The coffee was first imported to Hanoi by French during their first colonial exploitation here. With the formation of the French Quarter where the French immigrated, they brought their favorite drink, and Hanoi coffee began to take its first steps on the streets around Hoan Kiem Lake.
Following the French invasion at the 1800s, coffee was introduced in Vietnam, but the source of coffee back then was limited therefore it was considered as a luxury good, only the French colonists along with Nguyễn dynasty’s nobles could have the right to drink it.
Few years later, some “pure” Vietnamese coffee shops were opened in the neighborhood. The famous names such as: Giảng, Lâm coffee shops began to change their coffee making recipe in order to satisfy customers. They started to replace the French coffee roasting way by using avocado oil for roasting the coffee, which creates a creamy flavor as well as avoids being over cooked. Moreover, they also used the Arabica way mixed with Robusta or other nuts to make the flavor stronger.
Those coffee shops are always in mind of Hanoians as a coffee lover’s destination no matter how much their changes could be.
Why don’t we go around French Quarter and take a sip of coffee?
I.2 Hanoi coffee culture.
It can be said that the story about Hanoi coffee is an unique one. Its own features can make you feel the soul of Hanoi once you taste it.
Hanoi coffee culture has no rush in the way to enjoy as American’s.
Not diluted as the French style.
The taste is not as Italian flavor.
Compared to the millennial history of this city, Hanoi coffee is just an exotic cultural which has been there for nearly one century.
But with an essence of the city that always refines the identity of one’s own, Hanoi coffee has gradually been replacing the tea in the daily beverage culture, turning the street shops into an interesting corner in all kinds of coffee shops or restaurants.
So no matter wherever a Hanoian goes, what that man who grew up in the heart of Hanoi remembers the most is the street stalls, and coffee. The smell of coffee is the compass that leads us to the soul of Hanoi.
There was a saying to praise the most famous brands of coffee shops in the 70s-80s: “Nhân, Lâm, Năng, Giảng”
Giảng coffee nearly a century is still attractive by the unique egg coffee.
Nhân coffee, nowadays, has no ancient atmosphere but modern style but its flavor is still very good.
Năng coffee is at the small alley of Hang Bac street. Very small, just a set of tables and chairs, with coffee flavor characteristics and a space which can be one in million: the silver lime walls, the pretty stools faded in the dim light and stillness.
Lâm (Nguyễn Hữu Huân Street) is as quiet as Phố Phái paintings (the famous paintings of famous Hanoi by the well-known artist Bùi Xuân Phái. The place is like an unreachable sadness.
Old Quarter Coffee in Hàng Hành hides its self like a peaceful corner in the middle of a busy area. The shop is only for patrons, people who love quietness and nostalgic. In the quiet space with ancient houses, parallel sentences, garden, bamboo architecture, some bantam chickens (the smallest chicken) around the yard, the coffee shop makes people feel like time to stop.
The Hanoi coffee space has changed a lot. Street coffee shops with poetic, romantic and airy landscapes of natural lakes such as Trúc Bạch lake, West lake, Thiền Quang lake, Đắc Di lake,… or Rock coffee, Book coffee, Takeaway coffee,… are places that seem to be served for young people.
Coffee in luxury buildings such as
Lakeview sky lounge on the 18th floor of the Daewoo Hotel,
the 20-floor Summit Lounge on the Sofitel Plaza,
City view on the roof of the Shark Jaw Building
Is a meeting place for business people. Customers can enjoy both coffee and the city view here.
I.3. Egg coffee
Egg coffee – the creative beverage of Hanoians, has become famous around the world by the foreign guests after passing along the story about that drink. Someone said, only by drinking hot egg coffee in a simple glass cup once can make you hardly forget Hanoi.
The coffee maker must choose fresh raw eggs to not smell fishy. Coffee must also be a purest class of Vietnam, has a passionate aroma. Chicken eggs are chewed with yolks, hand-wiped or hand-woven until it smells like a bun and then poured with hot coffee in the middle of the cup. Eggs then floats on top of the cup.
The way to make egg coffee is not too complicated, but requires a sophistication and skilled hands . The recipe is nothing special but very few places can make this drink. The secret is to reduce the rate of eggs, coffee and milk so that the mouth is just right, harmony is not too sweet, not too bitter, dank in the smell of passion.
The eggy taste mixed with the aroma of Vietnamese coffee creates the flavor of coffee. You should drink as soon as it is still hot, otherwise it will be fishy and difficult to drink. Later on, some restaurants sprinkle over a cup of coffee with a little pinch of brown cocoa powder which make your hot cup both beautiful and have more attractive flavor. Alike any other traditional foods, when drinking, one must slowly stir the bubbly foam, put each spoon to the mouth to feel the creamy taste of egg spreading the rich flavor .
