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Working in Sa Dec

by Going Slowly

We wake up this morning with zero desire to travel. A peek outside reveals a grey sky with 100% chance of heavy showers. On a more positive note, we really like our hotel room, and the great restraunt across the street. Since we're having such a rough time, we've decided to follow our new rule of making the most of good things while we have them.

So, we're staying put to spend this rainy day writing, programming, and hopefully acclimating to the buzz of activity in our new Vietnamese surroundings. Before doing anything, we head across the street for breakfast and iced coffee.

The potent mix of espresso and sweetened condensed milk in this Vietnamese brew is so rich and dark and delicious that it tastes of chocolate. Making it is a slow ritual – it takes at least five minutes for the boiling water to trickle through the grounds, out of a tiny metal filter, and into a shot glass below.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee Prep

Next, we mix in the thick, creamy layer of sweetened condensed milk.

Stirring Espresso & Condensed Milk

Finally, we pour the steamy, bittersweet concoction over a full cup of ice. As it dives into every nook and cranny, the frozen cubes of water melt rapidly, diluting the powerful mixture ever-so-slightly. It almost looks like a lava lamp as the liquid swirls into the glass. The end result is a staggeringly strong cup of iced coffee.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee Vietnamese Iced Coffee Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Let's face it, we're addicted.

Coffee isn't the only thing our restaurant does right. They also serve ice cream! Even better, it comes in comforting flavors we're used to, like chocolate and vanilla (as opposed to the more common selections like taro root, durian, sweet corn, etc). They even present it exactly like it's shown on the cheesy picture in the menu, complete with sugar flowers, umbrellas, sprinkles, and wedding decorations!

Wedding Desserts?


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I LURVE Vietnamese coffee (iced or hot)!!
Posted by Greg on February 10th, 2011 at 10:51 PM
I'm going to have to try your Vietnamese version with American expresso & sweetened condensed milk--I'm a huge fan of iced coffee in the summer anyhow, but I suspect I'll want it to be diluted plenty!
Posted by Gia Scott on February 11th, 2011 at 3:18 AM
Seriously... I don't know why American coffeeshops haven't gotten on the sweetened condensed milk bandwagon, but they could probably make a killing if they did. Back when I worked at Espresso, we made a similar drink by the name of "Spanish latte", but it had nothing on Vietnamese iced coffee.
Posted by Tara on February 15th, 2011 at 8:01 AM
I met a girl in India who complained of a mysterious case of getting quite fat during her travels in Vietnam, and the culprit - condensed milk in the Vin Cafe - was only found out at the end of her trip. Being able to drink as many as you want is the surest reward for riding the ridiculous roads, and SO deserved!
Posted by Kris on February 15th, 2011 at 4:06 PM