VIETNAMESE COFFEE WITH CONDENSED MILK
CÀ PHÊ S A ĐÁ
S E R V E S 1
Introducing coffee was one of the best things the French did for Vietnam; the country is now one of the largest coffee producers in the world. The coffee grown and consumed here is mainly robusta and it’s very bold in flavour with deep, nutty, caramel and even chocolate notes. They serve it strong and it’s a popular pick-me-up when energy starts flagging in the intense Saigon heat. One of the nicest ways to have it is over ice, although plenty of people like it hot too. Whichever way you drink it, it’s essential to use sweetened condensed milk. One of the beautiful things about drinking coffee in Saigon is the ritual of watching it filter, through a special little drip contraption called a ‘phin’, which sits on top of your glass. It demands you chill out and watch life go by as the coffee takes a while to drip through; you just can’t be in a hurry when you order Vietnamese coffee.
2 teaspoons condensed milk
2 tablespoons Vietnamese
Pour the condensed milk into a clear glass. Place a Vietnamese coffee drip filter on top of the glass, then remove the lid and middle screen.
Spoon the Vietnamese coffee into the filter, then tamp the ground coffee with the middle screen. Do not remove the screen.
Pour 2 teaspoons of boiling water into the filter and wait 10 seconds for the water to steep into the coffee. Now add a further 2 tablespoons of boiled water, close the lid and wait until all the water has dripped through the coffee and onto the condensed milk.
Remove the coffee filter, stir and drink hot. Alternatively, add ice for a Vietnamese iced coffee.
This is an edited extract from Street Food Asia byLuke Nguyen published by Hardie Grant Books RRP AU$39.99/ NZ$44.99 and is available in stores nationally. Photographer: ©Alan Benson