Postcard from Hanoi: An egg-cellent choice to worm myself into foreign dishes

Egg and coffee. Two things I don’t care for and never thought I would choose to eat, much less in the same dish.

But I am in Hanoi and egg coffee is a well-known drink and so I thought, why not, and ordered a hot version of it at Cafe Giang in the Old Quarter.

First, a chicken egg yolk is beaten well with condensed milk till an airy froth is created. Then, the froth is layered on top of hot or iced coffee.

To be honest, the drink was not to my liking, partially because I didn’t mix it well enough. There was too much froth when I started drinking it and too much coffee at the end.

But in the spirit of trying new things, I returned another day and ordered egg beer – Hanoi beer poured into the same froth. And it was tasty. The light, almost refreshing beer meshes well with the creamy and slightly sweet egg mixture.

I don’t know what it is about being in a foreign land that makes me feel more daring – whether it’s with my food choices or that I’m brave enough to walk around holding a camera and talking to myself.

Maybe it’s the fact that no one here knows me and what happens in Vegas – or Hanoi – stays in Vegas, right?

To take it one step further, I decided to try something even more bizarre – silkworms and ragworm patties.

Like the egg coffee and egg beer, I enjoyed one but not so much the other.

I gagged while eating a fried silkworm because the texture caught me by surprise. It was mushier than expected and not in a satisfying way but I could taste the garlic and seasoning – it reminded me of stir-fried vegetables.

Even the old lady I bought it from and the next-door shopkeeper looked at me in alarm when I indicated I wanted the silkworms – which are apparently rich in protein and nutrition.

One of our drivers was taken aback when I told her I was looking for silkworms, which are usually eaten with rice.

She later laughed at me while I filmed myself eating them in the car and said she has never tried them and does not want to.

Like me, she is not that adventurous at home.


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