The Vietnamese have a love of coffee that is bordering on obsession – and for good reason. Preparation and delivery of the hallowed, roasted bean is unique and the taste is the best in the world (in our humble opinion, anyway). Whether you drink it over ice or steaming hot; sweet and milky or bitter and black, the many, many coffee shops dotted around Ho Chi Minh have got you covered. Of course, it’s not just the delicious coffee that makes Ho Chi Minh’s cafe scene so rich and vibrant. The following list contains coffee shops with amazing interior design, lounge worthy vibes, great views and all with free Wi-Fi.
1. Id Cafe – For Lounging
Id Cafe has an unassuming frontage, but once inside this two storey coffee shop the modern-retro theme is really funky. The 70s style armchairs are comfy as well as stylish and the decor of vinyl records and stencils lining the walls, and period radios and typewriters positioned here and there mean there’s always something to catch your eye. Located just one block north of Ben Thanh Market, Id Cafe offers shoppers the perfect respite from the frenzy of the market. The coffee here is great, but it’s also popular for a beer or glass of wine over a meal. The menu is a bit of a mix-and-match with Vietnamese and European fusion dishes; think baguettes, burgers and, obviously, noodle soups.
Location: 34D Thu Khoa Huan St, District 1
2. Hideaway Cafe – For Peace and Quiet
Housed in a canary yellow French villa, Hideaway Cafe is one of the most attractive coffee shops in Ho Chi Minh. It’s the kind of place you would never know was there if you didn’t look for it, even though it’s just one block from Turtle Lake roundabout in District 3. As the name suggests, Hideaway Cafe is located down a small alley. You enter through a gate and into a central courtyard. Either side there are period buildings with high ceilings and small opulent touches redolent of the French colonial period. We recommend tables in the house at the front (even though this is the restaurant section) as it is far more attractive inside, with art hanging on both floors and bare floorboards. If you don’t mind the heat, take a seat on the second floor balcony for a lovely tête-à-tête. In case you fancy a bite to eat, their breakfast menu is excellent and the seafood rocket pasta is an enjoyable lunchtime dish.
Location: 41/1 Pham Ngoc Thach, District 3
3. L’usine – For the Hipsters
L’usine is at the forefront of the part coffee shop, part fashion boutique establishments that are springing up all over the city. Downstairs there is a clothing store with both male and female fashion, and on the first floor there is a minimalist and extremely cool coffee shop. The whitewashed brick walls, brushed concrete and antique lighting create a bohemian vibe that suits the clientele of Ho Chi Minh’s scenesters. Alongside their excellent range Vietnamese style coffees, and European style cappuccinos and lattes, there is a cute little deli with croissants, quiches, cupcakes and macarons. There is also a large balcony for looking out onto Le Loi, one of the main thoroughfares of the city.
Location: 70B Le Loi St, (1st floor), Dist. 1
4. 42 Cafe – For the coffee lovers
One of several cafes located around Turtle Pond roundabout on the boarder of District 1 and 3. It won’t win any awards for its fairly nondescript furnishings, but for our money this is the best iced coffee in Saigon. Coffee is served in a traditional Vietnamese drip filter with a glass of fragrant green tea on the side. There is a small courtyard usually full of elder Vietnamese gentlemen, a downstairs area with air conditioning, and plenty more comfy armchairs upstairs, scattered behind large windows looking out at the centrepiece of Turtle Lake and the endless motorbikes zipping around the wide-arcing roundabout. The upstairs is a smoking room which might be off-putting for some; however, for the quality of their brew and the intriguing view, it’s worth a coffee…or two.
Location: (Turtle Pond) 4 Cong Trưong Quoc Te, District 3
5.MOF – For delicious Japanese cakes
MOF – or Ministry of Food, to give it its full name – is a Japanese sweets and coffee shop, meaning you can get a delicious afternoon snack to go with your coffee, or even a full meal as they have several savoury dishes on the menu as well. The theme at MOF is health conscious treats that spare the calories but not the taste. The menu of desserts, chocolates, smoothies, gelatos contain classic Japanese options such as mochi sprinkled with green tea powder as well as European staples like crème brulee. MOF have several branches spread throughout the city, but the one on Le Loi is our favourite. Look out for their excellent lunch sets, including bento boxes, curry and ramen. Location: 30 Le Loi, District 1