Going to a coffee shop is actually not my thing. Not because I don’t like coffee but more to the ability of my stomach to cope with coffee! Yup, I have a weak stomach… So then why did I go to this coffee shop?! It was actually a coincidence. I was looking for a place with traditional looking and some grit for a photoshoot. I’ve been in Saigon for 3 years but I rarely walking around the city. Now that I’m leaving Saigon soon, I feel like I need to know the city better. This is what they called to take it for granted. I’ve had all my time in this city but I always thought I could do it later (or more like procrastinating I guess?).
When I researched for something I could go on and on until it’s just too much, including this one. I found an article / blog about the unique coffee shop in Saigon. I noted down the places and decided to visit them. My plan was to invite my coffee drinker friends, but my impulsive side couldn’t wait any longer so I went to one of them by myself.
I checked the list and picked one nearest to my place, which is Cua Hang Cafe81 in District 1. It was around 13 minutes by car. I have their address but when I entered on google map, it didn’t show up the correct location. Hence we got lost until the end of the road. Apparently, it listed as 81cafe on google map, and it is very near from the intersection. At first, I just want to take photos from my car without hopping off, but when I arrived there I couldn’t hold the urge to enter the place!
They have a very classic, retro interior. I love it. Inside has 2 rooms filled with tables. The room where I sat was a bit dark, while the next room was brighter. The waiter can’t speak English but he was friendly. I looked at the menu and they are mostly Vietnamese drinks, from coffee, chanh muoi to beer. No snack or food available. No smoothies. Their price is still reasonable for a cafe. Coffee was 30k – 35k vnd. Chanh Muoi 40k vnd (this one is a bit expensive for chanh muoi but maybe they are good (?). I’ll try it next time.
I placed an order of ca phe sua da (Vietnamese Ice Coffee with Milk) and waited. The guy brought water to my table. Nice! A proper coffee shop. I took out my camera and started taking photos. Unfortunately, I don’t have a suitable lens for this. My shortest focal length is the 35mm prime lens, and it was too tight to take a photo there. I need a wide lens. In the end, I used my phone to take some photos. Good enough 😀
When the coffee came, I was hesitating to drink since I just recovered from upset stomach. I questioned myself whether this was a good idea or not… After contemplating for a while, I took a sip to try the coffee. It was delicious. Not too sweet. I took my time on drinking that coffee. One sip at a time while editing photos on my phone.
I showed the photos to my friends, in Indonesia and in Saigon (Japanese and European ladies). Funny though that they have different opinions. My Indonesia friends said something like “That looks scary”, “Looks like my grandma’s house”, “Wow, now I know my house can be a cafe as well if it gets a little messier”, “That looks like my old house”. While my friends in Saigon said “That is cute! Are you there now? Where is it?”, “That looks lovely! I want to go there too”, “Nice, retro looking cafe”.
For me, this cafe is cute and very classic. It is quiet enough (aside from some students who keep talking while doing their homework). I think next time I will go there if I want to work in different atmosphere.
What do you think? Would you go there as well after looking at the pictures? The place is good for an Instagram post. Let me know in the comment below.
PS : My stomach was okay after drinking the coffee, so I guess I can go back there! Yay.
Place : 81Cafe, 216 B Nguyen van Nguyen, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.