Egg Coffee is considered the heart of Hanoi coffee culture. The first egg coffee in Hanoi appeared in the early twentieth century, the creator of this unique egg coffee is Nguyen Van Giang. At the time, he had worked as a chef at the French five-star Sofitel Legend Metropole so that he was able to transform the familiar Capuccino of the West into egg white with more intimate ingredients.
I.4. Weasel Coffee
Weasel Coffee – the most expensive coffee in the world (or sometimes called Civet Coffee or Kopi Luwak) has the history from thousand years ago.
Back to time when French took the control of politics in Vietnam, farmers, who were the one making coffee, had no chance to enjoy their work. They were not allowed to taste even 1 drop of what they made.
The only way they can taste coffee was to pick up Weasel poops, which was a block of coffee beans sticking together. They then realized this type of “poop coffee” was way more aromatic than the usual one. With this new type of coffee beans, the coffee taste was smoother and less bitter, much better than what they had to serve for the French.
These farmers discovered that the coffee beans were perfectly protected, only the skin was digested. It is the enzyme from the Weasels stomach make the coffee beans unharmed and fermented.
Weasel coffee once roasted, becomes extremely aromatic with vanilla – smelling, created a smooth and sweet after – taste coffee while the contained caffeine yet lessen but still preserved, therefore the pleasant feelings that people often associate with their first cup of coffee in the morning are not affected.
II. Hanoi coffee shop
II.1. From the very first traditional coffee shop
As the very first place in Hanoi having egg coffee, Giảng Café was founded by Mr. Nguyễn Văn Giảng in 1946. Giảng Café is humbly hidden on a small lane on Nguyễn Hữu Huân Street in the city’s old quarter. It may be difficult to find for visitors, but it is well worth the effort. It continues to be hugely popular among Hanoi’s coffee addicts with its special Egg coffee.
(Address: No.39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân street)
Was born and stick with Hanoi since 1946, the brand was opened by 3 ranger soldiers (Thi – Nhân – Thế), then the Nguyễn Văn Thi – Trần Thị Thanh Kỳ family created the recipe and established this coffee brand.
The owner of the cafe has the secret of roasting, grinding their own coffee so that the coffee is always particularly delicious. Until now, each of his children opened their own coffee shop, so you will see a lot of coffee shops named Nhân. But most people still find the one in Hàng Hành street.
(Address: No.39D Hàng Hành street)
This one of Hanoi’s oldest café. Its proprietor, Mr. Lâm, provided coffee and often loans to the city’s impoverished artist community during the war. The place is nostalgic and packed with local people. It was an interesting experience to sit at the pavement and watching people passing by. Opposite to Giảng cafe.This place offer traditional Vietnamese coffee
(Address: No.60 Nguyễn Hữu Huân street)
As the oldest café in Hanoi, the Café has been selling coffee for over 50 years. This was a small address at No.6 Hàng Bạc street where artists of Hanoi gathered. The place is decorated with a folk style always crowded. Its customers are attracted by the taste of coffee. According to the owner, there is no secret in the way of making each cup of coffee but the heart of the seller.
(Address: No.6 Hàng Bạc street)
II.2. To the modern coffee shop branches.
With the growth of outgoing youth communities, many coffee shops have expanded to many branches in the city, covering many provinces in the country. To survive for a long time, these shops must still retain its own identity, not mixed up the cafe market that is already very saturated.
These following coffee shops are best suitable for people who are looking a space to work and to have meetings with friends.
Highlands Coffee is a Vietnamese coffee shop chain and producer and distributor of coffee products, established in Hanoi by Vietnamese American David Thai in 1998. The chain of coffee shops located in beautiful locations in the city which is convenient for having business meetings or small group discussions. Here they use the self-service at the counter.
Trung Nguyên coffee
Although the brand is said to have a lot of scandals surrounding the spokesperson, brand positioning, image identity, the Trung Nguyên chain is still one of the top choices for ones who love the “real coffee”.
If you are familiar with Trung Nguyên, you will find it very difficult to drink coffee at street stalls, you will immediately notice the difference in the taste of coffee mixed with many additives.
Cộng Caphe is a popular coffee chain that has taken Hanoi with its rustic, military chic decoration.
In the city, there are 18 outlets in most crowded locations.
Here, crowd avoiders can always find the hidden corner for themselves, or those who like noisy places can chat with friends on the balcony. It’s worth checking out at least one Cộng Ca phe branch.
The Coffee House
This coffee chain was first opened in Ho Chi Minh city and up to now, it has covered hot spots in this city. In 2015, The Coffee House appeared in Hanoi and quickly expanded its branches.
Their target customers are students, office workers who need quite space for studying, working and partner meetings.The main style of The Coffee House is the simplicity and maximum use of light in the balcony, windows, and the placement of many green spaces.
