peteg's blog - AYAD - HCMC

Trung Nguyên: 1 Nguyễn Thông, District 3.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

This "official" one is at the railway station. As the whole place is smoke-free, it is quite comfortable, albeit totally empty. I think the train users have other things on their minds than coffee. Perhaps it gets busy when the train comes in. The coffee is so-so.

Trung Nguyên: 26B-C Lê Lợi

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

A brand-new tiny "official" cafe in the heart of the tourist district. The coffee wasn't great, the prices are the same as elsewhere, and there is little to attact me to this place.

Trung Nguyên: Corner of Trương Dịnh and Lý Tự Trọng.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

This one is new since my last visit. It is an "official" one, quite similar to the others, with a non-smoking floor. Quite near the tourist areas. There is no point drinking anything but the coffee as everything is expensive. I got a card and now have a few other new ones to check out.

/AYAD/HCMC | Link
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I spent National Day with Loan in HCMC. The modern nation of Việt Nam is 35 years old now. We went to the zoo, to visit the elephants. Here I am feeding one of the old cows some sugar cane. I think she remembered me from two years ago.

Trung Nguyên: 218B Pasteur, District 3.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

It struck me that I never wrote up this pearl of a Trung Nguyên café, even though I've been going there for ages. Loan pointed it out to me a long time ago. Darren rated the phê dá "not bad", as I recall.

The main attraction of this place is that it has the pentafecta [*]: good coffee, food, electricity, wifi, and is not too smokey indoors. I have to say that I prefer the cà phê sữa đá number 5 they serve me at 603 or 346 Nguyễn Trãi. The food is quite OK and not too expensive, and the courtyard is pleasantly shady. The parking bloke seems to be in a perpetual good mood.

[*] penta- (5) plus perfecta, cf trifecta.

Nhà hàng Việt Chay Vĩnh Nghiêm

/AYAD/HCMC | Link

Last dinner in Hồ Chí Minh City with Loan, at least for a while. She suggested we go to the pagoda on Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa near Stinky, the canal at the top of District 1, and eat some vegetables. We ordered enough food for three people, and everything we managed to eat was excellent. The prices are reasonable but not cheap. I'd strongly recommend it to anyone interested in ăn chay (on ngày rằm or any other day).

Trung Nguyên: 301B An Dương Vương, District 5.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

Fellow-and-soon-to-be-ex-AYAD Yen steered me to this seedy old man's café quite near my usual and increasingly dear 603. While ancient, I wasn't calcified enough to last long at this place. They only serve the one type of Trung Nguyên coffee, which is a bit punk.

Café Du Miên, 48/9A Hồ Biểu Chánh, District Phú Nhuận.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

Chị Lan (my AYAD In-Country Manager) took us to this café on our first morning in Hồ Chí Minh City, way back in July 2007. It's a friend of Cà Phê Thềm Xưa. I went there today with Loan. We played a few games of Carcassonne (which I'd given her for her birthday) and chatted about xe ba bánh.

Vale, 1 Trần Hưng Đạo.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

Well, somewhere in Hồ Chí Minh City a contract quietly expired and the Trung Nguyên at 1 Trần Hưng Đạo in District 1 is no more. The love heart on the front door and Trung Nguyên paraphernalia have been removed.

I now reside at 603 Trần Hưng Đạo, on the edge of District 1. Unfortunately they don't do food.

Trung Nguyên: Corner of Hồng Bàng and Đồ Ngọc Thạnh, District 5.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

A small corner-café in the west of District 5 (aka Chợ Lớn and Chinatown). Nothing especially remarkable, except for being on a big fat noisy road.

Trung Nguyên: 136 Lý Chính Thắng, District 3.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

Yet another franchise café on the backroad to the top end of Hai Bà Trưng. Quite comfortable, but small and not especially anything. It has a friend, presumably run by the same people, at 112 Trần Quốc Thảo, also in District 3.

Trung Nguyên: 349-351 Hai Bà Trưng, District 3.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

An "official" one, right opposite the markets, near the church, on the corner of Trần Quốc Toản. I tried coming here before but it was closed for renovations. Quite a pleasant space, somewhat like the downtown one on Hồ Tùng Mậu.

Trung Nguyên: 10SC 3 Tháng 2, District 10.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

I'd been meaning to go here for ages, and had my chance to have a lazy early-Saturday afternoon visit with Tigôn. This one's a bit weird, a small open garden courtyard-café completely ringed by a building. It's quite pleasant.

There's another one down the road, out the front of a hotel, that apparently I haven't written up...

By the way, make sure to go to number 10, southwest of Cao Thắng. This number 10 is a mechanic.

Trung Nguyên: 2-4 Cửu Long, District Tân Bình.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

Had a brief stop at this sort-of garden café on the way to dropping Loan off at the (old, now domestic-only) airport. It's on a side-street off the main drag going to the airport, and hence is quite pleasant.

Trung Nguyên: 50 Hồ Tùng Mậu, District 1.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

Another "official" Trung Nguyên café. Very comfortable, very down-town inner city. Custom-made for the shoppers on the nearby Nguyễn Huệ and Đồng Khởi streets.

Trung Nguyên: 603 Trần Hưng Đạo, District 1.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

A fairly pleasant vertical place on the corner of Trần Hưng Đạo and Nguyễn Văn Cừ on the border of Districts 1 and 5. It feels a bit unfinished; the indoor water feature needs to be repaired. There's no food but you can buy some of the Trung Nguyên trinkets, this being another of the "official" ones.

Trung Nguyên: 7 Nguyễn Văn Chiêm, District 1.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

My first visit to the feted "garden café" with Tigôn. It's expensive (the whole area is expensive, being next to the Diamond Department Store and all), but quite pleasant. Motorbike parking is a bit limited. This one is a bit "official", but I'm not really sure what that means; I thought Trung Nguyên was a franchise.

Trung Nguyên, 42-44 C10 Nhiêu Lộc 2, District Phú Nhuận.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

A fancy place just near Mike's apartment building, which is clearly marked on this map (the orange-red thing on the far right). Very comfortable and not too smokey for an indoors joint.

Trung Nguyên, 272B Xô Viết Nghệ Tĩnh, District Bình Thạnh.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

On the north-western corner of the monster roundabout at the intersection of Điện Biên Phủ and Xô Viết Nghệ Tĩnh (the big fat highway heading north of Hồ Chí Minh City). There's a massive Trung Nguyên sign out the front, but it's otherwise unimpressive.

Trung Nguyên, 1A Phạm Văn Hai, District Tân Bình.

/AYAD/HCMC/Cafes | Link

A large night-clubby kind of place, with big comfy couches and that special kind of dinginess, quite close to the airport. I went there with Loan after visiting the v-heart project.