Available in : Vietnamese
December 6, 2020
Coffee was brought to Vietnam by the French and over time gradually became an incredibly popular beverage across the country. As time has gone by, Vietnam earned as spot as one of the top coffee exporters in the world, and drinking coffee, this old pastime, took on a lifestyle all its own with unique coffee culture. Today, Vietnam has 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, or simply having a chat. Sitting on a low stool chair on the pavement with a cup of coffee became the famous iconic image of Hanoi. In most of the city cafes, you will find two basic choices: black coffee or milk coffee, hot or with ice, and one of their specialty: the Egg coffee. When visiting this bustling city, don’t forget to get out and discovers these old places instead of drinking the same old coffee at your hotel. Hà Nội is full of cafes sometimes indistinguishable offering something unique. Here we round up some of the capital’s best old cafes for those who want to experience something else.
Café Giảng – 39 Nguyễn Hữu Huân, Lý Thái Tổ, Hà Nội
Café Giảng is hidden within a small alley on Nguyen Huu Huan Street in the city’s old quarter. The tiny Café Giang attracts the serious coffee lovers and is one of the most longstanding coffee trademarks in Hanoi. The owner, Mr. Nguyễn Giảng, was the bartender of the legendary Metropole hotel in 1946. 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 cream all served in a delicate china cup. Stop in for a coffee and stay for the vintage decor of a cafe unchanged by the passage of time.
Nhan Café – 39D Ngo Hang Hanh Nha Tho Area, Hà Nội
One of the oldest, continually running cafes in Hanoi, opened by three soldiers in 1946. This café has stuck with Ha Noi since that time and became famous for its own coffee brand.
Café Lâm – 60, 91 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hà Nội
Remaining as the perfect refuge for artists, poets, and thespians Café Lâm is one of Hanoi’s oldest cafes and is practically a historical monument. Rumor says the owner, Nguyễn Văn Lâm, had an art collection worthen a fortune. Indeed, the café became a gathering place for students and artists in the 50’s, and when the clients didn’t have money, they used to pay him in paintings instead of cash for time spent drinking coffee and talking. Many great Vietnamese painters passed through the café, including Nguyen Sang, Nguyen Tu Nghiem, Van Cao and Bui Xuan Phai. The Coffee recipe is still the same today as when Mr.Lam was there, a cup of dark, slightly-scorched coffee strong enough to fuel a masterpiece.
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 Ha Noi in the old days and is still the same, a place where almost nothing has changed. Coffee is served in a porcelain teapot and the bartender adds sugar or milk to coffee and stirs until bubbles come. The place is always overcrowded, and the eager visitors are often overflowing onto the sidewalk outside.
Café Quynh – Bat Dan Hà Nội
Not quite as old as the others, but with a distinct atmosphere down in a quiet side street, Quynh’s cafe entrance is marked by a simple red lantern and ornate ironwork doors. Inside you’ll find adornments from North Vietnam’s ethnic minorities; 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 there sipping tiny cups of coffee.
Café Năng – 6 Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội
A mainstay in Hanoi for almost half a century, Café Năng is one of the oldest spots in town. The owner, an old lady, wakes up every day at 3 am to prepare one of the best coffees in the city before walking around Hoan Kiem lake for a bit of 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. This is probably the best place for people watching Hanoïen.
Đinh Café – 13 Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Hàng Bạc, Hà Nội
Đinh Café is of the most well-known addresses 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 photos hung on the walls, giving the place the an old-world feel packed with nostalgia.
Café Duy Tri – 43A Yên Phụ, Hà Nội
Located near 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 (cafe sữa chua), the place with its winding wooden stairs that 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 its delicious egg coffee but also for the beauty of its architecture. Going along a small corridor of the ground floor, you’ll find a courtyard with old bonsais and bronze statues, jade, incensory, and ceramic vases. At Pho Co Cafe, visitors can drink a strong and well-made coffee while enjoying the beautiful panorama of the Hoàn Kiếm Lake.
Available in : Vietnamese