Friday, August 24, 2018

Where to Get Great Coffee in Hanoi

3 Unforgettable Coffee Spots in Hanoi

The coffee culture in Vietnam is rich and alive with many French traditions dating back hundreds of years. This all started when France began carving huge pieces of Vietnam, as well as several surrounding countries, out for itself in order to control trade there.

Today in a much more peaceful time, French influence is still widely apparent in many cultural aspects in Vietnam, and we’re happy this includes a range of culinary traditions that combine French and Vietnamese tastes.  While these influences are unfortunately rooted in territorial conquests, there's no doubt that this piece of complex history has created many unique and beautiful dishes. From banh mi sandwiches to hearty soups and exquisite pastries, Vietnam's food culture continues to thrive and evolve. Coffee culture, too, remains a vibrant, almost-integral part of life in Vietnam. In fact, since its first appearance in Vietnam, coffee hasn't just served as a tasty delight, it is now a pivotal part of the economy: Vietnam's worldwide coffee exports are only second to Brazil.

French-style coffee shops and bakeries aren't rare in Vietnam, so if you're visiting, you'll likely see many along the way. In Hanoi particularly, coffee shops are abundant. However, not all coffee spots are created equal, so let’s dive right in with our first shop that’s worth remembering when you come to Hanoi this year. 

1. The first coffee shop on our list is a French-inspired hangout. S'Patisserie is nestled next to the serene Hoan Kiem Lake and offers a range of sophisticated cakes and delightful coffees. S'Patisserie also serves up breakfast and lunch, anything from special fried rice to eggs and toast. You'll always find friendly and attentive service here, and the beautiful views are just the icing on the cake.
S'Patisserie is located at 17 Hang Khay Street and offers a Happy Hour every Mon, Wed, Fri from 4-6 pm. Let the sweet treats, coffees and fruit juices transport you from this French corner in Hanoi to another time and place. Or try a traditional Vietnamese dish to fill your belly at an affordable price.

2. Some cafes are born out of tradition, others out of necessity. This is the story behind the Giang Cafe, where egg coffee was supposedly born. As the story goes, Nguyen Van Giang had his stroke of genius during the first Indochina war in 1946. When milk became scarce, he needed something else to help cut the strong taste of Robusta, so he became innovative. His experience with baking taught him that whipping eggs and sugar could create a creamy milk-like substance, and the rest is history. Today, egg or no egg, most coffee shops will serve their Robusta coffee with a generous portion of sticky-sweet condensed milk. When ordering cà phê sữa, or milk coffee, expect condensed milk to accompany your dink. Order a cà phê trúng and you'll find a rich, creamy and decadent addition to your normal brew: a whipped egg yolk that will no doubt provide an unforgettable experience. 
Over the last 70 years, Mr. Van Giang’s recipe has been perfected and you're able to enjoy it at No.39 Nguyen Huu Huan amongst a peaceful ambiance created by beautiful artwork and friendly staff.

Egg coffee is a unique and tasty tradition that you can share with your friends right at home. Learn to make an easy egg coffee in just minutes now.

3. When we're in Vietnam, we always like to try something new. That's how we came across the Always Cafe. This Harry Potter-themed coffee shop offers an experience that's truly different from any of the traditional shops we normally frequent when in Hanoi.
The Always Cafe offers some of the tastiest alcoholic and non-alcoholic butterbeer near and wide and the atmosphere is simply ideal for an afternoon break while wandering around the old quarter. Quiet and relaxing with plenty of magical decor, you'll be able to satisfy your thirst as well as your Harry Potter geekery. The Always Cafe offers goodies including magic wands, mugs and jewelry, as well as an amazing selection of costumes you can borrow or buy. Sit and sip your poly juice potion in full garb, play a game of Harry Potter monopoly, chat with friends over a butterbeer or pick up a fun souvenir. We solemnly swear this place is fantastic.
This unique little gem is located at No 8b Hang Tre Street, just a short walk from Hoan Kiem Lake.

