Monday, April 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Drink: Saigon Flip

The Saigon Flip at Hop Sing Laundromat, before the club soda is added.
The Saigon Flip at Hop Sing Laundromat, before the club soda is added. MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Staff Photographer

'There's no such thing as 100 percent safe raw egg yolk - unless you are Sylvester Stallone," says Lê, the enigmatic Chinatown drink wizard who paces, shaker rocking slo-mo in hand, behind the coin-studded bar of his Hop Sing Laundromat.

When he pops the lid and pours, his Saigon Flip froths out in a creamy flow, rising halfway up the tumbler's sphere-shaped ice cube like the world's most exotic eggnog, scattered with berries. It's fueled by good rum (plus a vanilla boost of Licor43.) Lime juice and orange zest lend perk. But the real secret is the syrupy sweet "Longevity" brand condensed milk, an homage to Lê's native Vietnam that transforms, with that booze and yolk, into sublime cocktail custard. Then comes the surprise second act: a splash of soda that lifts it all like a creamy fizz, practically rising to my lips like an egg cream extraordinaire. Rocky - maybe even Rambo - would smile.

- Craig LaBan
Saigon Flip, $10 with this article cut from the printed Inquirer ("no Internet reprints please," says Lê; otherwise $14), Hop Sing Laundromat, 1029 Race St.

Craig LaBan Inquirer Restaurant Critic
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