Sitting at a tiny family-run café in Hoi An, I was really surprised to see “Egg with Coffee” on the menu and had to try it. Firstly, it sounds much different from anything you’d expect on a coffee drinks menu. But, also my grandmother would make something called “Egg in the Coffee” when I was younger. She would extract the egg yolk from an egg and then mix only the yolk with sugar until took on a thick consistency. Then, she would pour the hot coffee over the mixture slowly, and stir at the same time. I remember loving it.
After checking that the egg is cooked in this recipe (I’m not that fearless), I ordered it with excitement. After about 10-15 minutes, a hot coffee drink that literally looked “stacked” in a tall clear glass arrived. With a white layer on the bottom, dark coffee filling the majority of the glass, and a top of thick but creamy foam, I was hesitant to even mix the drink and disrupt its beautiful presentation. After a photo-op, I carefully mixed the drink and took my first sip. Delicious! I’ve heard others compare the taste to tiramisu, and I would say that’s fairly spot-on. It is not necessarily for the coffee purists out there who only take their coffee black. It is airy, sweet (but not overly sweet), and you can of course taste the strong coffee – but not the egg. It was very similar to my grandmother’s drink, expect maybe more sweet and with a much cooler presentation. I knew I would have to come back to this café tomorrow to have some more – and also ask about their recipe.
The next day, I returned to the cute café, called Café 57. The waitress, Hien, seemed nice enough, so I asked her if she could show me how they make their Egg in the Coffee. She smiled and said yes! Before I knew it, I was headed to the back kitchen with Hien, but also her father, Hung (who made the drink yesterday). While the grandmother was in the kitchen still eating a bowl of noodles, I followed Hien around with my camera and questions. Here is the simple recipe so we call make it at home:
1) Take only egg yolk and whip it.
2) Add one tablespoon of sugar, and whip it again.
3) Take one tablespoon of Vietnamese coffee and one tablespoon of espresso and brew them together in a percolator.
4) While waiting for the coffee to brew, add condensed milk to the egg and sugar mixture.
5) When the coffee is ready, add the coffee to the egg mixture and mix before drinking.
If you are ever in Hoi An, be sure to pay Café 57 a visit and order their “Egg with Coffee.” Set your preconceptions aside, and enjoy your coffee :)