Over the last couple of days I have begun to delve into Saigon’s bustling cafe scene. As I have mentioned before, Vietnam is the world’s second largest exporter of coffee. Not only do they export a lot of coffee, but they drink a whole lot of it too. Where does all this coffee drinking take place?
It might take place at one of the multitudes of outdoor cafes where the locals drive their motorbikes up to the sidewalk, take a seat under a covered awning, and are served a ca phe sua da (iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk) or a ca phe den da (iced black coffee). The “mom and pop shops” are all over the city and they are a great place to sit, relax, and watch the sea of motorbikes drift on by.
Saigon also has a burgeoning boutique, indie, artistic-whatever you want to call it cafe scene that must be talked about. These coffee cafes usually are tucked away in neighborhoods, not on the corners of large intersections. They often have a theme. Some of them are housed in old French-style buildings. Some are garden cafes where they attempt to meld a garden and a cafe together. Others are modern, while yet others might teach the customer a thing or two about history.
I am beginning to fall in love with these type of cafes. Saigon has a lot of them. I have a huge list of cafes I have yet to visit. However there are two I sought out in the last few days and I took a few pictures to show what they look like.
The Morning Cafe
Address: 36 Le Loi, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam
The Morning Cafe is tucked away in an old apartment building. You enter from behind the building up a staircase and you will find it on the second floor. It is small and cozy. The music is quiet and relaxed. It’s a great place to read a book, bring your laptop, or just relax for an entire afternoon.
The Unassuming Sign
A Lonely Hallway
The Morning Cafe
Address: 158 Pasteur, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam
She Cafe has a rear entrance as well and is also on the second floor. It is bigger than The Morning Cafe and it features a lot of chairs with huge, comfortable pillows. With a name like She Cafe you might guess, and guess correctly that it has a theme centered around women. All that really means is that it features numerous photos of women with an artistic flair. It’s a cool touch. It’s a different idea and not something I would have thought of for the theme of my coffee shop. This is another more laid-back place perfect for reading a book, staring off into space, or maybe even getting some work done.
A simple sign, the cafe is to the left.
One of the pictures on the wall, and the fluffy chairs.
The ropes on the ceiling are a nice touch.
A very creative balcony!
Two Cafes Down, a Hundred More to Go!
There are so many of these cafes hidden throughout the city. I am tempted to go and find a new one everyday. That being said, I really liked The Morning Cafe and She Cafe. I could hang out there and be content. I really enjoy how peaceful they are. These cafes are meant for lounging and taking your time. There is no hurry to rush customers out the door. It’s really great.
There’s an introduction. I can’t wait to find some more of these!
Who would of thought, a couple of months ago, I didn’t even drink coffee.
I guess Vietnam changes you.