Saturday, April 3, 2010

Caffeine addict

Parking yourself streetside on a plastic stool or the urban equivalent of a deck chair and drinking Vietnamese coffee is one of the best daily pastimes in Vietnam. Every town and city in the country has street corners brimming with coffee shops and full of locals gossiping and winding down. My favourite caffeine concoction is cafe sua da — Vietnamese drip coffee plus condensed milk plus ice drunk from a straw in a tall glass mid to late afternoon. Inky black coffee drips through a metal filter cup onto a substantial layer of condensed milk. When it’s done, the coffee and milk are stirred with a tall spoon and then poured over the icy chunks for the most refreshing of drinks in the country.
Vietnam is the world’s second largest producer of coffee and the street corner coffee shop has mushroomed three-fold in the last three years. Half a million hectares of land is cultivated with the coffee tree producing more than 16 million bags of bean a year.

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