I used to think it was unfair that I was born with a love for coffee but my body refused to receive caffeine. I always had to sneak the fragrant steam of coffee from my friends’ cup to satisfy my thirst for it. I inhaled a long breath to gather as much coffee aroma into my lung as possible. Sometimes I was brave enough to sip some black coffee or milk coffee but then I ended up having butterfly in my stomach and feeling nervous for the rest of the day.
However, I stopped complaining about it since the day I luckily discovered “bạc xỉu đá”. It’s a drink of milk, a little coffee and ice chips. You can find it in every coffee shops in Huế. It’s an ideal drink for a hot sunny day, or for someone who cannot drink strong coffee.
I didn’t know why it was called “bạc xỉu đá” and where it came from. While “đá” means “ice”,“bạc xỉu” or “bạc sỉu” doesn’t make any sense in Vietnamese. Besides, I always believed “bạc xỉu” was a weird name for a drink, and I even didn’t pronounce it properly when I started to order it for the first few times. Therefore, I decided to google “bạc xỉu” and found out its meaning from an online forum. A guy nicknamed Karma explains that “bạc xỉu” is a Guangdong dialect (“bạc” means “white”, “xỉu” means “little”), and it’s a kind of milk coffee with a lot of milk and a little coffee. Although I’m not sure if it’s true, this explanation sounds quite reasonable to me.
I do wonder how much “bạc xỉu đá” from Guangdong tastes different from the one from Huế, and I’m going to find it out. Until then, I’m happy with this blend of sweetness, bitterness, coffee aroma and icy taste although it makes me feel nervous or sleepless sometimes.