Drinking Coffee in Hanoi

Lonely Planet Vietnam, 14th edition

STARBUCKS HAS come to Vietnam, as it has come to almost everywhere, but, says the 14th edition of Lonely Planet Vietnam, attachment to the country’s own, unique coffee culture still runs deep and “virtually every neighbourhood will have a little cafe where the locals go to destress.”

Part of the de-stressing ritual is waiting for the beverage to slowly be created: “A glass tumbler, topped with a curious aluminum top is placed before you… A layer of condensed milk in the bottom of glass is gradually infused with coffee lazily drip, drip, dripping from the aluminum top. Minutes pass, and eventually a darker caffeine-laden layer floats atop the condensed milk. Stir it together purposefully.”

The guidebook lists popular ways to order your drink: hot or iced, with or without milk or “with coconut, yoghurt or even an egg.” It also suggests several cafés in Hanoi to enjoy Vietnamese coffee in, including:

Café Duy Tri, 43a P Yen Phu. “In the same location since 1936, this…is a Hanoi classic.” Tiny ladders and stairways lead to the third-floor balcony. Try the caphe sua chua (iced coffee with yogurt).

Cafe Pho Co, 4th floor, 11 P Hang Gai. “One of Hanoi’s most hidden cafes… Enter through the silk shop, and continue through the antique-bedecked courtyard.” Try the caphe trung da (coffee topped with beaten egg yolk).

Hanoi House, 2nd floor, 47a P Ly Quoc Su. “A chic and bohemian cafe.” In addition to coffee, you can “chill out on the impossibly slim balcony with excellent juices and Hanoi’s best ginger tea.”