The southern city of Vietnam may very well be known for its colonial influences found particularly in its renowned architectural landmarks like the famous Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon. Yet, the locals have retained their distinct cultures and traditions in this cosmopolitan metropolis at every corner.
That said, the best of culture can be experienced with the palate - in Vietnam, nothing is more attractive than hot bowls of sizzling Pho and crunchy Banh Mi that makes for a wonderful Vietnamese treat. Let’s not forget Bun Cha and Mi Quang! Together with these local delights, Vietnamese coffee is also a must-have, an inviting perk-me-up when you are roaming around Ho Chi Minh City. The Vietnamese do their coffee really well, you will not want to miss this one.
If Ho Chi Minh City is your next destination for a vacation, check out the following cafés where you can have delicious local food and irresistible coffee! These will bring you through cute alleyways away from the hustle of the city where life in Ho Chi Minh City actually begins!
1. The Old Compass Café
Relish in local flavours with a cup of coffee in the day or a glass of wine at night at The Old Compass Café located at the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. For breakfast, dig into a classic Vietnamese Baguette or Banh Mi Op La and have a coconut drink to wrap up a hearty morning meal. For lunch and dinner, surprise yourself with their homemade set lunch which changes daily - you will have to check their in-store menu to know the meals of the day.
If bread is your love, a simple Banh Mi Viet Nam will be ideal. This sandwich is served with pressed meat, pate, pickled vegetables and other greens with a good hint of spice.
Caffeine-lovers should give the Vietnamese black and milk coffee a try, but if you prefer to have some wines, you can choose from their assorted collection from France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina.
2. Pho Minh Pasteur
Nestled in a colourful alley of Saigon’s downtown nearby Old Compass, Pho Minh Pasteur serves up one of Ho Chi Minh City’s best delicacies for more than 60 years and counting. This café of the past still retains its traditions and old-school vibes, married with a legacy of loyal customers during its popularity in the 1950s. Even politicians and prime artists in the South patronised this café back in the day - all for the love of food. You can enjoy Pho accompanied by your choice of meat in a simple broth made from ginger and grilled dry onions. This is simplicity at its best. Do drop by for breakfast as the store is known to open early and close once all the Pho runs out... in the morning.
3. Bun Cha
As its name suggests, Bun Cha offers diners one of the best authentic Vietnamese grilled pork and noodle in Ho Chi Minh City, which, according to the locals, originated from the capital city of Hanoi. We thought this café deserved a mention because of its quaint location and simple but delicious menu. Located in a backpackers area along Bui Vien Street, many tourists have fallen for the charm of this place, which can only seat about 20 people. For the locals, this flavourful dish that combines sweetness, saltiness and spice keeps them coming back for more. Just half an hour from central Ho Chi Minh City, this café offers a pleasant dinner experience amid an intimate setting.
4. Nguoi Sai Gon Café
The homely vibe of this café provides a much-needed respite from the rush of Ho Chi Minh City, and what better way to feel at ease with food that is made from the heart. Among the scrumptious options on the menu, be sure to give their Mi Quang a try. Packed with a mix of flavours and textures, this noodle soup is made from a range of staple Vietnamese ingredients, including rice cake and peanuts, as well as a serving of meat.
5. La Viet
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Also known locally and internationally as a Vietnamese coffee brand, the café specialises in all things coffee, with some light food to accompany the hot beverage. Using only fresh ingredients right from the farm and transforming them into a culinary masterpiece for the cup, this café pulls out all the stops to make the best handcrafted drip coffee. If a cold brew is what you prefer, you can check out their menu for a whole selection. Bring home La Viet’s coffee beans too so that you can grind your own coffee!
6. Goc Ha Noi Café
We end off the list with the cutest egg coffee shop in the whole of Ho Chi Minh City - Goc Ha Noi Café. Another charm on Bui Vien Street, the backpacker quarter of Saigon, this café is famously known for its egg coffee among its assortment of caffeine beverages. The coffee, well-loved by visitors to Vietnam, is made by blending egg whites and condensed milk together to create a frothy mixture which is then poured over a powerful shot of coffee. Be sure to stir the cup so the top layer mixes well with the coffee at the bottom. You can also purchase some sugar cookies to accompany your coffee experience! The café itself is also adorably homely - a good cuppa with your backpacking friends will be more than just memorable!
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The best of Ho Chi Minh City can only be explored with an adventure - set some time aside in your itinerary to find the best café for delicious local food or coffee!