Wandering the labyrinth of streets that makes up Hanoi’s Old Quarter district, by no other skill than dumb luck, I found myself on Hang Hanh Street, in other words, “Coffee Street.” I claim not to be a connoisseur in the way of the bean, but have always appreciated a quality cup of Joe, so the racks upon racks of coffee caught my eye.
I quickly accepted the shop keeper’s invitation to sample, what he called, “Weasel Coffee.” What met my lips was nearly heaven in coffee form; an effortless combination of richness and smooth flavor.
As if he made sure I had one drink under my belt, he placed a sheet of paper on the table explaining the coffee’s back story. As the name suggests, this coffee is eaten, and consequently regurgitated by rare Vietnamese weasels. According to a Vietnam travel guide, there is no explanation as to why the “evacuation” happens, but it is known the gastric process of the weasels alter the beans to provide a vastly unique and superior taste.
Thankfully, the process is now done through synthetic means, but the history of the cup is definitely worth noting. Perhaps with the newfound caffeine fix, you can try taking on the nearly ten million motorbikes on the roads of Vietnam. I decided not to, mainly because my backpack was exploding with newly purchased weasel coffee, and that would surely effect my mobility.
Jon lives in Butte, Montana, spending most of his time on skis or bikes; sometimes both. He began travel writing while teaching in Korea and is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Technical Communication at Montana Tech. Jon has begun writing his first book, The Story of Will, whose movie rights are still (very) available. Catch more of Jon at TheJonWickproject.wordpress.com. (@ExpedJon)
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