In your Hanoi tours, if you do not take a sip of the legendary egg coffee, you will regret it after reading this article.
“Pouring a raw egg like that in a cup of coffee? It would be too fishy! Hideous!” said a nose-wrinkled Arab guest. The owner of the egg cafe grinned, “If it’s true, this cup is a freebie, otherwise you must pay me ten-fold the price of it.
It is one of the countless visitors who has had the same query for Nguyen Chi Hoa, the boss of Giang Café at 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Str., Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.
There was an Arab visitant at his restaurant many years ago who took along his mall child and started the guesswork on how much fishy of the beverage since 1946.
“Dad has to pay,” said the little child after the first sip. He appeared doubtful, but still manage to gather all the courage to have a small sip. And after that, he seemed over the moon and jubilantly vocalized “I’ll pay you ten times the amount.” The guest and Mr. Hoa both laughed grinned from ear to ear.
Of course, Hoa only charged the original price. The value of gastronomy does not lie in the amount of money you spend, but the satisfaction trying it out. Time flew like an arrow, but that philosophy has been well preserved till now and years to come.
Sugar, eggs, milk, coffee … and the secret
Nguyen Chi Hoa (62 years old) is the eighth son – the youngest child in a hanoian family. His father, Nguyen Van Giang (who passed away in 1987) was a chef in the Metropole hotel in France.
Become accustomed to making thousands of expensive cappuccino cups with coffee, cream, and milk foam for foreigners, Mr. Giang wondered how to make use of many fresh and delicious organic chicken eggs of Vietnam to combine sugar and condensed milk to bring to life amazing cup of joes? Better yet, they are reasonable for most of the Vietnamese folks?
That curiosity paid off. In 1946, there was a brand new drink served at 39 Nguyen Huu Huan Str. The healthy beverage took the whole zone by storm then.
Mr. Hoa unearthed that the ingredients for making coffee are fresh eggs, sugar, milk, coffee and some other cannot-reveal substances. Egg yolks are thoroughly whisked with milk, sugar, then add boiling coffee. The incredible fragrance immediately conquered the venue.
People put the cup of the hot black liquid on a plate full of hot water aiming to keep the drink warm. First of all, have a small sip of sweet cream on top first, then leisurely enjoy the lower part. The sweetness, richness, and bitterness are in sync to create an exciting drink.
Mr. Nguyen Chi Hoa said that he was manually beating the eggs, so it took a lot of time and the top layer is nowhere near using a machine. As a result, we only served hot egg coffee in the early days. Today, when the eggs have been finely beaten with a very high-quality machine, the shop offers more choices like egg ice coffee, cocoa eggs, mashed green bean eggs, matcha eggs, all served both hot or cold depending on people’s favs.
“Although the menu has changed in May, our traditional coffee still has to be kept. Passion in business is very important, “said Nguyen Chi Hoa.
The successor of Giang coffee recalls the story of a couple who had visited him 30 years ago. It was an ethnic minority girl in Mu Cang Chai district, Yen Bai currently working in the United Nations agency in Vietnam and an American guy – her fresh lover. They both hang out in the egg coffee shop.
For a long time, the pair returned and took their children along. They told him that although many years have passed and they tasted a variety of drinks in The USA, the pair cannot forget the taste of egg coffee. Therefore, in each time returning to Vietnam, they have to go to Hanoi to drink a cup of joe and remember the memory.
The old town between the city
The birth of egg coffee, Nguyen Van Giang was born 8 children, only the youngest Nguyen Chi Hoa is a cook by father, and also Giang Giang coffee from age 17.
However, later, a sister of Mr. Hoa –a retired teacher also opened one café. It is Dinh coffee on the 2nd floor of a house on Dinh Tien Hoang street, overlooking to Hoan Kiem lake. One brother of Hoa, after practicing mechanics, also opened a coffee shop, follows his predecessors’ step. The two cafes serve drinks for diners, however, as a charm, one can drink black coffee, coffee hot milk anywhere, but for coffee, they remember about the house in 39 Nguyen Huu Huan.
The house has narrow alley entrance, however the inside is spacious and airy decorated with many trees and vintage objects. Ancient paintings, clocks, ceiling fans are more than 20 years old. Nguyen Chi Hoa said, these entire family belongings completely original from the time his father alive.
“Many cafes have moved to modern lounge chairs, we still keep rustic wooden chairs, simple, so that visitors can remember what the Hanoi in the good old days, said Mr. Hoa.
Mr. Hoa is still in charge of roasting and grinding coffee, one of the most important steps to produce coffee cups delicious eggs. Mr. Hoa’s wife is still the best coffee maker.
He has two daughters who do different jobs unrelated to coffee. At present, the children only support their parents. Finding out who is the successor of the coffee in the street is a toilsome task.
“Make coffee more manual, have to stay up early, be careful and careful. Anyway, I hope my son-in-law and daughter will have time to think again”, said the man with the pensive smile.