Sweet, caramelly Vietnamese coffee is popular all over Vietnam.
Most people associate Asian restaurants with pots of green tea, but Vietnam is now the world’s second-largest exporter of coffee, after Brazil. The French introduced coffee to Vietnam’s central highlands during colonial times in the late 1800s. The coffee grows in the mountains of Vietnam, Cambodia and southern Laos. Mostly the beans are robusta, the cheaper variety. It’s no wonder, then, that the Vietnamese make it with a thick layer of sweetened condensed milk at the bottom.
The necessary equipment for Vietnamese coffee is this: A small stainless steel filter is stacked atop an eight-ounce cup. Boiling water drips through very, very slowly, seeping through the grounds and into your cup. When the dripping stops, the filter is removed and the coffee and milk are stirred and served hot or poured into a tall glass filled with ice.
It can take up to 10 minutes for the hot water to drip through the filter, but the result is well worth the wait. Sweet and thick with a rich finish, Vietnamese coffee is like dessert in a cup.