Top 5 cafes in Saigon
Cafe Culture in Vietnam
Coffee is part and parcel of life to all Vietnamese. Be it the commercialised coffee from Starbucks, the locally roasted Trung Nguyen, or even the road side cafe sua da (that is actually made up of more corn than coffee itself), Vietnamese simply cannot stop loving our coffee. While most tourist visiting Saigon would visit the branded cafes such as Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Starbucks or Luisine, there is actually a lot more unique cafes that are well hidden.
In this article, I shall share 5 cafes which I have grown to love in Saigon.
1. Cafe Mien Dong Thao
Cafe Mien Dong Thao sits right beside the railway track at 221 Nguyen Trong Tuyen, Phu Nhuan District. It is a 20 minutes drive away from the city center.
Upon reaching, you will have to walk on a narrow lane along the railway track before noticing its small wooden gate. Surrounding the area are old shophouses and roads that are way too small for any car to enter.
Once inside, you will be amazed! Stepping into Cafe Mien Dong Thao is just like stepping into the wardrobe in the world of Narnia - you are instantly teleported to a completely different world. This cafe sits in a huge garden environment, with beautiful shrubs and flowers lining along a tiny man-made stream. Instead of changing the environment to suit the cafe needs, it quietly embraces nature. Relaxing here, sipping my wonderfully brewed cup of cafe sua da (ice coffee with condensed milk) is my perfect way of spending the weekends.
2. Kokois Cafe
Ok, Kokois isn't exactly just a cafe. It's actually a cafe, bistro, lounge and shop all combined into one. Located at 24 Thao Dien, District 2, Kokois is built on a renovated warehouse.
Bare concrete flooring, black wire-meshed grills, Kokois interior design is nothing short of captivating. To give a better industrial feel, some of the tables are actually converted wooden spools! This cafe is perfect for the numerous expatriates living in the District 2 area.
3. Cafe A & B
When someone talks about having a coffee by the riverside, everyone will first think of the upmarket The Deck. But few people actually knew that there is a local tiny cafe nearby called Cafe A & B.
Cafe A & B is located at Hem So 20 (off Tran Nao Street) in District 2. Most taxi drivers will not know about this place and it is only accessible by motorbikes. This rustic hideout reminds me of my childhood days - growing up in a small village, and living life without worries. Cafe A & B serves the popular cafe sua da and a variety of fruit juices.
There is nothing more relaxing than coming here during sunset, sipping my ice cold coffee and watching the locals fish.
4. Banksy Cafe
Banksy Cafe is named after the famous British street artist. Located at 14 Ton That Dam Street, District 1, this cafe is hidden in an old apartment and you will almost never chance upon it unless you knew about it before.
The cafe is decorated with colourful word art and designs on its walls and furnitures, giving this place a psychedelic feel. If you enjoy graffiti and street art, this is the place you will love to visit in Saigon. There are also books, photographs and some canvases about Banksy to be found.
5. Loft Cafe
Loft Cafe is another one of those well hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Located at 26 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, you will arrived at an old looking art gallery. Follow the art gallery into the dark alley and walk up a flight of stairs to the 2nd floor is the cafe.
Once in the cafe, the first thing that catches your eye has got to be the iconic big glass clock. So there you go, one of the big mystery of Saigon - where is this clock located - SOLVED!
The food and drinks are decent but its quiet in the morning so it's a good place to go for an early weekend breakfast. For shisha lovers, there is a shisha joint right beside Loft Cafe.