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Non-Vietnamese places with good Vietnamese Iced Coffee

vulber Dec 15, 2009 01:49 PM

I went to Coffee Bar today and while I liked it overall, I was a little disappointed in their Vietnamese Iced Coffee.

Was wondering if anyone knew of any non-Vietnamese restaurants/coffeeshops that do good Vietnamese Iced Coffee.

The little-known Oakside Cafe at Oak and Broderick does a pretty good one, but looking for others.

  1. v
    vulber Dec 16, 2009 09:52 PM

    the styrofoam cup theory is interesting.

    i also should mention that pho 84 in oakland french presses their vietnamese coffee - very cool.

    1. m
      maigre Dec 16, 2009 03:41 PM

      This is just a guess, but Cafe Epi at 405 University near Waverly in Palo Alto might be a candidate. It's a cafe/bakery with sandwiches owned by a Vietnamese family who have had good Vietnamese restaurants in the past and know the restaurant business and Vietnamese cooking well. I don't even know if they have Vietnamese Iced Coffee, but if they don't, you could ask for the owners and see if they'd make it for you.

      1. ssfire Dec 16, 2009 02:37 PM

        I have found that Vietnamese iced coffee at non-Vietnamese restaurants is usually a disaster. One example is Zao Noodle Bar in Palo Alto. They use their regular house coffee, and add sweetened condense milk. Scandalous.

        The best I've encountered so far is at Vung Tau II in Milpitas. They mix their own coffee blend, using Cafe Du Monde chicory coffee (the yellow can), and Gavina Espresso (the red/blue/white can). They also pre-brew a bunch of the coffees (using the top hats) beforehand, so that you don't have to wait for it to brew at your table.

        In general, the quality of Vietnamese iced coffee seems to be highest at the seedier establishments, so I'm not surprised that Sing Sing in the Tenderloin comes highly recommended. I'll have to try it out - during daylight hours.

        One other thing I've noticed: the colder the Vietnamese iced coffee, the better it tastes. Which is why I believe that Vietnamese iced coffee always tastes better when you drink it out of a styrofoam cup, independent of the amount of ice involved. Maybe the styrofoam also impedes the ice from melting and diluting the brew.

        Vung Tau II Restaurant
        1750 N Milpitas Blvd, Milpitas, CA 95035

        1. v
          vulber Dec 16, 2009 12:29 PM

          I guess I worded this poorly.

          Vietnamese iced coffee is one of my favorite beverages ever, and I'll assume that most Vietnamese places have it, but I'm not always near a Vietnamese place.

          Furthermore, I also like to have the option of eating non-Vietnamese food with my Vietnamese coffee sometimes.

          The best Vietnamese coffee around IMO is at Sing Sing in the Tenderloin, but I don't mind settling for decent VN iced coffee that might be closer to where I am.

          Conceptually, I don't think this question is different from asking "what's the best steak at a non-steakhouse restaurant", but I can see the confusion.

          1 Reply
          1. re: vulber
            westcoaststyle Dec 17, 2009 08:18 AM

            Ah, I understand now. Sorry for jumping on you like that.

            But a little trick I like to do is bring my beverage with me to wherever I'm eating even if it's a different restaurant. If they don't allow outside beverages, I'll simply order the food to go. Then i can have my drink and my food.

          2. w
            westcoaststyle Dec 16, 2009 10:28 AM

            I have to agree with Melanie on this one. That's like asking where to get the best lumpia from a non-Filipino restaurant. It doesn't make too much sense. Unless you have something against Vietnamese folks? :P

            1. n
              nerdigrrl Dec 16, 2009 08:06 AM

              I enjoy the iced coffee from The Beanery in Alameda's Marketplace. Strong, rich, and fast.

              1. Melanie Wong Dec 15, 2009 09:32 PM

                Curious question, you're not interested in the best Vietnamese coffee around regardless of the ethnicity of the owners?

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