The idea of our holiday trip to Vietnam was born sometime late in the last year, and finally came to fruition in early March this year. Our close friends Ashish and Gita, who have been our holiday partners over the last so many years, arrived in Hanoi, a few hours after Havovi and me had landed and checked into this cozy hotel in the old quarter.

This was just the start of our 14 days holiday trip, and we began with a walkabout in the narrow, really narrow winding streets. It was on our first afternoon after a nice seafood lunch, we called for coffee, and that’s when the oh-so-helpful waiter suggested instead, we take our coffee at the Giảng Café which we found to be just around the corner.

Now I had done my homework on the cuisines of Vietnam, and had heard of this specialty called “Egg coffee”, so naturally my curiosity got the better of me and we set forth. They say that one Mr. Nguyen Van Giang, way back in the ’40s during the French war at the time, came up with this concoction using the egg part to replace the usual milk, which was in shortage at that time. It became an instant hit with the locals and word soon spread, and thus the Giang Coffee house came into existence. Understand that now it is run by his son and has become a must-stop for the tourists and locals alike.

Now don’t be misled or put off by the Egg. It’s not the dominant taste in this concoction. The trick is using the egg yolk to complement the drink without adding the actual egg flavor to the coffee. You could call for it cold or hot. The cold version is quite sweet, and dense, ice chilled and those that had called for the cold version were served it in an ice chilled medium sized glass tumbler. The hot version came in a smaller sized traditional coffee cup, and had a head of a slight but not overpowering egg tasting foam. Both versions are a bit thick, sweet and sort of creamy coffee and foamy egg texture which all of us really enjoyed.

Though our trip took us all across the country, whenever I asked for an “egg coffee” at the other places outside of Hanoi, only to be told off in no uncertain way, “Mister, you must only drink ‘egg coffee’ in Giang Café in Hanoi.” True, that.

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