Francis Lam, a frequent contributor to the sorely missed Gourmet magazine, has taken on a new post as editor of Salon.com's "Food Section." I've enjoyed his work for years and was delighted to know that his smart writing is being supported elsewhere. He contacted me a couple weeks ago about an article he was researching on Vietnamese coffee, it's colonial history in Vietnam and evolution in the United States. In particular, Francis (who's not Vietnamese, but Chinese) has these burning questions:
- How did sweetened condensed milk get to Vietnam?
- How did the Vietnamese coffee press (phin) come about?
- Why is Cafe Du Monde coffee from New Orleans so popular?
To get the answers, read the Salon.com piece, "Where the Bitter Turns Sweet: The Story of Vietnamese History. If you have additional insights, do share them here with the rest of us!Indulge your inner coffee geek (or maybe you've had too much today) with these links:
- High-tech Vietnamese Coffee (what I make my morning cup with)
- Vietnam Studies discussion of the Vietnamese coffee filter design (thanks Dr. Erica Peters of Culinary Historians of Northern California)
- Flickr photos of antique coffee makers that kinda resemble the Vietnamese filter; just remove the bottom and replace it with a cup!
- Antique coffee maker from India
- Viet coffee history on the Trung Nguyen coffee site (they're like the Starbucks of Vietnam) that date the first coffee plantings in Vietnam to the 1700s; other sources say the mid-1850