Cafe Sua Da Recipe – Vietnamese Iced Milk Coffee

Vietnamese coffee filter

This is an ironic situation. I am not a coffee drinker. I grew up drinking diluted coffee with sweet condensed milk and lots of water. My mom occasionally made this for me and my siblings for breakfast. I can safely call it condensed milk with coffee-flavored water. We dipped our baguette into the coffee drink and enjoyed the sweet flavor of milk and the bitter aroma of roasted French coffee. This was a treat.

As I grew up, I really never liked the bitter taste of coffee so I did not drink it. I do enjoy the aroma every time I pass a coffee shop. If I have to drink coffee to keep me awake, I would usually add lots of cream and sugar to mask the bitterness of coffee.

I learned that Vietnamese Iced Milk Coffee or also known as Café Sửa Đá has been gaining popularity in the US by leap and bound. So here I am, I thought it would be good that I do my research, make it, and put a recipe together from an unbiased coffee perspective. Plus, Café Sửa Đá has plenty of sweetness from the condensed milk for me to try.

As the owner of this website, I tracked down special deals for some products or services mentioned herein. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. When you use the link from this page to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, and you may receive a great bargain – Full Disclosure.

Vietnamese Coffee Filter – Phin

In order to make Vietnamese coffee, we will need a Vietnamese coffee filter or also known as Phin in Vietnamese. It’s a cute mechanism. I went out bought myself one from an Asian market. You can also make Vietnamese coffee with the French Press.

Vietnamese coffee filter

Originally, there are three different sizes: small, medium, and large.

The small is commonly seen in your average Vietnamese household which yields 6 oz of coffee. The medium size can be found at coffee shops that yield 8oz of coffee, and the large size is not as common which yields 11 oz of coffee the size of a coffee mug.

I just found on Amazon with a vendor that offers 5 different sizes: x-small (4 oz), Small (6 oz), Medium (8 oz), Large (11 oz), or X-Large (15 oz). CLICK Amazon Phin filter or the picture below to see MORE…

There are three components to a Phin:

  1. The coffee filter – This is where the coffee and hot water will be brewing and filtering through.
  2. the insert press – This is a screw-on press inserting on top of the coffee. Its job is to provide pressure, allow the hot water to bloom the coffee into the flavor, and slow down the drip of the coffee into the cup. The tighter the press than the slower the drip.
  3. the lid or cap – the lid traps the heat inside the filter chamber to help the coffee stay hot.

Coffee was introduced to Vietnam by the French so I assumed the Phin was also a French filter. I asked my French friend and he said that the Phin is a Vietnamese filter and not a French thing. Silly me. As I dug a little more, according to the Trung Nguyen coffee website, the Phin filter may originate from possibly Laos in the 1800s. It is not unique to only Vietnam. Other regions such as Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand also enjoy the simple stainless steel filter.


I found two popular brands of Vietnamese coffee here in the US. The most popular brand is called Cafe Du Monde. The second brand is called Trung Nguyen. The Phin filter requires a medium-coarse grind coffee and both brands provide the right grind. Also, dark French roasted coffee is often used by the Vietnamese.

You can find both brands at your local Vietnamese market or on

Did you know that Vietnam is the leading producer of coffee in Southeast Asia and the second-largest producer of coffee in the world next to Brazil? Because of the mountainous terrain, altitude, and climate, Vietnam offers half a dozen unique species and varieties of coffee. The terrain and climate of Vietnam are considered ideal for almost any species of coffee.


There are three main ingredients for Café Sửa Đá recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon medium-coarse ground coffee (French roasted, Cafe Du Monde, or Trung Nguyen)
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons condensed milk (depend on your sweetness of flavoring)
  • 1 tall glass of ice


Set your hot water for boiling. While the water is being heated, we can set up the coffee. Remove the coffee insert press from the Phin. Turn the insert counter-clockwise until the insert comes out freely. Depending on how strong you would like your coffee, add the ground coffee into the Phin. I would start with 1 tablespoon of coffee. If it is not strong enough, next time add a little bit more.

Make sure the remove insert presscoffee is spread out evenly inside the Phin. Place the insert back into Phin. This time tighten the insert clockwise with your hand until you can’t turn anymore. Then release the tightness of the insert with one counterclockwise. This process keeps the coffee in place to allow the coffee to drip into your cup at a slow pace.

Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of condensed milk to the glass or mug you will be using for the drip coffee. I usually add at least 2 tablespoons because I like it sweet. If you add 3 tablespoons, the coffee will taste more like caramel.