Aroi Dessert Café
Starting from a small café on the street that is also very modest in Hanoi – Nguyễn Thiệp, no one did expect that the coffee shop later grows that fast. Up to now, Aroi has 7 facilities in Hanoi. Not being invested so much but by catching the right opportunity when the wave of Thai snacks spilled into Vietnam, the chain has quickly gained its ranking.
III. Take a sip of Coffee while taking a tour in Hanoi
Completely different from take-away coffee, traditional coffee in Hanoi makes people live slower to taste the bitterness in the tip of tounge, but sweetness later.
Tasting a cup of Hanoi coffee is just like to live a life. Every one tries their best in work when they are young to get all the deserved achievements when they are mature.
Taking a Hanoi tour around city, you have a chance to pass by those traditional coffee shops. The smell of coffee beans flies in the air and lightly touch your nose.
You might can’t help falling in love with a beauty of Hanoi – traditional coffee.
Don’t hesitate to ask the guide for a stop at coffee shop to live slowly, and to share with each other your life and your experience.
As far as you might know, the breakfast is the most important meal in a day. It plays an indispensable role in supplying all the necessary nutrients for body for a day of hard work. It is said that a suitable breakfast will help your body create energy for a new day with vitality as well as supplement nutrients consumed after a long night. According to nutrient experts, the first meal occupies 25-30 percent of the energy sum of all day. Understanding of the significance of having a sufficient breakfast, Vietnamese people are in the habit of taking a breakfast after awaking up.
In some countries, people often brush teeth after eating, but in Vietnam they do personal hygiene cleanly before having. Normally, the mother will get up early to prepare breakfast for family at 6h30’ am. In Vietnamese people’s opinion, small dishes on the table express the love of the mothers to their children and husbands. Another reason why the Vietnamese prefer cooking at home to going out for breakfast is to ensure food safety. Because nowadays people are always busy with their own jobs, they have less time to prepare a proper breakfast. They often come over a certain store on the way to work or go to school to buy fast food or take a meal in a hurry. As a result, it is inevitable to ensure food safety standards and maybe lead to have a sore stomach, food poisoning and even obesity. However, there are a lot of prestigious stores and restaurants serving breakfast well for you to select and believe in Hanoi.
It is more essential for foreign visitors to have a breakfast in Vietnam. Maybe because of being unfamiliar time zone or different flavors of food in Vietnam, some of them find difficulties in seeking good places for serving breakfast. They do be afraid of going out for taking, but order very hotel they stay. It is shame for you to miss a good chance to discover Vietnam food. Well, you know Vietnam is paradise for food with diversity traditional and modern dishes. Specially, there are a large number of delicious courses being suitable for breakfast such as pho, bun cha, banh mi,…It is essential that tourists should have a slight breakfast to be ready for a hard day to be able to explore Hanoi. This is some suggestions for you about several dishes and famous places for breakfast.
Pho – Vietnamese traditional food with Hanoi free local tours
Phois ranked in 20 top-the most delicious breakfast dishes on the world. And it is always proud course of the Vietnamese people. Wherever and whenever you want to enjoy a pho bowl, you are able to find a store selling pho easily. Since pho appears at everywhere, from poor countries to large cities and along bent streets or narrow alleys. Furthermore, you can find the pho restaurants in other countries such as America, China and Thailand. Pho is commonly eaten for breakfast, although many other people would have it for their lunch or dinner. Anyone feeling hungry in the small hours of the morning can also enjoy a bowl of hot and spicy Pho to fill their empty stomach. Pho also needs its special taste and smell. The particular flavor of soup is the thing everyone likes the most. The source for pho is made by stewing the bones of cows and pigs for a long time in a large pot. Having several types of pho and their names depend on the kind of meat used. For examples, pieces of fillet mignon together with several slices of ginger are reserved for a bowl of Pho Bo Tai (rare fillet) and slices of well-done meat are however offered to those less keen on eating rare fillets, while Pho Ga is made by stewing together chicken and pig bones.
List of reccommended places for Pho breakfast in Hanoi:
Pho vui: Adress:25 Hàng Giầy, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội.
