Some of you might think the idea of combining eggs and coffee quite is strange because of the smell of raw eggs. In fact, only egg yolk is used, and the egg white, which causes the smell, is not included in the coffee cup. The egg coffee has a creamy and sweet flavor of the egg yolk and milk, supplemented by the bitter aftertaste of strong coffee. And because of that, egg coffee is also described as a liquid tiramisu.
It is said that egg coffee was invented in the mid-1940s by Nguyen Van Giang, who was a chef at the Hanoi Metropole Hotel. His son, who is currently the owner of his father’s famous coffee shop in Hanoi, said his father wanted to make the delicious cappuccino drink more popular among the Vietnamese but in the 1940s, the fresh milk was too expensive to afford. After many experiments, Mr. Giang successfully developed a flavourful, nutritious beverage called egg coffee. He substituted the top layer with his invention, the whisked egg cream, and made an even better drink but 10 times cheaper.
At that time, egg yolks were whipped by hand, so it took a lot of time, and only hot egg coffee was served. Today, with the availability of the whipping machine, beating egg yolks has become much faster, making it possible to have iced egg coffee. The egg layer is also smoother and fluffier, making the egg coffee tastes more delicious. Nowadays, not only egg coffee but also egg cocoa and egg matcha are served and favored by many people, especially those who have caffeine intolerance or feel like Vietnamese coffee is too strong.
Ingredients to make egg coffee are really simple, which include egg yolks, sugar, milk, coffee, and other things such as cheese or butter, which vary on the coffee shops' recipes. Firstly, egg yolks are whipped with milk, sugar, and other dairy products if you wish until the whole combination gets thick, creamy, and glossy. After that, put the fluffy mixture into a small cup. Pour hot coffee over the cup; the hot liquid will go to the bottom, leaving foamy egg layers on top. The cup of coffee will immediately float in an aromatic fragrant of coffee combined with the creamy egg. Finally, sprinkle a dash of coffee powder on top.
The hot cup of egg coffee is usually served in a small bowl of hot water to keep the drink warm and reduce the raw aftertaste of eggs. In Saigon, some coffee shops use a two-layer cup instead. The air between the two layers will act as a deterrent against thermal conductivity and, thus, keep the coffee from getting cold.
Although the recipe seems quite simple, there are a lot of techniques. In order to make a perfect cup of egg coffee and eliminate the unpleasant smell of the eggs, the baristas have mastered skills like egg whisking, egg selection, and roasting coffee.
Hot egg coffee is recommended for people to try for the first time since the high temperature will reduce the raw egg smell and increase the creaminess of the cotton eggs. For iced egg coffee, you should drink it faster than the hot version because the ice will cool off the egg first.
In order to try it, taste a little sweet cream on top of the coffee cup first, then slowly enjoy the lower part of the coffee. After that, you can freely mix two layers and enjoy the exciting sense of sweetness, fatness, and bitterness. Egg coffee is a good choice of drink on a rainy day; sipping egg coffee while listening to the sound of the rain outside would be a memorable experience. The sweet and tasty cocoa or matcha versions are other options if you cannot drink coffee.
Many people have questioned how the taste of eggs can go well with the bitterness of coffee. But if you have tried it once, you will be conquered in all senses. Egg coffee is not only delicious but also very eye-catching. The egg yolks mixed with coffee create an extremely attractive yellowish-brown color.
The drink is not too sweet; it's a bit like latte or cappuccino, but creamier. After tasting the strength of coffee but before the bitterness kicks in, your throat will be filled with the creamy, soft, and sweet taste of eggs, butter, sugar, and condensed milk.
Despite being invented and getting famous in Hanoi, egg coffee has made its way to the south thanks to its delicious flavor. Below are several options if you want to drink egg coffee in Saigon. The flavor of coffee is not significantly distinguished, but the design and service will bring you different experiences.
Address: 89B Cach Mang Thang 8, District 1
Opening hours: 7 AM - 11 PM
Price: VND 55,000
Vietphin Coffee is located right in the heart of Saigon - District 1, opposite Tao Dan Park and about 1 kilometer from Ben Thanh Market; therefore, it is easy to make your way here.
Contrary to the chaos of heavy traffic outside, once you have entered the store, the inner design will please you with the aroma of fresh coffee. It is prominent with white tones creating a bright space, brown furniture, and yellow light bulbs, which make it cozier. The designs of the chairs and tables here are suitable for multi-purposes, including working alone or in a group, meetup, or having a casual talk. The upstairs (elevator is available) is quieter and more spacious, which seems like a perfect spot for working and studying, while the ground floor is for having small talk.
Vietphin coffee is quite empty in the morning, but at noon, many customers from the nearby office stop at the coffee shop to have a lunch break.
Despite the busy lunchtime, the staff is enthusiastic, quick, and amiable, greeting you with smiling faces. The menu of the cafe varies, offering mainly coffee drinks, but there are other choices, such as tea and yogurt. Light meals like bread with meatballs are also available. However, egg coffee is the signature of the cafe.