Once the water boils, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for 30 seconds to a minute or until the water temperature at 185 to 195 degrees. While waiting for the water cooling down to the right temperature, place the coffee filter on top of a mug or a glass. Pour about 2 tablespoons of hot water into the filter. This will help moisten and swell the coffee to bring out its flavor.

cafe sua daWait for 20 seconds then fill the filter with hot water. Place the lid on top and wait for 3 to 4 minutes. According to the Trung Nguyen coffee website, the dripping process should finish within 4 minutes to achieve the best flavor.

If the water drip through too slow, then you may have your insert in too tight or make the coffee grind coarser. Loosen the insert a little bit. The medium-coarse grind should do well. If the water drip through too fast, then the insert may not be tight enough. You can either tighten the insert, add more coffee, or make the coffee grind finer.

Once the coffee finishes dripping, remove the filter from your cup. Mix the coffee and condensed milk. Fill a tall glass with ice. Remember, the more ice you have the less strong the coffee will be. Pour the mixed coffee into the glass of the ice. You now have a glass of delicious Cà Phê Sữa Ðá. Enjoy!

Here’s a video with details on how to brew Vietnamese coffee:


I learned how to make Café Sửa Đá along with fun interesting facts about coffee. The flavor reminds me of the coffee energy drink. However, I think this coffee may be better for me than the energy drink. I think it could grow on me if allow it to. I know it can be addicting so I’ll have to drink it in moderation. Right now I am going to stick to my boba smoothies or tea.

If you stumble across questions or comments about coffee, I love to hear it. Please leave your comments below.


Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad Recipe – My Grandmother version of Gỏi Ðu Ðủ

papaya salad

There are many great recipes available on the internet and sometimes it is hard to choose one over the other until you try them yourself. My aunt shared a recipe she found on the internet that reminded her of my grandmother’s version of the Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad Recipe. I tried it and turned out pretty good so I thought I shared that recipe with a slight modification of my grandmother’s technique. The recipe came from

The recipe has two ways of making the papaya salad. The second recipe with shrimp and pork is a similar recipe to my grandmother. The Vietnamese name for the papaya salad is Gỏi Ðu Ðủ.

Green Papaya vs Orange Papaya

green papaya

ripe papaya

First of all, you may wonder if the green papaya is a different variation of papaya versus the orange papaya. Well, I did. My guess was correct. The green papaya is the same fruit. The only difference is that it is picked at a different stage of the fruit.

The green papaya is picked at an immature stage where the flesh and the seeds are white. The skin is dark green. There is very little flavor and it is still hard. Whereas the ripened papaya is soft, sweet, and juicy. The seeds turn black and the skin turns yellow-orange.

The papaya offers rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotene, vitamins C, and flavonoids. It contains an enzyme called papain that aids digestion. Along with high fiber and water content, papaya helps prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive tract.

As the owner of this website, I tracked down special deals for some products or services mentioned herein. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. When you use the link from this page to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, and you may receive a great bargain – Full Disclosure.

How to Prepare the Papaya for the Salad

  • 1 lb green papaya
  • 1 tsp salt

I found my green papaya at Fancy Fruit & Produce. You may also find green papayas at an Asian grocery store. Make sure the skin is dark green and the fruit is hard (not mushy to touch). You do not want a lot of yellow color on the skin because it may be too ripe. It is OK to use a slight ripen papaya as long as it is hard enough to shred without pulverizing it into pulp. When it is too ripe it will be sweet and too soft to shred into strands.

Peel the papaya using a vegetable peeler. Be sure to peel off the skin completely. Cut both ends of the papaya and then slice the papaya in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds using a spoon.

Shred the papaya into 2-3 inch strands using a shredding tool, mandoline, or food processor. Remove the core of the membrane in the center of the papaya. The membrane is bitter.

Immerse the papaya in a bowl of tap water and 1 tsp salt for 5 minutes. Adding salt is my grandmother’s technique. Adding salt removes the bitterness and enhance its own flavor. Then remove the papaya from the saltwater. Rinse 2 times in new water to remove the sticky residue which also causes the bitter taste. Drain and shake off the water.

Use a salad spinner to remove the remaining water. If you don’t have a salad spinner, place a small amount of the papaya in a clean kitchen towel. Roll up the towel and then twist the ends of the towel in opposite directions to wring the papaya dry.

