COFFEE CULTURE – AN IMMENSE PART OF VIETNAMESE'S LIFE | Cruise Mekong River

COFFEE CULTURE – AN IMMENSE PART OF VIETNAMESE’S LIFE

2 traditional versions of Vietnamese coffee
If you have once visited Vietnam, a little charming country in the South-East Asia, you must know how coffee here tastes like. As a matter of fact, Vietnamese people treasure coffee and possess such a distinctive style of drinking it. If you seek for the keyword “Vietnamese coffee” on the internet, you will find there are various articles describing the uniqueness of this coffee culture. People here do not simply think of coffee as a special drink, when it comes to coffee, there is a story to tell about how this cultural feature originated and is maintained through time.

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It is not difficult to trace back the origin of coffee in Vietnam. Being suffered from many wars in the past, especially in time of French ruling, coffee was brought by these Western people. In the darkest days, not only coffee but many social and cultural aspects of the French were instilled into Vietnamese people ‘s life. It was not until the 19th century when coffee first traveled to this land. At that time, France was among one of the world’s hugest producers of coffee; the number of coffee shops there was also surprising. They brought coffee seeds and started cultivating in some regions. Hence, it is understandable for the introduction of coffee in Vietnam by the French colonists. Currently, Vietnam is listed as being a significant source of exporting coffee in the world.

The value of coffee do not lie in the economic aspect solely but in the society as well. Ups or downs, good or bad, coffee has always remained in great importance in the life-style of Vietnamese people. In the 1990s, street side coffee shops or vendors without brand names were the most common sight in any big metropolitan. The style was to sit down in these simple settings, no wooden tables and chairs, only some plastic low chairs randomly scattered on the street. Sipping a cup of coffee every day in some calm corners, smoking, chit-chatting gradually became a part of lifestyle of people here, especially in cities such as Hanoi, Hue and Saigon. Time after time, young generation is more and more into the habit of drinking coffee, this leads to the booming of sheer numbers of coffee shops having sophisticated designs, spacious seats and live music. Nonetheless, enjoying coffee on the side walk is still a dominant style and also an experience that any travelers should once try in Vietnam.

What is their traditional way of enjoying a cup of coffee, have you ever wondered about that? The answer is to use “phin”, a small drip filter. Unlike France, Italy or France, etc, now, if you are yearning for a cup of coffee, you have no choice but to find a shop serving this drink from a coffee machine. It is not what happens in Vietnam. Do not rush, let’s sit down on a chair and wait for coffee in a phin. It can be a beautiful morning, a relaxing weekend or simply a lunch break from work, no matter when, you can always find peace with coffee. The second most prominent characteristic that must be mentioned about Vietnamese coffee style is condensed milk. When mixing it with black coffee, you will get a drink called “ca phesua” that can be served hot or cold. If it is hot, call it “nau nong”, if not, call it “nau da”. What is more, traditional coffee shops in Vietnam do not serve food with coffee but instead, there is a plate of sunflower seeds or ‘hat huongduong ‘. Hence, one suggestion for you is to have something for your stomach prior to coffee.

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2 traditional versions of Vietnamese coffee

2 traditional versions of Vietnamese coffee

What is more distinctive about Vietnamese coffee is the variation from which, plenty of lovely drinks are made. If you cannot stand the strength of the black coffee, ask for “bac xiu”, which can be referred to “milky coffee”. For Bac Xiu, a large amount of condensed milk is added to create a more sweet taste. Otherwise, Egg Coffee is your alternative choice. People consider it a signature drink of Hanoi; therefore,  if you want to have an authentic cup of Egg Coffee, go to Hanoi. As its name indicates, Egg Coffee is made by blending raw egg yolk with coffee. At first glance, egg and coffee seem to be uncanny, it thus triggers curiosity of many foreigners when they heard about this specialty of Hanoi. Basically, there are two layers within one cup of egg coffee, black coffee at the bottom and egg foam on top. This combination turns out to be heaven in everyone’s mouth thanks to its creamy soft texture along with its sweet, buttery taste.

When served, Egg Coffee is put inside hot water to maintain the temperature of the drink

When served, Egg Coffee is put inside hot water to maintain the temperature of the drink

The Vietnamese are able to invent many other drink just from coffee, make sure you will not miss trying other types such as Yogurt coffee, Coconut coffee of Fruity Smoothie mixed with coffee.

Despite where you travel to in Vietnam, you can always catch a sight of people of all generations holding a cup of coffee, either in a contemporary or trending style. Without coffee, in immense part of life and the cultural identity will lost..

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