Coffee was brought to Vietnam by the French and gradually through time become a very popular beverage. As time goes by, Vietnam became the top coffee exporters in the world, and drinking coffee, this old pastime, becomes a lifestyle called the coffee culture. Today Vietnamese people have embraced this coffee culture and every morning during a hot sunny day or a cold winter day, you can see people sitting in a cafe drinking their coffee, reading or observing the stream of people passing, meeting an old friend, having gossip…. In fact, sitting on a small chair on the pavement with a glass of coffee become the famous image of Hanoian. In most of the cafes in Hà Nội, you will find two basic choices black coffee or milk coffee hot or with ice, but also the Hà Nội specialty: the Egg coffee which comes with their drip top. When visiting this bustling and antique city, you should check out the cafes instead of drinking the same old coffee at your hotel. Hà Nội is full of cafes, many are pretty much indistinguishable, but a lot of them offer something unique. Here we round up some of the capital’s best old cafes for those who want to experience something special.
Café Giảng – 39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Lý Thái Tổ, Hà Nội
Café Giảng is hidden on a small allee on Nguyen Huu Huan Street in the city’s old quarter. This tiny, Café Giang attracts the serious coffee lovers and is one of the most longstanding coffee trademarks in Hanoi. The owner called Mr. Nguyễn Giảng was at the time in 1946 the bartender of the legendary Metropole hotel. Its Egg coffee recipe is almost the same as in the old days, with the same ingredients: Vietnamese coffee powder, chicken egg yolk, sweetened condensed milk, butter, and cheese all served in a delicate china cup.
Nhan Café – 39D Ngo Hang Hanh Nha Tho Area, Hà Nội
One of the oldest, continually running cafes in Hanoi, Cafe Nhan was open by three soldiers in 1946. This café stuck with Hanoi since that time and became famous for his coffee brand.
Café Lâm – 60, 91 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hà Nội
Still today, the perfect refuge for artists, poets, and thespians to refresh their minds for creativeness, Café Lâm is one of Hanoi’s oldest cafes and is practically a historical monument.The rumor says that the Owner, Nguyễn Văn Lâm, is sitting today on an art collection worth a fortune. Indeed the cafe became a gathering place for students and artists in the 50s, and when his clients did not have money, they used to pay him in paintings instead of cash for time spent drinking coffee and talking. Many of great Vietnamese painter passed through there like Nguyen Sang, Nguyen Tu Nghiem, Van Cao and Bui Xuan Phai… The Coffee recipe is still the same than when Mr.Lam was there, a cup of coffee-flavored dark, slightly scorched.
Café Nhĩ – Số 2 Hàng Cá, Hà Nội
Café Nhĩ cafe lies quietly in Hang Ca Street, at the crossroad Hang Luoc – Hang Ca – Ngo Gach. This café used to be the King café of Hanoi in the old days and is still the same where nothing has changed. Coffee is served in a porcelain teapot. The bartender adds sugar or milk to coffee and stirs until the bubble come before the ice is added. The place is always overcrowded, and the number of visitors is always overloaded, sitting outside sidewalk.
Café Quynh – Bat Dan Hà Nội
Not so old than the other ones but with a particular atmosphere, down in a quiet side street, Quynh’s cafe entrance is marked by a simple red lantern and ornate ironwork doors. Inside North Vietnam minority adornments; wooden arrows and trumpets, farming implements and antique hunting pistols. The owner is also apparently a professional photographer and on the walls are his photographic studies. In the morning, directors, artists, poets, and writers are here sipping tiny cups of coffee.
Café Năng – 6 Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
Established in Hanoi for almost half a century, Café Năng is one of the oldest cafes in town. The owner: an old lady wakes up every day at 3 am to prepare one of the best coffee before walking around Hoan Kiem lake for exercise. Customers sit on low wooden chairs at small wooden tables, and when the place is overcrowded, people have to sit on the other side of the road. Probably the best place for people watching in Hanoi.
Đinh Café – 13 Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Hàng Bạc, Hà Nội
One of the most well-known address in Hanoi for coffee lovers. Located on the second floor with no signs or signboards, you have to go through a tiny alley with narrow wooden stairs to get to this small space, with black and white photo hung on the walls, giving to the place the feeling of the old and nostalgic time.
Café Duy Tri – 43A Yên Phụ, Hà Nội
Located near the West lake on 43 Yen Phu, sitting in an ordinary narrow building on the upstairs balcony over the street, this café has been standing at the same location for almost a century now. Famous for their specialty drink The frozen yogurt with coffee, the place with his winding wooden stairs plunge you directly in the old Hanoian city charm.
Pho Co Cafe – 11 Hang Gai (4th floor) | Access through a silk shop on street frontage, Hà Nội
Pho Co Cafe or the Ancient Town Cafe is well-known not only for his appealing taste of his egg coffee but also for the beauty of his feudalism architecture.Going along a small corridor of the ground floor, there is an outdoor courtyard with old bonsais and bronze statues, jade, incensory, ceramic vases. At Pho Co Cafe, the visitor can drink a delicious coffee while enjoying the beautiful panorama of Sword Lakes.