This hole in the wall coffee joint is olden day Hanoi. It's dingy, the walls are coated with decades of nicotine and coffee residue, the fittings with a centimetre of ancient dust. Single cigarettes are delivered in dented tobacco tins on little wooden stands, hot coffees are served in tiny shot cups standing in Bat Trang blue bowls of hot water. Cafe Giang is my kind of environment.
Despite the title of this post, there's no food to be had here. We are a million miles away from a cooked English breakfast - not a big white plate nor sprig of parsley in sight! Rustic allure and good caffeine injections are on the menu. A few varieties of tea, some salty and sweet lemon numbers, cocoa and coffee all ways Vietnamese are flung at patrons in this old quarter institution.
My daily go-through-the-motions coffee experience is to plonk on plastic, order the den da (iced black coffee), and sit and think for a bit. Today the menu speaks at me, "Cafe trung da. Cafe trung da. Cafe trung daaaaaaaa!" Ok, cafe is coffee, trung is egg and da is ice. Coffee egg ice. What the bloody hell, get me one of those. Just hope the egg ain't fried.
Cafe Giang has entertained me before but I'm no regular so I'm a bit shy about getting behind the counter to check on the preparation of this bumnut and coffee equation. For now, it's secret barista's business. For the future, as Siegfried in Get Smart said, "We have ways and means of making people talk."
The glass de resistance arrives masquerading as a good old coke spider, an ooze of creamy icy silk, threatening to overflow, atop an inch of strong black coffee. Any link to the arse end of a chicken is not in evidence. When mixed, it resembles a cafe nau da (iced coffee with condensed milk) but is not as sweet and is similar in texture to a good cafe latte. I'm won over.
Before departing, a further scan of the menu reveals another item, bia trung. Mmmmm...intriguing!
One egg in my coffee - 5000VND (USD31c, AUD42c)
cnr. Hang Gai and Hang Dao,