Making the Sweet and Sour Fish Sauce

The sauce is the key to a delicious papaya salad. It is simple, light, and very easy to make.


  • 1 cupsweet and sour fish sauce water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (or soy sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 finely chopped red chilies (optional)


Add all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. The sauce can keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

From my grandmother’s experience if you would like to save it for a longer period, place all the ingredients except the garlic and the chopped chilies into a saucepan. Bring the sauce into the boiling point for several minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the pan. Add garlic and red chilies. Pour the sauce into a glass jar. This sauce can keep for months or even years.

Remember, you can substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce so vegetarians can also enjoy this flavorful salad.

Add Them All Together


  • Shredded papaya
  • 1 bunch Thai basil, washed, plucked, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb pork shoulder or country-style ribs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 lb shrimp size 31/40 peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup crushed peanuts

Bring a medium pot to a rapid boil. Add salt. Put the pork into boiling water. Simmer on low with the lid slightly open for 15 minutes. Pork is cooked when the internal temperature reads 160 degrees on a meat thermometer or when pricked with a knife the juices run clear. Remove pork from pot and allow cooling.

Drop shrimp into the hot broth and cook for just 1 minute or until the shrimp turns pink. Remove shrimp and allow cooling. Cut pork into 1/4-inch thick slices. Then cut into thin strips.

To serve, place a generous amount of the shredded papaya on a salad plate. Add basil, pork, and shrimp. Top with the crushed peanuts and serve with sweet and sour fish sauce. This recipe yields 4-6 servings.

green papaya salad

My Final Thoughts

The green papaya salad is possibly originated from Ethnic Lao people. It is very popular in Thai culture. It is originally served as spicy and savory. Many Asian countries adapted the papaya salad as their own and they modified it to their culture. The Vietnamese version is slightly sweet and sour with the optional of spicy peppers.

I am not a spicy eater so my version of the papaya salad has the chilies as optional. The salad is definitely light, fresh, and delicious with or without the chilies.

The most lengthy process of making the papaya salad is preparing the papaya and shredding it. Make sure to read through the whole process and check your ingredients. The recipe is pretty simple and straight forward.

Please leave me a note below if you have any questions or comments. Looking forward to hearing from you.


Welcome Back to School – Learn to Make Green Papaya Salad

back to school board

The summer of 2018 is quickly passing through already. Today is an exciting day for my kids. It’s their first day back to school. However, they are now teenagers, senior and sophomore in high school, and no longer toddlers learning how to read ABC or counting 1, 2, 3. How time flies so quickly. It is nice to look back and smile but now I am enjoying the present and moving forward.back to school board

Did you know that fat is an important nutrient that is necessary for your health? I am talking about good fat such as fat in fish, nuts, avocado, and many other nutritious foods. Some contain omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid, that may help lower cholesterol levels and support heart health.

One thing I notice about my Vietnamese diet is that I do not have enough fat in my food. There is definitely more carbohydrates with a low amount of fat. A low-fat diet has an impact on my skin. It is constantly dry. Drinking water and adding lotion help but only so much.


I decided to give avocado an experiment and add more fat to my diet. I was never a fan of avocado until recently. I have been introducing my body to an avocado smoothie once a day for the past eight months. I do notice a subtle difference over time. I do not have to apply as much lotion to my skin as I used to. My face is definitely less dry. Hopefully, it will reduce the number of wrinkles on my face and I will look much younger… Heeee Heee Heeee. I will look forward to that impact. I wonder if it would replenish more new black hair instead of grey.

I love to hear your thoughts about good fat and if you notice any good benefits to your body and overall health. Please leave your thoughts below.

Many new and exciting opportunities from the beginning of 2018. I am constantly looking for new ideas and new ways to prepare chicken. I found a nice chicken recipe that included avocado and I gave it a try. Here is my version.Cilantro-lime chicken with avocado salsa

The original recipe has the chicken grilled and served as one large piece. I cut mine up into bite-size chicken strips. Click here for the recipe –> Cilantro-Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa.

Are you ready to learn more? Join us for a fun-filled and hands-on demonstration of Vietnamese cooking this coming Sunday, August 19, 2018, from 3p to 4p at the Maitland Public Library. We will make another Vietnamese appetizer called Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad. It is a free event for library patrons. Please RSVP to 407-647-7700 to reserve your seat. Seats are limited.

papaya salad with shrimp

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See you at the demo!

Happy Eating Healthy!

Ph Queen
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