Vietnamese coffee, you either love it or hate it, depending on if you think it's too strong. I had my first sip at age 8 and have never looked back. However, I don't need coffee to "survive" as I'm pretty much immune to caffeine at this point. Instead, I consider my morning cup, my mid-day coffee breaks, and after dinner lattes a way to relax and unwind. The smell of coffee just makes me happier, which is probably why my boyfriend always asks if I want coffee when I'm being a bitch (hah).
Coffee has a way of bringing people together and I can never say "no" to a coffee date with my friends. In fact, my best moments with people always involved a cup of coffee (in my hand). For example, one of my fondest memories of my grandmother includes a homemade cup of coffee served with a slice of Sara Lee's pound cake. It was her afternoon treat, which eventually became a ritual for the both of us whenever I was over. We would watch I Love Lucy on TV while we sipped our coffee and enjoyed the pound cake.
On my recent trip to Vietnam, I enlisted help from my friend, Viktor, who provided me a list of cafés to visit. After all, you can't go to Vietnam and not get Vietnamese coffee. Despite it being served literally every where, I was on the hunt to find the place that served the best cup.
4th floor, 14 Ton That Dam St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Hidden on the 4th floor of an old building is Mockingbird. Yes, the building is sketchy looking and the flight of stairs will tire you out, but it's worth it. We initially came to this building for the Banksy Studio located on the first floor, however it was closed and that was probably the best disappoint to happen to us, as we settled for Mockingbird after finding out.
This cozy café is a great quiet little hang out with just a few seating areas and a very tiny balcony. It's great for an intimate afternoon getaway, as there is free wifi, and the Vietnamese coffee here is the best of all the ones we tried during our trip. It was so good that both KSOLE and I ordered two each! Flavor was on point, ice ratio was great and sweetness level was just right.
I'm pretty sad we didn't get a chance to revisit before we left, but it's certainly a must when we return.
2. Ciao Cafe
74 - 76 Nguyễn Huệ, P. Bến Nghé, Quận 1, TP. HCM
On our very first night in Ho Chi Minh, we wandered around District 1 for a bite to eat and randomly walked into Ciao Cafe.
This cozy corner cafe is said to be a bit overpriced for many, but I didn't mind it as it was just a few bucks than normal. After flipping through their menu, Pau and I ordered the bún bò huế, in which I liked and would recommend. However, the star of the dinner was the much needed cup of coffee. They had a pretty wide selection of drinks but their coffee definitely hit the spot after a long 28 hour flight!
70 Le Loi or 151 Dong Khoi, Q1
What started as a pioneering project has become one of Vietnam's most-loved lifestyle brands, offering a diverse range of products and a space perfect for locals and travelers alike to work and chill.
We loved the hipster vibes of this space, of course the free Wifi (as with all coffee shops in Vietnam), and the fact that you can spend a few hours here, just enjoying the vibes. L'Uisine has three locations around Ho Chi Minh, but we decided to visit the Le Loi one by recommendation of our friend.
The coffee here is darker but still just as delicious. In addition, they also offer beer, wine & spirits which are accompanied with roasted peanuts. Overall, a great spot to catch up on work and with friends.
146 Vo Van Tan 1st Floor, Ward 6, District 3
As an added bonus, I'm mentioning Coeverything because of their aesthetics. This art bar and cafe is located in District 3 and has the perfect lighting for photos during the afternoon.
While the coffee is just OK (in my opinion), the place has some unique furnishings that I do love and the walls are filled with shelves of cute notebooks and planners (something I love to splurge on). I believe it's a new place so it wasn't crowded when we went, which was also a nice perk.
Note: entrance is through the alley way.
Photos by KSOLE
There are many coffee spots all over Ho Chi Minh and while these are my favorites, I highly suggest trying a new spot every day so you can find your own. Coffee in Vietnam is good at every spot so you really can't go wrong!