Price: about 30.000VND/a portion
Pho Ly Quoc Su: Adress: 10 Ly Quoc Su
Price: 40.000VND/a portion
Pho and beef: Adress: 49 Bat Dan
Price: 40.000 VND/ a portion
2. Bun Cha – The spicy dish for breakfast:
As far as you might know, Vietnam is paradise for food with subtle, creative and unique courses which bring typical traditional culture of local residents and only appear in Vietnam. It is vermicelli that is popular with people and easy to combine with others to make a delicious dish for small meals, such as for breakfast and lunch. There are a variety of ways to enjoy rice vermicelli, each dish having its own unique taste. Bun cha is one of them. It is charming flavor that any Vietnamese people going oversea miss, because the one not only brings a beautiful culture feature but also contain great sentiment of maker. In Vietnam family, mother is very person getting up early to prepare breakfast for her husband and children. Love is the most wonderful ingredient to create this special dish. Looking through, Bun cha is normal with ingredients easy to find and uncomplicated recipe. Also, subtle taste with clever hands of Hanoian makes it different. Bun cha includes rice vermicelli, grilled pork and spicy, fresh vegetables and well mixed fish sauce combined with vinegar, sugar, hot chilly, garlic and pepper. The sauce will then contain all the essential tastes, sour, hot, salty and sweet. There are two kinds of Cha (grilled pork) used, depending on the cut of the meat. If the pork is cut into small pieces, it is called Cha Mieng (piece of grilled pork). If it is minced prior to being shape into small cubes, it is named Cha Bam (minced grilled pork).
It will be a big mistake if not mention Banh Mi like a speciality of Vietnam. Not only is it popular with Vietnamese people but it also is famous at foreign countries as one of the most delicious fast foods on the world. Moreover, in its honor, Banh mi was added to the Oxford English Dictionary on 24 March 2011. From the north to the south, you could find it easily. When you are walking with your girlfriend, let come over certain small kiosk on the pavement if you feel hungry. Or when you are in a hurry for going to work or to school, you can stop over in store for a minute, for example. The delicious and sweet-smelling Banh Mis are always ready for everyone. Regardless of where you live, how you rich or your class, enjoy it and distance between you and other people will be casted away. Which the savour is sweet, hot and full of meat, cream is resemble the hospitality of Vietnamese people as well. This is a creative dish having had origin of French, so each of regions has different recipes. Also, they have to have the same points. Unlike the traditional French baguette, the Vietnamese baguette is made with rice flour along with wheat flour. Typical fillings include steamed, pan-roasted or oven-roasted seasoned pork belly, Vietnamese sausage, frilled pork patties, canned sardines in tomato sauce, soft pork meatballs in tomato sauce, head cheese, fried eggs, mock duck, and tofu. Accompanying vegetables typically include fresh cucumber slices, cilantro (leaves of the coriander plant) and picked carrots and white radishes in shredded form. Common condiments include spicy chili sauce, mayonnaise, and cheese. In addition, ‘Banh mi chay’ also is added menu. This is option for vegetarians and made with tofu or seitan. In Vietnam, vegetarian sandwiches are less common on the streets. They are usually made at Buddhist temples during special religious events. So if you are a vegetarian, you should find the restaurant because it is possible to have vegetarian food.
List of reccommended places for Banh Mi in Hanoi:
Banh mi: 38 Đinh Liệt in the Old Quarter – 20.000-25.000VND
Banh mi Nguyen Sinh: 19 Lý Quốc Sư – 25.000 VND
PappaRoti: 34 Hang Gai, in the Old Quarter – 14.000 VND
4. Com Tam – The nutrient dish for breakfast:
According to the latest statistic, Vietnam is the second export rice on the world. It is unfamiliar that rice is a main ingredient to create most Vietnamese food. If you have chance to drop in on a Vietnamese family and are invited for dinner, you will have more understanding of culture in Vietnam. The image all members sitting around tray full of food and tell stories together is warm and happy. It is suggested that you should taste it to feel Vietnamese traditional flavor in its country. Due to being popular, it is easy for you to find somewhere selling it on the street. A rice dish includes an omelet, two toast meats, a piece of fish and vegetable with soup. Which the ways the maker dispose and decorate for their food to become far attractive charms you. Not only is it delicious but it also has good price. The prices only vary from 20.000VND to 100.000 VND. Another food I want to add is the food for vegetarians. There are a lot of foreign tourists keeping a vegetarian diet, so appearing a variety of restaurants serves for them.;
List of reccommended places for rice in Hanoi:
59 Tràng Thi, Hoan Kiem distric, Hanoi
47 Đào Duy Từ, Hoan Kiem distric, Hanoi
102K1, Giảng Võ, Ba Đinh distric, Hanoi.
+) Discription of Vietnamese breakfast:
There are many delicious dishes and good places for breakfast you can find when you wake up in unfamiliar country. It is more essential for foreign visitors to have a breakfast in Vietnam. Maybe because of being unfamiliar time zone or different flavors of food in Vietnam, some of them find difficulties in seeking good places for serving breakfast. They do be afraid of going out for taking, but order very hotel they stay. It is shame for you to miss a good chance to discover Vietnam food. Well, you know Vietnam is paradise for food with diversity traditional and modern dishes. Specially, there are a large number of delicious courses being suitable for breakfast such as pho, bun cha, banh mi,…It is essential that tourists should have a slight breakfast to be ready for a hard day to be able to explore Hanoi. This is some suggestions for you about several dishes and famous places for breakfast.