Tag Archives: Vietnamese coffee

Hanoi Highlights

It’s been about a year since our first trip to Hanoi, the bustling Northern Vietnamese city that both assaults and enchants with its peddlers, propaganda posters, and world-famous pho.

And it was in a familiar sleepy stupor that we first wandered the streets after disembarking the overnight train from Nanning at the ungodly hour of 5:30 China time/4:30 am in Hanoi.

Good morning, Vietnam.

We stopped into a nearby noodle shop to stomach some pho and a coffee shop to grab a stiff early-morning brew, and then it was off to St. Joseph’s cathedral, the statuesque steepled church in the middle of the city.  While mass was just letting out as we arrived at seven am, in the early afternoon locals gather nearby to drink fabulous lime tea under the awnings, and it’s a more festive atmosphere.

We also made our way to the iconic red bridge on Hoan Kiem Lake and enjoyed watching the locals practice their tai chi. We grabbed a couple pan chocolate (God bless Vietnam’s French heritage!) and savored them as we continued meandering our way through the colorful streets.

When we came back on Saturday from our tour on Halong Bay, we had just a few short hours in Hanoi, so we made a beeline for Cong Caphe, where we downed some fabulous little cups of coffee and stocked up on supplies for the train home to China.

We ended the evening in Hanoi by dining on a set menu at the popular (and pricey) Wild Lotus.  The atmosphere was relaxing, the food pretty good, and the company excellent, of course.  While our time in Hanoi was short, it did not disappoint.

More on Halong Bay and the rest of our trip to come…

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A taste of Vietnam

Ben, Emily, and I sipping on Vietnamese coffee in the loft of Cong Caphe, Hanoi.

There are some travel locales that just linger in your mind, and for me, Hanoi, despite its rough-around-the-edges-24-hour-hawker-identity is one of those places.  

And the taste that lingers with me is that of the Cong Caphe I brought back in humble brown bag sacks.

I mentioned in an earlier post that the first taste of Vietnamese coffee was a revelation, the bitter strength of the brew cut by the sticky, sweet and condensed milk.

There are many places that claim to do Vietnamese coffee in China, but hardly do it justice (in fact this was something that made me outright suspicious of every coffee shop we saw with umbrellas emblazoned with the Trung Ngyuen label, the same one that has let me down so famously here in Nanning).

And so, the next best thing to a return trip to Vietnam (which we hope to do next year for our anniversary), is a cup of home-brewed Cong Caphe, with sweet milk out of Chinese cardboard cartons and some sugar.

This morning’s breakfast: wheat bread with butter and honey my husband brought from a beehive in Yunnan, a fried egg, and you guessed it, a cup of Cong Caphe.

A lovely way to start the morning, if not a mite short of a revelation.

Photo Taken by Evan Schneider, Courtesy of Ben Robinson.