Vietnam has become infamous for its coffee culture. Go down any street in Ho Chi Minh city and you won’t have to walk far to get a Cà Phê Đá (Black Coffee). The difference is, is where you want to sit and enjoy the world going by. Because of the numerous coffee shops, competition is at an all time high to attract your attention and your custom.
So, if you are looking for the best local haunts in Saigon, this is your one-stop shop for all things coffee (and tea! If that’s your thing). Now, before we start, the shortlist below are favourites of mine I have been to that I feel give an experience which is unique and worth visiting. Some are famous in the city and some are unknown.
Oromia Coffee and Lounge
This coffeeshop has become an Instagram favourite with the locals and tourists alike. Brandishing a cosy and fresh interior. Service is wonderful and the menu is extensive, catering for small bites as well as something more filling. Open all day and late into the night, you can pick your time to go. My tip would be to go at night, as the upstairs and downstairs take on a different vibe with the quaint and pleasing lighting. There’s even a balcony terrace looking over the koi pond, which by the way you walk over stepping stones to enter the coffee shop.
The Vintage Emporium (District 2)
What can you say about The Vintage Emporium? Elegance, classic décor and delicious cuisine in an opulent setting. There are two branches of The Vintage Emporium, with the other in District 1, which is smaller, so if you are spoilt for choice and nearby to the one in District 2 make sure you head there, as they have a more spacious interior and even a poolside dining area out the back. Nestled in a small street, as the name suggests you enter into a sleek and retro styled building, which itself is beautiful. I suggest the ‘Hearty Breakfast’ if you are going in the morning and have had one too many gins the night before.
Miyama – Modern Toyko Restaurant and Café
Japanese culture has entwined itself in Vietnam, so there’s always a range of Japanese places to hit up when in Saigon, Miyama is a modern and luscious café to wind away the hours. They have a few branches throughout the city, so whichever you go to you will get the same delectable desserts and well groomed drinks to choose from. They also have a good wine selection if coffee is not quite strong enough for you. Make sure you try the Madeleine mini cakes, slightly toasted so they are crispy they make for a nice side to your sweet drink.
Fly Idea Café
Tucked away on a quiet street in the more local District 10, if being away from the hustle and bustle of city life is your thing then pay a visit to this chilled café. They also serve food, so if you’re feeling peckish after your coffee then you can get your fill here. With an open space main room at the back, you can also sit amongst the greenery in the front garden area. Also, look out for the cute pug roaming or sleeping around the tables, go give him a cuddle to make your day that little bit brighter.
Sapori D’Italia Gelato and Coffee
This newly opened coffee shop in Binh Thanh is a little gem. If you are craving gelato then look no further. Carefully crafted handmade gelato is available here in a variety of flavours. My favourite is the salted caramel, which is just so delicious it’s hard not have another scoop. The décor and space itself is stylish and has a nice open, airy feel to it. It’s a great place to chill from the Saigon heat or to get some work done in peace, as there is an upstairs as well, with a terrace area looking over the street.
Maison Marou Saigon
Last on the list is Maison Marou; a unique coffee shop in that Maison Marou is a chocolatier by heart. When you enter the coffee shop you are greeted by aromas of coffee and handcrafted chocolate. The drinks menu is not extensive, but the desserts are quite decadent to say the least. This coffee shop works as a great place to get your sweet filling or if you want to get some work done while watching the staff make the next set of desserts for customers. On your way out you can peruse the many types of carefully crafted chocolates that they have for sale. If you can tear yourself away from there without buying something you’ve done well.
Like I said at the start, there are so many coffee shops and cafés in Saigon it’s hard to choose. There are always new hidden gems waiting to be discovered, so in the future there will be a Part 2 to this list. Saigon is big and so is my appetite for great places to hangout and drink good coffee, read a book or get some work done. I’m always looking for the next place to make me smile, so watch this space for more of the best coffee shops and cafés in the future.