Address: 351/12A Le Van Sy, P13, Q3, Ho Chi Minh City
Parking: Limited Motorbike Parking, Free
Drinks: Coffee, yogurt, smoothies, juices
Food: Limited Fast Food
Price Range: 25k-83k
Order This: Da Chanh (iced lime juice) and fried rice with garlic and egg
Ambience: Very, Very Chill. Instrumental tracks all the way down. Asian classical music is pretty good…. huh.
Speak English: Not really (one son named Han does. We chatted about the new 3DS Majora’s Mask, so he’s cool in my book)
English Menu: Yes
Wifi Quality: Excellent
Plug Availability: Pretty Good, might need to bob and weave around a table or a couple chairs. (A longer charger cord’s probably a plus at any cafe, really.)
Air Conditioning: Yes, upstairs and downstairs.
Bathroom Quality: Very Clean, Second Floor (Through the back swing door on the left, and up the stairs)
Toilet Paper Available?: 50/50
Inside the front gate is a small, two-table courtyard garden, lush and rustic. Situated as it is on a alley, you don’t have to enter the main space to experience a quiet, calming setting for a conversation, a game of cards, or simply sitting and thinking.
PLUS… there’s a friendly cat that hangs around. Free petting! Not a lap cat, sadly, but she allows you to pick her up for a little bit at a time.
Walking into the main space you notice that it’s a warm, inviting room, and that whoever decorated this has a huge love-crush on the color brown.
In fact, once you start looking past the brown (it might take a bit… take your time), there are buddhas, faux treasure maps, and Egyptian hieroglyphics alongside rustic chairs (which lose their comfortable quotient somewhere around the 2-hour mark), classical guitars, and African masks. The place, thematically, is a mess, but… somehow, it totally works. I’m not gonna think about it too hard, because I just love how weird it all is, and what a smoothing atmosphere it creates.
I was not expecting… any of these decorations.
There are two upstairs rooms, but you have to go through the back door that looks like it enters the storage area, and the bathroom is back there as well. Clean and tidy, just like the rest of this charming little space. Both the upstairs rooms feature tables near the ground and squat pa
Food is limited, but good. The fried rice is very good and simple, and the woman who owns this place does an absolute bang-up job on it – it’s exactly how crispy it should be, and the portion is huge.
This is my current favorite cafe. It helps that there aren’t many people, the atmosphere is right for concentration, and the fruit juice is good (coffee is average, nothing special, but definitely drinkable).
Phu Nhuan district can be considered the ‘indie’ cafe scene of Ho Chi Minh City, and it’s places like this that give it such a distinctive, oddball character. No matter where you look, you’ll find mom-and-pop cafes that are unique, welcoming, and full of personality!
(On a side note, the wonderful Vietnam Coracle has beat me to the punch regarding Phu Nhuan’s cafe scene… I’d curse him if he wasn’t so darn good at it!! And, frankly, that’s not going to stop my ongoing investigation of the 30 best cafes in HCMC, or checking out the state of their bathrooms, because NOT going to cafes is the weird thing, here.)
Sample Musical Selection: