During a recent trip to Hanoi in the north of Vietnam, I lost count of the amount of people telling me to “try the egg coffee!” Egg… coffee? I know, I had the same hesitation as you probably do right now! But stay with me here. Vietnamese egg coffee is a curious-sounding drink made by whipping egg yolks, sugar and condensed milk and is served on top of black coffee. It sounds weird but it’s seriously delicious.
Full disclosure: I don’t really like eggs. I am fine with them in baked goods but the thought of a poached egg sends me into meltdown. So bear that in mind as I perched on a plastic stool by the side of the road in Hanoi and nervously ordered an egg coffee. I sniffed it suspiciously and was relieved to find it didn’t have a particularly eggy smell. I scooped up a bit of the creamy mixture and took a mouthful. It was incredibly velvety, sweet but not sickly and addictive! When combined with the strong black coffee, it almost tasted like liquid tiramisu. I was hooked, and ordered an egg coffee every day I was in Hanoi.
Giang Cafe in Hanoi claims to be the home of the original Egg Coffee, which was dreamed up during a period when dairy was scarce in Vietnam. Beating the egg yolks and condensed milk together creates a rich, thick and creamy texture – no fresh milk required! The original recipe used sugar as well but I found that a little too sweet for my tastebuds.
For those that are worried, yes this recipe uses raw eggs (as does aioli, chocolate mousse and tiramisu) so make sure you use the freshest eggs you can get your hands on. If you’re pregnant, I’d give this drink a miss for a while.
I’m back home in Sydney now and craving the creamy hit of Vietnamese egg coffee. The good news is that’s incredibly easy to make with only 3 ingredients! I purchased some Vietnamese ground coffee when I was there – they use Robusta coffee beans which are higher in caffeine and have a more bitter flavour (now you see why they love adding creamy sweet things to their cup of joe!) If you can’t find any Vietnamese coffee, this recipe works just as well with your favourite blend.
- 6 tsp Vietnamese black coffee powder (or ground coffee of your choice)
- Hot water
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
- Brew the coffee using either a traditional Vietnamese coffee filter, or contraption of your choice.
- Crack 2 eggs and set aside whites for another purpose.
- In a small bowl add the yolks and condensed milk and whisk until thick and creamy. I suggest using electric beaters for this.
- Stop whisking when the egg mixture is the consistency of custard.
- Divide the hot coffee between 2 glasses, then pour the egg mixture on top. It will float to the surface and sit on top of your coffee like a nice sweet blanket.
Once you’ve beaten the egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk into a custard-like mixture, you simply need to pout it over the hot coffee. It immediately will float to the top and form a thick creamy layer. I love finishing mine off with a dusting of cinnamon, but you can use chocolate powder too. This drink is pretty rich and almost could double as dessert – the perfect way to finish off a homemade Vietnamese meal!
Have you tried egg coffee in Vietnam? Will you try it yourself at home?