01 2014 Dec

Passing Time with Cafe Sua Da

Hanoi, VietnamTagged cafe giang, coffee, cong caphe, egg coffee, thuy ta cafe, wifi, yogurt coffee

Vietnam is one of the world’s top producer of coffee and you can see it in the culture. There’s basically a coffee shop on every corner. You thought it was bad seeing two coffee shops at a corner, albeit the same chain, but here in Hanoi, expect up to all four being a coffee shop. And the majority of these aren’t the kind where people sit inside, snuggle up to the comforts of home, and read. No, they’re the kind that opens up to the street. Patrons sit facing outward, spend hours on hours of people watching, and sipping on a seemingly endless amount of cafe sua da, a chilled drink sweetened with condensed milk. And unlike the variety found in the U.S., the coffee here doesn’t have that super dark super caffeinated roast that keeps you up for hours on end. Here, it’s pleasantly smoother.

There are some coffee shops that stand out and here’s a list of the ones I tried.

Cong Caphe
Hang Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem
Hanoi, Vietnam

Verdict: Check at least one of them out. There are several around town. Interesting interior, free wifi, and good coffee.

Cafe Giang
39 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem
Hanoi, Vietnam

Verdict: Try it! Even though it’s not for me, you need to give the egg coffee a taste.

Thuy Ta Cafe
1 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem
Hanoi, Vietnam

Verdict: Pass. It’s right next to the lake, but the coffee wasn’t anything to come back for.

Cafe Pho Co
11 Hang Hai, Hoan Kiem
Hanoi, Vietnam

Verdict: Pass. Interesting venue, but the yogurt coffee wasn’t memorable. Yeah, it’s got good reviews, but mainly from foreigners.

The Hilltop Station
7 Muong Hoa
Sapa, Vietnam

Verdict: Solid cup of coffee. And yeah, this was up in Sapa, but I wanted to include it here.

Obviously I didn’t visit these shops in one day or else my writing would make even less sense. This all started as I looked for ways to kill time, a way to chill as I waited for my friends. Of course, it was to a coffee shop. After one amazing cup of coffee, I decided to write about it. Hopefully this was informative.

Interior @Cong Caphe

Very war time themed furnishings. You'll see the propaganda surroundings mixed with the rustic setting. I do want to focus on that part of it, the unique way you can sit around and have your coffee. Very different from the other coffee shops along the street.

Coffee @Cong Caphe

My cup of of cafe sua da as I overlook the busy streets below. Three stories keeps you well away from the scooter and pedestrian traffic. Also a great vantage point. Oh, and the coffee was great too. Not to overwhelming on either the bitterness or sweetness. It was a rather small cup for you heavy coffee drinkers.

Ox Impressions: 

Entrance to Cafe Giang

There are some coffee shop tucked away in between store fronts. Don't get too worried about heading back there as long as someone's made it out to write that it's safe. Many have before me. And I do want to add, it's a great getaway from the exhaust fumes.

Egg Coffee @Cafe Giang

A uniquely Hanoian invention. If I had to describe it, it's eggnog with your coffee. Errr, actually, as you can see, it's a little coffee with your eggnog. It just so happens to coincide with the holidays, but even with that, it's too sweet for my taste. I'll stick with the traditional stuff.

Ox Impressions: 

Lobby of Cafe Pho Co

Here's another coffee shop tucked away from the streets. This one was very beautiful on the inside. Though they promote their view of the lake more then the space. I'd go for that. Unfortunately, the service was a little odd. You order your drinks upfront and wait till it's made. Afterwards, you climb up the steps with drink in hand. I suppose you repeat this if you wanted another glass. One was all I needed.

Yogurt Coffee @Cafe Pho Co

Now this was interesting. I do wish I could have gotten you a better picture, but hopefully you get the idea. It's coffee with yogurt. Simple huh? And how does it really taste? Well, it's like you're having a really good yogurt drink and someone pours bitters into your sours. Doesn't work for me and I can't say much for the coffee either. Feels all gimmicky, though I'm sure a Hanoian would tell me otherwise. You can go without trying this.

Ox Impressions: 

Cafe Sua Da @Thuy Ta Cafe

An okay cup if you want that mocha flavor coffee. It's not too heavy but for me I'd like to keep it simple. Coffee and condensed milk. Otherwise, it's not like it's made bad.

Ox Impressions: 

Cafe Sua Da @The Hilltop Station

Looks like I take my coffee black don't it? Look closely and you'll see the condensed milk at the bottom. A solid cup in this small town.

Ox Impressions: 

The OxPosted December 1, 2014 By the hungry ox


Comments (1)
  • Troy N.
    Dec 11 2014, 4:06 PM Reply

    You just saved me a trip. Felt like I was there! Nice pics Khanh!

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