is famous for selling. Also, sometimes by what activities take place on that street. For example, there is "shoe street", "chicken street", "kitchen street", well you get the picture. Yes, there is also "glasses street."
Walking street, huh?
Well, walking street is named so because on weekends, the whole street and the loop around Hoam Kiem Lake becomes pedestrian only. Kids ride bikes, skateboards, and locals and tourists alike walk around eating snacks, buy handicrafts, and play games. My son Adam loved the area around the lake too! It's so much fun!
Nearby there is a fountain where people congregate. It's a meeting point of sorts. All of a sudden my daughter starts going on about how we can get cheap glasses. Living in the US where prescription glasses are not cheap, I was intrigued. She pointed to the ones she was wearing and declared "these were $30.00 and it includes the vision test." What? Now my ears perked up.
The "glasses shop" she took us to was the equivalent of a booth. There the owner "read" my current prescription with a machine, and quickly nodded. "One hour" he said, and held up one finger. Well, we had time to kill, and that is where Vietnamese coconut coffee comes into the scene.
Onto a coffee break
Next to the glasses store there was an adorable coffee shop: The Note Coffee. By the way the real name for glasses street is Luong Van Can Street. Every inch of wall and ceiling space in this lovely establishment is covered in , inspiring, and uplifting messages written on colorful post its notes.Sayings like "Have a beautiful day" or "Do something that makes you happy" come posted to your coffee cup. Such a charming idea!
My daughter insisted that I get the Vietnamese coconut coffee. At first I was a bit skeptical since I am not much of a flavored coffee person. But she urged. "Let's order one coconut coffee and one black. If you don't like it, I'll trade you, no questions."
One sip, and I was in coconut heaven. The creamy, rich coconut perfectly complimented the acidity of the coffee making it a drinkable, hot dessert to be savored to the last drop. And I did savor it, grudgingly sharing sips with my sisters and husband. They loved it too. Eventually I had to tell them to get their own.
In the summer Vietnamese coconut coffee is good iced according to my daughter. In the winter which is when we visited we drank it warm. I know coconut oil is also popular to put into coffee but you have to try coconut cream for a really rich flavor.
Just in case you are ever in Hanoi, my daughter claims that the best coconut coffees are served in the following cafes:
The Note Coffee: 64 Luong Van Can
Tranquil: 5 Nguyen Quang Bich, Hoan Kiem
SpaceBar: Villa 15 Alley 76,to Ngoc Van, Tay Ho District
Now, if you want to try more Vietnamese recipes here are some ideas to inspire you.:
Vietnamese Beef Stew (Bo sot vang) is a comforting dish perfect for cold weather. It is a variation on The classic European beef stew.
You could also try a Vietnamese Beef Noodle Salad (Pho Tron). This dish is a summer favorite in Vietnam. Fresh greens, noodles, and beef. In a way, think of it as the Vietnamese version of a steak salad.
Bun cha has to be one of my favorite Vietnamese foods. Grilled pork meatballs served with greens, and a tasty dipping broth made with lime juice, fish sauce, palm sugar, and rice vinegar.
Chả Giò are Vietnamese Spring Rolls made with tofu, mushrooms, noodles, and delicious herbs. My version is vegetarian but feel free to add pork!
Cà Phê Trứng or Egg Coffee is like a coffee creme brûlée. You will love the creaminess of the egg meringue paired with bitter coffee.
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Vietnamese Coconut Coffee
Vietnamese coconut coffee is made with robust Vietnamese coffee and coconut milk. It is easy to make and delicious. Drink it hot or cold depending on the season.
In a small container mix together the condensed milk, and the coconut cream.
Slowly stir into the coffee.
By the way, if you want to drink it cold, just add ice.