Sunday, August 31, 2008


I love coffee.

A lot.

Iced coffee is something I came to much later in life. In Vietnam, you need it to get through the day. The heat saps the energy right out of you. The only way to deal with it is with long naps and the rocket fuel locals call coffee.

Vietnamese coffee tastes as if the dark layer of an Oreo cookie has been ground up and turned into a drink. Served straight or with heavy lashings of condensed milk, it's the perfect way to get an energy boost when it's 38 degrees plus, and the sun is beating down. Traditionally roasted with butter and cocoa powder, when brewed with a small amount of water it turns into black gold.

Want to try some? Your local Asian grocery may stock Trung Nguyen brand coffee - if they do, pick up a can. If not, find a dark roast coffee like an espresso or French roast. Brew the coffee double strength, so when you add ice, it doesn't get too diluted. I keep some cold in the fridge in a plastic bottle for morning pick-me-ups. Pour the chilled coffee over ice and add a tablespoon or two of condensed milk, if you like.

Toss it back in a few gulps, and be prepared to knock several items off your to-do list.

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