Egg coffee is served at Vietphin with a two-layered cup
The egg layer at Vietphin Coffee is really creamy, smooth, and not too sweet. The robusta coffee below is extremely bitter, strong, and a little too much compared to the egg yolk. Therefore, you might need to add some sugar and consider carefully when ordering this drink in the evening because it might cause sleep deprivation.
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Address: 8 Hoa Cuc, Phu Nhuan District
Opening hours: 7 AM - 10 PM
Price: 30,000 VND
Luu Gia Café is a small store nestled in the corner of a small street in Phu Nhuan District, but it is incredibly crowded with many people coming here to enjoy egg coffee. This place is well-known as the first coffee shop in Saigon to serve egg coffee.
There are two floors with a classic street-style design with small wooden furniture. This style would make Hanoi customers reminisce about the ancient capital's old days.
The simple inner design of Luu Gia Coffee
As soon as you settle, the staff will give you a plate of sunflower seeds while waiting for the drinks. A downside of the small store is that it could be too narrow for some people, but it makes the coffee shop look cozy.
A cup of egg coffee served at Luu Gia Coffee
The egg coffee at Luu Gia Coffee is claimed to resemble the original flavor of that in Hanoi. The black coffee is Vietnamese coffee brewed in a traditional dripped filter, and the egg is much sweeter and has a very pleasant smell. There is absolutely no eggy taste because the fluffy egg is heated at a high temperature before being added to the coffee. The taste and smell are very similar to those of a sweet cake. It seems like more egg yolks are added, compared to Vietphin, while the amount of black coffee is the same. The result is that egg coffee has a thick layer of egg foam and a thin layer of coffee below.
Address: 165/3 Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1
Opening hours: 9 AM - 10 PM
Price: VND 40,000
Right in the heart of Saigon, a coffee shop named Goc Ha Noi, which means a corner of Hanoi, is opened. Everything in the cafe, from the design and food to the music and even the people here will remind you of the capital in the north.
The shop is located in a super small alley, next to a small old apartment on Bui Vien Street. Contrary to the bustling street outside, as soon as you enter this place, it would calm you down, closing all the noise behind.
Goc Ha Noi seems like another world, separate from the rush outside
Goc Ha Noi has three floors; while the ground is the cooking station, the other two are spaces for visitors. The interior is decorated with pictures of Hanoi and several quotes, which are commonly seen in wartime. Since the store is very small, there is only one staff, who is also the owner. She can speak English fluently and is willing to share with you the stories behind egg coffee and Vietnamese culture.
The egg layer at Goc Ha Noi Cafe is much thicker and less sweet than in other shops
The owner, a Hanoian - which means who might know how to do justice to a cup of egg coffee, shared with us that she got the recipe from her mom, who used to open an egg coffee shop in Hanoi. Therefore, the egg part is made with sugar instead of condensed milk from the shortage of condensed milk in the past. Consequently, it tastes less sweet in comparison with other recipes. However, you can combine the egg coffee with the complimentary vanilla cookies to make it sweeter and add more texture.
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Address: 235A Huynh Tan Phat, Tan Thuan Dong Ward, District 7
Opening hours: 6:30 AM - 10 PM
Price: VND 35,000
Crossing Tan Thuan Bridge to what we call "the other side of Saigon", you'll find a cafe that offers authentic vibes and a taste of quaint Vietnam. Hoa Dat Cafe resembles a beautiful old Vietnamese house from the inside out: northern-styled furniture in a dark brown tone, a small bookshelf, and pictures of old Saigon on the wall, a board of Chinese chess games for the real experts. All harmonize well as customers listen to the calming tunes of southern and central Vietnam folk songs.
While waiting for your egg coffee in this nostalgic space, you'll realize why egg coffee is not a drink for those in haste. Ten minutes for an egg coffee cup done right: creamy egg foam with a bliss sweetness, bold coffee underneath, and above all, considerate service from the two owners, who are also Hanoians. The female owner, who is also the main barista, told us how carefully she chose free-range eggs for her coffee while the male owner, who speaks fluent English, hastily changed the hot water in our cup, worrying it'll cool down and spoil the taste. All in all, a worthy place to try egg coffee in Saigon.
Nostalgic entrance and inside of Hoa Dat Cafe
Elegant northern-styled furniture of Hoa Dat Cafe
Stellar Vietnamese hot egg coffee
Fascinating iced egg coffee
A varied menu featuring coffee, smoothies, yogurt, and Vietnamese food
Egg coffee is the favorite drink of many Vietnamese, especially people from Hanoi. They come not only to drink a cup of coffee but also to drift themselves into nostalgia and memories of the past. If you travel to Vietnam but can't make it to the north, make sure to try egg coffee in Saigon at one of these shops. The smell of eggs mixed with the aroma and bitter taste of coffee will be the highlight of your trip.
Besides the drink, you can also experience other signature local dishes on our private tours in Ho Chi Minh City.
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