Hanoi, Saigon, Danang or anywhere else on this S shaped country do people can hardy live happily without coffee. Driking coffee has become an important part of one's daily life. Vietnamese cup of coffee, no matter where it is located, cities or countryside, always gives people the feeling of a slow and gentle life. To me, coffee is like ab anchor that keeps people from being dragged around in this hustle and bustle life.
Being the second largest coffee exporter in the world, Vietnam surely has a coffee culture where every coffee shop tells it stories. This article is going to cover just a small part of Vietnamese coffee culture: the famous café streets of Hanoi. Hanoians have their own styles and tastes and they often come to their favorite coffee shops, aggressively not a strange one! Here are a few streets of Hanoi that have earned coffee lovers hearts for their plenty amounts of nice cafes. The streets are highlighted in yellow.
1. Triệu Việt Vương ( Trieu Viet Vuong Street )
Triệu Việt Vương is the street for those who always treasure the old values. This long street is where the old Hanoi atmosphere and the new breath of life meet. There are trendy café with flashy decoration that sit together with old style decorated coffee places. Coffee lovers love Triệu Việt Vương Street for its many choices of café that nested under shadows of trees. The famous Thọ café and Thái café are located here too. This street is for those who want to look back into their soul and have conversation with the drops of coffee from the well-used Vietnamese filters.
2. Thái Phiên and Lê Đại Hành ( Thai Phien and Le Dai Hanh Street )
Differ from the laziness alike of cafes on Triêu Việt Vương Street, Lê Đại Hành Street is the busy nest for offices and organization buildings. Thus the cafes on this street mainly aim at those who work in the offices nearby. Frankly office people don’t have much time for coffee, maybe sometime early in the morning before the working day or during siesta after lunch. There are many choice of coffee shops here: from street side cafes to fancy flashy Starbucks café. Those who want to watch youngsters in their fashionable clothing normally gather at end of Thái Phiên Street looking to Vincom center. Those who want to watch busy life passing by while enjoying the cups should choose cafes in Lê Đại Hành Street. For the busy office people that’s enough energy for the whole long working day.
3. Nguyễn Hữu Huân ( Nguyen Huu Huan Street )
For the past 3-4 years, Nguyễn Hữu Huân Street is the new star on the block of famous café streets in Hanoi. From the beginning to the end of this short street you can easily find tremendous number of cafes of all sizes and styles, all look like “who cares about competition?” There are cafes for young people with modern style and trendy decoration like the Coffee Inn, Jamocha, the Nest… But if you want to embed into the old culture of Hanoi coffee then Lâm café, Giảng café or Hạnh café are the places for you. In these café you’ll feel like no matter how busy life in Hanoi can be, you will always find the quiet corner in the inner you. Never miss to try the renowned egg coffee (which I will be writing about in a soon coming article). Hanoi is changing furiously but its culture is always well kept in these little corners.
4. Lý Thường Kiệt ( Ly Thuong Kiet Street )
Not having a great number of cafes like the other 3 streets mentioned above, but Lý Thường Kiệt Street is still one of the popular destination for coffee lovers in Hanoi. Lý Thường Kiệt Street has its own advantage of being in the French Quarter with large walk way and boulevard of trees. This is a paradise for those who want to have ease of soul and peace of mind. Cộng café at the beginning of the street is famous for its being pretty and nostalgia. Tonkin café or Tuyết café in the middle of the street is where one can watch life passing by while slowing their breath with a hot brown Hanoi cup. All cafes here have the gift of a good view and spacious atmosphere, best for a leisure weekend with loved ones.
5. Hồ Đắc Di ( Ho Dac Di Street )
The most popular sport in Vietnam is football! No question that Hanoi people love to watch football that much! When football and coffee meet, we have the Ho Dac Di café street! In the day time when you’re passing this street you’ll see nothing too special but some nice café overlooking a well-kept lake. But in the evening when there are some football matches this street will turn into stadium with many football fans cheering loudly in front of large screen projectors in those café. Every single café here in this street knows how to attract their guest who are real football fans with exciting atmosphere, big screen and for sure coffee and beer! Ho Dac Di is not simply a street with many café but also the destination for brothers who are willing to burn for the love of sport!
Extra reading about Vietnamese coffee and cafe streets of Hanoi:
By Pham Tuyen