Iced coffee a must at Little Vietnam Restaurant

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There are all kinds of iced coffees in Chicago, but there is nothing quite like a "cafe sue da," or Vietnamese iced coffee. (WLS)

You can bet that in the summertime, nearly every table at the new Little Vietnam Restaurant in Edgewater has an iced coffee on it. It's practically a requirement.

"In Vietnam we have two types. The black coffee and the one with condensed milk - Caf Sua Da is the one with condensed milk, that's the popular one," said Little Vietnam's owner, Ricky Dinh.

Popular probably because it's the perfect harmony of sweet and strong. Dinh combines equal parts strong French grounds from Caf Du Monde in New Orleans, with the gentler version from Vietnam.

"Because one is flavor and one is the coffee taste, the rich coffee taste the French coffee, really strong," said Dinh.

He adds a few tablespoons to a silver filter you can find at any Asian grocery store, set above a glass. Hot water is poured over the grounds, and then you wait a minute or two for the coffee to drip. A big spoonful of sweetened, condensed milk is added and stirred up to balance that bitterness. The coffee is poured over ice, then vigorously stirred and combined with a tall spoon, in order to lightly froth the coffee, giving it the perfect consistency: not too sweet, not too thick and not too strong.

"When you put the ice in - the spoon - you gotta stir it really, really well, to see that bubble on the glass, that's when you're doing it right," he said.

So if you want to impress your friends, just ask for a Caf Sua Da - that's a Vietnamese iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk - and make sure you mix it thoroughly with the spoon, so you get a coffee that is both sweet and strong.

You can also make the coffee at home because you can easily find the equipment and coffee at Asian grocery stores.

Little Vietnam
1132 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
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