My first few days in Vietnam I noticed I was losing weight. I guess it’s easy to see why. A diet based around rice, rice, and more rice meant I ate less than normal and the food itself was less dense with calories.
So, instead of dissolving into nothingness due to this new diet, an opportunity presented itself..
I frequent coffee shops all the time. In some places, it’s my way to get wifi if where I’m staying doesn’t have it. In others, it’s a place to rest, check email, catch up, and get my work done.
In Latin America I always got black coffee, no sugar, no milk. But in Peru I discovered a beautiful fruit called lucuma. A lucuma + coffee milkshake was mind-blowing. Similarly, there is a syrup in Peru called algarrobina. I guess it comes from some special tree and is used to flavor things like cookies. But at Starbucks you can get an algarrobina-flavored frappuccino. It was also amazing.
So, Peru set me on a collision course with addiction…
In Vietnam, as I mentioned, they have amazing iced coffee as well as, in my opinion, the best cafe culture in the world. And the more I visited these cafes, the more magic I saw the coffee shop industry has developed in the form of blended coffee drinks. Wow!
I tried drinks blended with fruit, gelatin balls, herbs, durian, everything you can imagine. When possible, I asked them to make the drink without sugar. The problem was that they often contained pre-made syrups that already had sugar mixed in.
After Vietnam came Cambodia, then back to Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and The Philippines. The addiction grew and grew and I think when I got to Thailand the first time I realized I had a problem. But The Philippines offered no respite from these amazing drinks.
But after visiting Thailand the second time, I vowed to “quit” these blended coffee drinks. So far, after 48-hours in Nepal, I haven’t had any. They have drinks like mango lassi. Of course, I will try it at some point. But not right now.
Another thing is my lactose intolerance. Each time I got one of these blended coffee drinks, I had to take a lactose pill. I’m getting a bit low on pills and I realized how silly it was that I was popping pills unnecessarily to enjoy these milkshakes. Better to save the pills for food!
Below, a few pictures of these wonderful, tasty, heavenly drinks 🙂