Back in Saigon from Dalat, we’re hanging out at Highlands Coffee, a major coffee shop chain in Vietnam. I’m sitting in front of the large windows on the second floor overlooking the backpacker district at Pham Ngu Lao. We come here for a break from the crowds, wifi, and coffee, of course. Vietnamese coffee or Cà phê sữa đá, is so powerful, it could wake up the dead. I prefer to get it iced, but even the melted ice cubes do little to tone down its strength.
Still, I forget how strong Vietnamese style coffee is, until I take my first sip of the day. The mix of concentrated coffee and sweetened condensed milk hit me hard. Every time. One drop meets my tongue and my brain goes into system overload. Caffeine! Caffeine! Caffeine! Caffeine! my cells scream. Caffeine sprinting through the blood in my veins, causing my heart to race, my mind to see. Is this a flight or fight response? Should I be running away in fear? Am I falling in love?
Is this coffee or crack?
To think that coffee drinking starts early here and it lasts throughout the day. How do people do it? Do they sleep? Are they physically dependent so that it no longer has any effect? Vietnam is coffee obsessed, and Saigon is no exception.
I think I need to go and take a nap now.
For detailed instructions on how to make your own Cà phê sữa đá, link here: http://www.steamykitchen.com/492-vietnamese-iced-coffee.html