My Nguyen really took kopi gao to another level – the kopi gao gao level. If anyone’s reading this and can’t make out what this girl is talking about, kopi is what we call local coffee in Singapore and “gao” means thick. Essentially kopi gao is local espresso with a thick slob of condensed milk.
So like everything Nguyen, My Nguyen restaurant is a Vietnamese-Chinese restaurant in Garden Grove, CA. We didn’t plan on coming here. It was purely a I’m-hungry-oh-look-there’s-food kind of decision. The place looks really old school, with dragon-phoenix chopsticks so we figured there could be potential in this place. Not going to talk about the food coz my fascination here is really with the coffee.
I flipped to the beverage menu and these words were jumping at me “Coffee with condensed milk (iced)” Kopi Peng!!! It’s 7 in the evening, I was punished with a sleepless night later but for a taste of my coffee it was well worth it.
The waiter came back with my order shortly. I didn’t see a glass of iced coffee anywhere, only an empty glass with ice and a coffee cup with a metal dripper. Authentic Vietnamese drip coffee!! Bonus! I almost forgot about the drip coffee. I didn’t see my condensed milk anywhere but I figured I’ll just take it with sugar. I patiently waited for about another 5-10 minutes for the coffee to finish dripping and carefully removed the dripper.
When I finally dipped my spoon to stir the coffee, voila! My spoon hit the sludge of condensed milk that was hidden beneath the black coffee at the bottom of the cup. Pure happiness as I watch the coffee lighten into a familiar brown. Next step, hot coffee goes over the glass of ice. More stirring. Then a sip. Come to Mama, kopi gao~~ What followed was the same ahh~~ after the first sip from a freshly opened can of coke on a blistering hot day. My Nguyen my oh my. I’ll be back for my coffee.