The Best Ho Chi Minh City Coffee Shops
There’s coffee, and then there’s Vietnamese coffee. Any coffee-lover who travels to Vietnam is sure to fall in love with the country’s unique, heady version of the classic drink. A cup of Vietnamese coffee starts with locally-grown, darkly-roasted beans. The grounds are brewed in a French-style drip filter, which makes for an especially strong ‘cuppa joe’. Condensed milk is added for sweetness, and the lot can be poured into a glass of ice when you’re in the mood for refreshment. Here’s a guide to help you order the perfect cup:
Cà phê sữa đá – iced coffee with condensed milk
Cà phê sữa nóng – hot coffee with condensed milk
Cà phê đen đá – iced black coffee
Cà phê đen nóng – hot black coffee
Traditionally, Vietnamese coffee is always served with a side of iced, weak, unsweetened green tea called Trà Đá. Coffee was first introduced to Vietnam by the French in the late 19th century. It quickly became a national love affair. Today, Vietnam is the world’s second-largest coffee producer.
You’re never far from a caffeine fix in Ho Chi Minh City. You’ll find a makeshift cafe on every block, surrounded by the low plastic chairs that are such a classic sight in Vietnam.
On a hot and sweaty day exploring the city, though, sometimes it’s necessary to duck indoors for some AC. On days like this, Ho Chi Minh City has plenty of coffee shops for you to choose from. These trendy establishments serve espresso drinks like cappuccinos and lattes, as well as that classic Vietnamese iced coffee.
Here are our favourite Ho Chi Minh City coffee shops for 2017. Most are found in District 1. A lot of them have free wifi and make for a great place to post up for an afternoon watching the world go by or catching up on some work. Typical hours are 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, but this may vary.
Cafe La Tamia
38/05 Tran Khac Chan
Café La Tamia is a retro cafe that offers visitors a glimpse of old Saigon. The interior is complete with a vintage sofa, chairs, and a collection of antique TVs and gramophones. The cafe’s throwback setting is complimented by a nostalgic old-school soundtrack. You’ll feel transported back in time while you sip your iced coffee.
Café La Tamia is located down a little alley in District 1. Mr. Nghia Akai, the owner of the café, has has spent his life creating a special place for people who share his love of all things vintage. He wants to recreate his fond memories of the Saigon’s Golden Era. A visit to his cafe is a unique cultural experience as much as a coffee run.
Facebook page: Café La Tamia
Bâng Khuâng Café
9 Thái Văn Lung (2nd floor), Quận 1
Bâng Khuâng Café is a cozy little coffee shop that’s perfect for catching up with a friend or curling up with a book. It’s located on the second floor of an an old, French-style apartment. It’s just steps away from Ho Chi Minh City’s famous Opera House. The coffee and the food are both outstanding. The coffee beans are brought in directly from the highlands of Ban Me Thuot. The array of Vietnamese dishes are authentically home-cooked.
“Bâng khuâng” means “nostalgia.” That’s definitely the feeling this little home-away-from-home evokes. The mood is warm and pleasant. It’s a perfect place to take a rest day in the middle of a hectic backpacking trip, while still doing something uniquely Vietnamese.
Facebook page: Bang Khuang Café
158D Pasteur (1st floor), Quận 1
Tucked away in an alley, She Cafe, is a great hideaway in the middle of Ho Chi Minh City. It’s equally enjoyable whether you bring a friend or visit solo. The interior is all about comfy and cozy (just take a look at those chairs!). This hidden gem becomes a favourite for many travelers passing through Ho Chi Minh City.
The vibe of She Cafe is much more calm and relaxed than some of Ho Chi Minh City’s more hectic coffee shops. The decor is tasteful and muted. Portraits of famous women smile down at you from the walls. Both Vietnamese and Western-style coffee are available. Besides amazing coffee, the menu boasts refreshing smoothies and tasty desserts.
Facebook page: She Cafe
Chez Vous Coffee House
Phan Bội Châu (1st floor), Quận 1
Chez Vous Coffee House is everything you’re looking for in a cafe. The coffee is great, the ambiance is relaxed, and it’s centrally located. You’ll find it just across from Ben Thanh Market, and probably not far from your hostel (a lot of Ho Chi Minh City’s backpacker accommodations are found around here). It’s a great hideaway if you need a travel planning day.
It’s the little things that make Chez Vous such a lovely escape. The decor has a mix of French and Vietnamese influences. The shop sits up one floor from ground level, and a nice breeze usually floats through. The view of the market is great for idle people-watching. After sunset, the owner comes around with a lit candle for each table. A lot of people stumble upon this spot by accident after a long day at the market, but you can be in the know and beat the rush!
Facebook page: Chez Vous
The Morning Café
36 Lê Lợi (2nd floor), Quận 1
The Morning Cafe is a seriously quaint little shop. It’s located inside an old apartment building. It takes some looking to find, but it’s well worth it. The cozy space is decorated with vintage items like tape decks and framed photographs. The floor is tiled in a classic colonial style. Mellow tunes drifting out of the speakers round out the peaceful scene.
The cafe has a wonderful view of the busy Le Loi Street down below. You can watch the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City from a happily removed distance. At the same time, enjoy a handcrafted Vietnamese iced coffee. There’s also a great menu of typical Vietnamese breakfast and lunch dishes. There’s a nice selection of beers available too, so a lazy day can turn into a nice evening as well.
Facebook page: The Morning Cafe
34D Thủ Khoa Huân, Quận 1
The motto of i.d. café is “where the present resonates the past.” This two-storey coffee shop is designed in a modern-yet-retro style. You’ll be sipping your coffee (some of the best in the city) amidst 1970s armchairs, vinyl records, period radios, and typewriters. It’s a bit of a living museum.
The cafe is located less than 5 minutes north of Ben Thanh Market. This is a perfect respite after a day of shopping. There’s lots of comfortable seating. The servers are friendly and attentive. Aside from its great coffee, the shop also serves cocktails, beer, and wine. Try the mojito! If you’re hungry, there’s a full menu of Vietnamese and Western dishes.
Website: i.d café
44B Lý Tự Trọng, Quận 1
M2C stands for Modern Meet Culture. There are 4 M2C cafes spread across Ho Chi Minh City. These new cafes are modeled on the concept that even as Ho Chi Minh City grows and modernizes, coffee remains an indispensable element of the local culture. They’re meant to be spaces where people from all walks of life meet and interact. Each cafe is located in a vibrant part of the city.
The decor is eye-catching but the prices are budget-friendly. The coffee is proper Vietnamese coffee, and the food menu has been recently revamped. It’s a hip place to see and be seen, but it’s also a good spot to hideaway when you need a travel break. Wherever you are in Ho Chi Minh City, you probably aren’t far from one of the M2C branches.
Website: M2C Cafe
More info on where to find Vietnamese coffee in Ho Chi Minh City:
We only recommend writers and blogs that we read regularly and believe will deliver substantial value to our readers. The following are our top picks for articles about Ho Chi Minh City’s best cafes for Vietnamese coffee:
- The incredible cafe scene of Ho Chi Minh City by James Clark
- Summer’s diary: She Café by Tra My
- Saigon Cafes: She Cafe by Thuymi
- Bang Khuang Cafe, Saigon by Mark Bowyer
- Saigon Coffee Scene by Apple Lopez
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About the Author
Stephanie Mayo is from Manila, Philippines. When she isn’t writing awesome articles for Mad Monkey Hostels, she enjoys traveling, photography, and movies.