For Coffee Lovers: Four Most Popular Trends of Hanoi Café

Hanoi is a famous destination for tasting the best cafe in Vietnam, and this is the best cafe trends for you to experience and explore once you have a chance to spend your holidays in Vietnam.

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Hanoi is fast becoming Vietnam’s ground zero for artsy-chic trends. The city not only has a stellar choice of modern hotels, but also a burgeoning cafe culture. Drinking a cuppa is a social ritual here, honed to perfection by both beautifully-attired Hanoians and expatriates.

Beginning a day with a cup of hot coffee is an indispensible hobby of many working Hanoians, though each one has his or her own way in his or her own favourite place. And unlike major capital cities elsewhere in the world, coffee in Hanoi is hardly found in chain with standard menu, but very versatile and unique. Coffee houses spread anywhere from sidewalk to office building, from being colorful to attract teenagers to offering more human-animal interaction in the busy Hanoi.

1. Sidewalk Café

Photo: Skylar Lindsey
Photo: Skylar Lindsey

Coffee was brought to Vietnam by the French during the colonial period and gradually become a popular beverage here. Adopting a legacy imbued with considerable French cachet, the Vietnamese have embraced café culture – sipping and thinking in a big way. Every morning, be it a hot summer day or a cold winter day, you will see people with a cup of coffee in one hand and a newspaper in the other. Cafes can be a place for friends to meet and chat, for business people to discuss business affairs, or for a person to pause and reflect. Cafes are for gossiping with friends, passing the time, stealing a romantic moment

Hanoi’s cafes differ from cafes else where in Vietnam , as they are often located next to a lake. Many Hanoians prefer cafés which have been around for years on a busy downtown street or hidden in a quiet alley. There are many famous cafes in the capital city. Lam Café in Nguyen Huu Huan Street has served as a refuge for some of Vietnam ’s leading artists – like Bui Xuan Phai, To Ngoc Van, and Van Cao, whose paintings still hang here. Bich is the daughter of Lam Café’s owner: “We do out best to uphold the reputation of Lam Café which has been here for more than 60 years”.

Almost cafes in Hanoi , you will find two basic choices – black coffee or milk coffee – hot or with ice. But the coffee of Giang Café also in Nguyen Huu Huan Street , is something very Vietnamese – coffee with egg. Nguyen Tri Hoa is the youngest son of the owner of Giang Coffee: “Our famous egg coffee was created before I was born. I inherited the recipe. Egg coffee remains the specialty of Giang Café. In the past there was only hot egg coffee. Now I serve both hot and cold egg coffee. Even European tourists enjoy our specialty”.

2. Office café

Photo: Toplist
Photo: Toplist

With so many distractions and a terrible amount of noise, Hanoi can be a remarkably difficult place to lesson plan, article research and presentation prepare. It was time to get back to work and so we scanned the streets for the best laptop friendly café.

Located on the 4th floor inside Vincom Ba Trieu Trade Center, Work Cafe Hanoi is a café and pastry bar. You can go for a cup of coffee. You can reach out for financial advice for the café is part of Nest by AIA, a financial service and event space. You can attend or host an event. You can read a book while munching on some of the café’s homemade pastry. You can go there for one or all of the above reasons.

A collaborative, activate and friendly space, Work Cafe Hanoi has created a special location in one of Vietnam’s most iconic skyscrapers. It’s minimalist with a touch of Scandinavian style make people feel comfortable and casual.

While the space itself is aesthetically beautiful and functional, the top rated café inside the it is what makes it special, featuring drinks such as cold brews, matchas, and Western and Vietnamese style coffees. Complemented the coffee is a diverse selection of pastries.

3. Teenagers’ Café

Photo: Halo Travel
Photo: Halo Travel

This type of coffee shop has been expanded dramatically in recent year which is especially invented for teenagers and the youth. Coffee is no doubt the main course of these shops but their menu usually composed of vitamins, yogurt, cocktails and fast-foods. The interior of teen café is well decorated by wall painting with animated themes creating a hilarious but cozy ambiance for teenagers to either gossiping or studying effectively. To comment, this coffee style is more entertaining than enjoying coffee.

4. Themed Café

Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook

Pursuing market demands and standing out from the others, coffee shops in Hanoi are now designed in specific themes. Those themes are very diverse which may vary from an address for people with the same interest like pets’ coffee for animal lovers or antique coffee for ones who are interested in collecting antiques.

To select out the most unique theme cafés shop in Hanoi, Bird Cafés on Nguyen Du Street is no where can be found in the world. Here, thousands of rare species of birds creating melodious orchestras are displayed in front of the very eyes of customers. Besides sipping a cup of coffee to power up oneself, contemplate beautiful birds and listen to their songs is another way to dismiss stresses.

Another very special coffee shop in Hanoi is Art Coffee on 76 Quan Thanh Street, whose theme is antiques. The shop seems to be a small stadium preserving antiques of all regions in Vietnam of different dates. Art coffee is really a meeting-place of all archaeology lovers in not only Vietnam but also foreigners with the same interest.

Some of the best coffeeshops in Hanoi:

Manzi

Part art gallery, part cafe and bar, Manzi is housed in a quaint, white and spacious colonial villa. It has a very eclectic menu that rotates almost every month. Before you sit down to enjoy a drink, keep your eyes peeled for the art exhibits: the shows here focus on non-commercial, local artists, with the sort of art you’d never find in the touristy galleries of the Old Quarter. Manzi also functions as a full-fledged alternative art space, often hosting talks, fashion shows, screenings and other art-related events. If you have come to Hanoi to soak into one of Asia’s most eclectic art scenes, Manzi is the best place to do it—especially on a sunny day with a cup of coffee in hand.

Cafe Always

Can you believe that Hanoi has a Harry Potter-themed cafe populated by young sorcerers? It’s in Hang Tre, just a short walk from Hoan Kiem Lake. When you walk in, besides the dungeon-like walls, Always looks like a plain coffeehouse—yet with a Deathly Hallows symbol used on the sign. It’s in the backroom that the owners have cast a spell of literary nostalgia: there are Harry Potter character portraits framed on the walls, a Firebolt broomstick, a Hogwarts uniform, and the odd group of Potter fans dressing the part and playing monopoly. The best part is that Thiet, one of the owners, is a realistic Harry Potter impersonator. The drinks are served in chalices (not unlike Helga Hufflepuff’s, perhaps?), are modestly priced, and are good, too. Try the Butterbeer, of course.

Maison de Tet Decor

Maison de Tet Decor is housed in a beautiful French mansion by Hanoi’s lake with the perfect mix of colonial charm, spot-on lakeside views and organic coffee to die for. The Maison works like a restaurant, serving hearty breakfasts, lunch and dinner—but it’s the coffee and the location that really makes it stand out. Beans are roasted on site, either as single, international brews coming from as far as Ethiopia, Guatemala and India, or as clever “Elemental Collections” that blend beans from all over the world, creating fascinating new tastes. The best part is, if staying at luxe InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, the Maison is in walking distance along the lakeside.

Cafe Giang

Founded in 1946 by the current owner’s father, this old-school cafe is tucked into the first floor of a discreet building on Nguyen Huu Huan Street, right in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter. With its low wooden tables, potted plants and decadent walls, Cafe Giảng is a Communist-era Hanoi throwback, and yet in tune with modernity thanks to the crowds of young Hanoians who flock here to sip their hours away. The speciality is ca phe trung, or “egg coffee”: a rich blend of chicken egg yolk, sweetened condensed milk, Vietnamese coffee powder, butter and cheese. This unique recipe, invented to cope with the lack of milk during Communist times, still makes for a frothy and irresistible brew.