Vietnam’s Cafe Culture: Meet the Cafe Apartments

The Cafe Apartments houses a cafe in almost every unit of this building

by SEA Wave
SEA Wave - Vietnamese Cafes
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By: Alissa Evangelista

 

Known from a famous Nat Geo photo-of-the-day feature, this 9-storey apartment is home to multiple cafes and restaurants. Lined with various food and drink options, one can easily spend a day in this building.

Known as The Cafe Apartment, this building is located along Nguyen Hue Street in Vietnam, which is another Ho Chi Minh City attraction in itself. All cafes in this building are facing the said walking street, each offering an amazing spot for people-watching. It is also a few blocks away from the famous City Hall and Opera House in Saigon.

While the building itself is hard to miss, the entrance may be more challenging. The apartment’s first floor is occupied by Nguyen Hue Bookstore. To reach the higher floors, you must pass through a narrow alley on the left side of it. From there, you can access the stairs and elevator. Note that the cost of using the elevator is 30,000 VND (about PHP 7) for a roundtrip. Most cafes, on the other hand, will waive your elevator fee!

From the inside, you’ll notice how old this apartment is. Designed as a residential apartment in the 1960s, it was home to high-ranking officials in South Vietnam prior to its commercialization. The halls and stairs are worn out, but it’s a different story once you enter the cafes.

Most cafes have impressive design and food options. There is something for every type of visitor. Below are our recommendations for each type!

For the Influencer: The Letter Coffee

SEA Wave - Vietnamese Cafe - The Letter Coffee

The Letter Coffee is vibrant all over. Photo by The Letter Coffee – Indochine | Facebook

The Letter Coffee defines what “Instagrammable” is. Every corner of this cafe serves as a photo spot, so it’s no surprise multiple photoshoots are hosted here. They offer a variety of local and international food options, which also look great on photos. They have two locations in the apartment — The Letter Coffee on the 6th floor and The Letter Coffee – Indochine on the 8th floor. The two locations offer different aesthetics and are both worth visiting!

For the one with a Sweet Tooth: DOSH Doughnuts

SEA Wave - Vietnamese Cafe - Dosh Doughnuts

DOSH Doughnuts will sure bring you to a sugar rush. Photo by DOSH | Facebook

As the name suggests, this cafe serves donuts and a lot of other sweets including their “Freakshakes”, a milkshake line that is ridiculously loaded. See for yourself, their sweets look so good you wouldn’t want to eat them.

For the Young and the Young-at-heart: OOPS Taiwan Dessert

SEA Wave - Vietnamese Cafe - OOPS Taiwan

OOPS Taiwan Dessert gives off a clean and cutesy vibe. Photo by OOPS Taiwan Dessert Q1 | Facebook

Just beside DOSH Doughnuts is another sweet treat — OOPS Taiwan Dessert. Step into this room and immediately enjoy its cake aroma. They serve Taiwanese wheel pancakes, which are available in flavors of red bean, boba milk tea, meat floss and even durian. Aside from that, their themed food will surely make you smile, like their signature Ice Monster with googly eyes!

For the Hungry One: Downtown Steakhouse

SEA Wave - Vietnamese Cafe - Downtown Steakhouse

Downtown Steakhouse offers a variety of filling meals. Photo by Downtown Steakhouse | Facebook

Coming in with an empty stomach? Despite its name, The Cafe Apartments is not all about cafes. Have something filling in Downtown Steakhouse. Other than its flagship steak and wine combo, this restaurant offers pasta, salad, burgers, chicken and more. It’s also located on the 3rd floor, so it won’t take long for you to get there if you’re already extra hungry!

For the Coffee and Boba Lover: Boo Coffee

SEA Wave - Vietnamese Cafe - Boo Coffee

Boo Coffee offers free use of attire and accessories in celebration of Tet 2022 (Vietnam’s Lunar New Year).  Photo by BOO Coffee | Facebook

Calling all drink lovers! Boo Coffee offers milk tea and coffee in different variations. Enjoy a higher view as this cafe’s branches are located on the 8th and 9th floors of the apartment. It’s worth the hike. After all, it might be great for you to burn the calories from all the sweets on your way down.

Other than the ones mentioned above, there are more cafes for you to visit in this apartment. Explore each floor and find the perfect one for you!

Which cafe do you want to visit?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Featured photo by Lotte Hotels & Resorts Magazine

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