Top Cafés in Vietnam
Being one of Vietnam’s main agricultural exports, coffee is a huge part of the Vietnamese people’s daily life. They drink it hot or iced, morning, noon and night. Come a step closer, and find out more about Vietnamese coffee.
The Art of Preparing Coffee
Traditionally, Vietnamese coffee is prepared in individual portions: coarsely ground beans are put into phin (small French drip filters), hot water is poured in, and the thin lid of the phin will cause the water to drip slowly down into a small cup beneath.
Watching the strong rich black coffee drip slowly down will force you to savor it slowly, in the classic way.
The Art of Drinking Coffee
If you want to drink coffee like a local, ask for double-thick, incredibly sweet condensed milk (ask our guide to help you to say it in Vietnamese)! This style is called cap he nau (brown coffee) in northern Vietnam, and cap he sua (milk coffee) in the south.
Condensed milk was first used due its availability and durability compared to fresh milk, but in the course of time, its use has become mandatory as part of the local culinary tradition.
It’s not always necessary, however, to use sweetened condensed milk. You can alternatively try sua chua cap he (yoghurt coffee). This might sound like an odd juxtaposition of words, but the taste may settle your doubting mind.
Or how does cap he trung – egg coffee – sound to you? A glass of whipped egg yolk laced with strong black coffee, and of course another helping of sweet condensed milk.
You can’t just forget smoothies. In Vietnam, coffee has found ways of partnering with fruit, combining caffeine and vitamins finely balanced, such as with sinh to cap he chuoi bo (coffee blended with banana and avocado) or sinh to cap he sapoche (coffee blended with sapodilla, a tropical fruit with a custard-like taste).
Another delicacy you shouldn’t miss is cap he chon (civet coffee). For this, coffee beans are carefully selected from beans that have been eaten and digested (only the outer part) by civets, weasel-like animals. The civets help distinguish the best beans, resulting in a rich, dark, low-acid – and very expensive – coffee.
Where Are the Best Cafés?
Cafés – whether outdoor or indoor, casual street-side style, with busy traffic for extra ambience, or calmer, quieter and more sophisticated style – are not hard to find in Vietnam.
Below are some cafés that are highly recommended, not only for their location, but also for their décor, ambience, and of course excellent coffee.
Ho Chi Minh
After a busy morning exploring the Mekong Delta, or when you have just arrived and can’t really wait for your motorbike city tour the next day with us, a cup or a glass of coffee after a short walk around your hotel won’t hurt.
While you’re still immersed in the hustle and bustle of the city, why not take a little walk and taste the coffee in the following cafés.
Vinyl on the wall is not the only striking feature of this place, about a block from Benh Thanh market. This retro-style but hip and modern café offers you the perfect place to sit, inside or out, sipping your coffee and watching the world go by.
34D Thu Khoa Huan Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Looking out on Le Loi from the balcony of L’Usine Café, with coffee and dessert, comprises a great afternoon treat.
The European-style interior design, and the wide range of choice of coffee (Vietnamese-style, cappuccino, or latté) and dessert (croissants, quinches, cupcakes or macaroons) have helped this café become one of the tourists’ favorites. You’ll find it on an alley among local designer shops and small boutiques.
70B Le Loi Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
What is the missing ingredient for completing a perfect afternoon or night in Hanoi, after finishing a city tour by strolling round the Old Quarter, taking a rest on a bench beside Hoan Kiem Lake, or capturing selfies between the boulevards? Yes, a good cup of Vietnamese coffee and a nice place to sit.
Find out what the famous egg coffee tastes like at its place of origin! Try it hot or cold depending on the weather; though both taste amazing.
Established in 1946, this café made its mark with its amazing egg coffee. It’s a great place for learning how to drink like a local with the locals.
2 Ba Trieu Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
A nice little coffee shop near the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake, where you can leave your impressions on a post-it note stuck on the wall, and if you wish, read the messages of others in turn.
Once you have tried the unique taste of coconut coffee, you will always find a reason for returning here.
64 Luong Van Can, Hanoi
As an old fort city, Hoi An has its own special charm. Explore the ancient town and listen to our guide’s story about how there was international trading here centuries ago.
After your tour, take a rest and enjoy the laid back, peaceful atmosphere by sitting outside the café to enjoy the weather; all the while trying not to forget the steps in how to make a lantern, that you just learned from the local workshop.
This is a classy little joint nestled among local tailors. It is highly recommended if you want to find a quiet place for a sip of local coffee, among mixed guests (locals, expats, and tourists).
Ice cube coffee is highly recommended on warm or hot days, as it’s made of frozen espresso cubes, served with hot milk to melt the cubes.
28/2 Tran Hung Dao, Hoi An
Take a little rest after your city tour and avoid the crowds in 11 Coffee. Enjoy the nice view of the river, and of the shops and workshop in front of the café painted all-yellow.
If you can’t get enough of the recommended classic, dripping Vietnamese coffee, you can buy ground coffee and filters here and prepare the coffee yourself at home. The pastries here are also a nice treat to have along with the coffee.
17 Nguyen Phuc Chu, Hoi An
Let us help you to find the best-tasting coffee during your stay in Vietnam, and to maximize your experience with the local cuisine. Don’t hesitate to contact us should you need any assistance.
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