Favorite Hanoi Restaurants

Our Top 3 Must-Go-To Restaurants in Hanoi

So you're visiting Vietnam. If your travel plans include a trip to the riverside city of Hanoi, you won't run out of sights to take in. Hanoi offers a range of sightseeing opportunities, including the Mausoleum, several beautiful and ancient temples and pagodas, the opera house and a plenty of museums dedicated to fine arts, history, and nature.
You won't be able to take in all Hanoi has to offer in just a day or two, but sampling the best restaurants this city has to offer is another story. While street food, cafes and restaurants are absolutely abundant in Hanoi, there are three favorites we always return to on our trips to the capital city. These are Duong’s Restaurant, Cau Go Restaurant and Home Restaurant.

As a prior contestant on both Top Chef Vietnam and Iron Chef Vietnam, Hoang Duong isn't new to the cooking game. He’s spent years perfecting his techniques and prides himself on his ability to adapt his menu to the natural availability of produce depending on seasonality.
Speaking of the menu, we can honestly say that every dish that leaves the kitchen at Duong's looks like a gastronomic delight. As you sit enjoying your meal, don't be surprised if you experience a bit of plate envy as you glance at your neighbor's dish. We promise, the meal you ordered is just as good; Duong's simply doesn't serve mediocre food.

While the experience isn't cheap by Vietnamese standards, it's well worth a visit or two or three. Because the chef picks only the freshest ingredients from the local market, you're guaranteed food that's incredibly full of flavor. What flavors will you find? Duong's serves dishes that combine traditional Vietnamese cuisine with French influences. You'll also find purely authentic Vietnamese food here.
Apart from the food, both the service and the atmosphere are nothing short of fantastic. The staff is pristine, helpful and friendly, and the restaurant offers patio seating, an air-conditioned interior and an assortment of fine French wines. This restaurant has two locations in Hanoi.

Cooking Class

If your schedule has some holes and you appreciate a good culinary experience, we recommend checking out Duong's cooking class, which takes place daily. Each day features a different menu and begins with a Cyclo trip to the market to purchase fresh foods just like the chef does.

Learn to cook traditional soups, make Vietnamese spring rolls and prepare vermicelli in just four hours. The chef works side by side with you to offer special tips so that when you take your recipe home, you'll be able to recreate it again and again.

This beautiful restaurant is located right along the historic Hoan Kiem lake and is surrounded by a range of sightseeing opportunities. It is named for the Cau Go Street, on which it is located. Cau Go Street is one of the oldest streets in Vietnam and houses a number of distinct buildings while offering up a generally vibrant surrounding atmosphere.

The Old Quarter seems to directly influence the cuisine you'll find here.  Traditional recipes meld with contemporary food movements, and dishes are constantly evolving. Cau Go Restaurant combines many flavors of Vietnam, focusing on several regions to bring you anything from clam with basil soup to caramelized pork. You'll also find an impressive wine list to accompany your dish.

This restaurant is just a short walk from the Old Quarter and sits on the fifth floor 73 Cau Go Street. The staff is friendly, the property is beautiful and the view is simply unbeatable.
Each of the dishes is presented with care, creating a pleasing dining experience not only for the mouth but also the eyes. This is a great place for the tourist to go and enjoy Vietnamese food in a comfortable and scenic environment while enjoying good company and tasty food.

This strikingly beautiful restaurant incorporates large elements of French decor to create a serene villa-type setting. Here, you'll find sophisticated foods at affordable prices, warm service, and calm surroundings to take you away from the noise and bustle of the city. Enjoy seating in the air-conditioned interior or on an ambient patio surrounded by colorful hanging lanterns.
Recharge at Home with one of many imported wines, a stiff cocktail or a cool dessert. Try the deep fried banana, but don't forget to sample the food as well. What's special about it? Home's philosophy of striking a balance between tradition and reform is definitely apparent in the dishes prepared here. Whether you order the grilled pork mince with lemongrass, the bun cha or duck with pickles, you'll find an unforgettable fusion of old world tastes meeting refined sophistication.

Home's dishes are beautifully presented, incredibly flavorful and plentiful. Enjoy a lunch or dinner in a relaxing atmosphere, surrounded by delicious food, drinks and friendly staff who will gladly provide you with insider tips on how to best enjoy your meal.
Have a favorite to add to the list? Comment below!