Living in Saigon long enough, you will understand that having coffee every morning is an indispensable habit of the people here. The idle leisurely sip a warm cup of coffee in the sidewalk cafés or in the alleys. The desk workers are loudly asking each other: “Hey! Want some coffee?” then go hanging out at the “neatest” café near their workplace to open up before “the deadline rush”. The conversations over a morning cup of coffee could be about work, family, life, anecdotes or some breaking news… According to the concept of Saigonese, a cup of coffee is like a panacea that helps them stay active and energized to start an effective working day.
Coffee has existed in Saigon for over 80 years, and probably, the most popular one is nothing but the well-known coffee with condensed milk that everyone loves to have. A cup of condensed milk coffee served hot or with ice cubes has a sweet taste, the newbies may find it bizarre but enjoy it long enough, the taste is getting irresistible and you will never forget it no matter where you go.
It can be affirmed that coffee is no stranger to Vietnamese people in general. From the North to the South, coffee always finds a place for itself among countless beverages. The distinction of Saigonese coffee lies in its brewing method.
The image of a cup of coffee with a filter on top has been closely tied to the culture of Saigonese coffee throughout the entire history. Moreover, coffee filter has held its name, a unique feature and identity of Saigon. But it is little known that, before the appearance of the aluminum filter, a racquet was often used to distill coffee. The tradition of making coffee with a racquet was very popular in Saigon in the old days. The racquet is cleaned with boiling water and then a certain amount of finely ground coffee is added into it. After dipping the racquet into the boiling kettle, the seller will use a spoon to stir the coffee several times before closing the lid, leave it for 5 to 10 minutes for the coffee to gradually absorb, and so the delicious coffee is ready to serve. Until now, nobody knows why there is such a bizarre way to make coffee with racquet. We can only tell that those coffee-stained racquets were once a cultural feature of the Saigonese.
Time flies together with the rapid development of the society. Today, you can easily come across coffee shops on every street of Saigon, from average to “luxurious”. The racquets or coffee filters have been gradually replaced by the coffee maker machines and a menu with trendy Cappuccino, Espresso or Latte. Nevertheless, many Saigoneses still prefer to have coffee in an old or familiar coffee shop, because sometimes people just crave for an open space or a place full of local coffee: condensed coffee milk, black ice coffee, white coffee… while quietly watching the traffic pass by over the pleasant smell of coffee before hustling for a new day.
Sipping a morning cup of coffee in Saigon, you will somehow understand where the dynamic energy of this city comes from. Hey you, have you had coffee this morning?
Delicious coffee for your “check-in”
1. Cheo Leo Coffee: 109/36 Nguyen Thien Thuat, Ward 2, District 3
2. Lane 330 Phu Nhuan Coffee: 330/2 Phan Dinh Phung, Ward 1, Phu Nhuan District.
3. Lane 313 Tan Phuoc Coffee: Lane 313 Tan Phuoc, Ward 6, District 11