More and more tourists are visiting the lovely city of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, also known as Saigon, in recent years due to the city’s rapid urban and economic development.
The influx of tourists has been a boon for Ho Chi Minh City with many modern F&B outlets, bars, pubs, traditional coffee shops and cafes sprouting up across the city.
I’ve been told that their food is amazing – so many people tell me that cafe-hopping and food-hunting is the standard practice when you’re here!
Little did I know that I ended up doing exactly that. In just 4 days, I went to over 9 cafes and 4 restaurants! This includes Secret Garden Restaurant and various other Vietnamese coffee shops.
Here are some of my favourite Saigon cafes that you should try when you visit Ho Chi Minh City next time! 😉
Vietnamese Coffee Shops in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
1. Phuc Long Coffee & Tea – In search of great Matcha Latte
It’s not uncommon to see this popular café chain all around Ho Chi Minh City. You can walk down the streets and see tourists and locals holding a cup of Phuc Long Coffee & Tea in hand.
There are so many Phuc Long outlets across Ho Chi Minh City, serving typical beverages and desserts at reasonable prices. To me, it seems as though this was their local version of the popular multinational chain Starbucks.
A good friend of mine recommended that I try the matcha latte (one of my favourite drinks ever!) here at Phuc Long Coffee & Tea, promising that it’ll be one of the best matcha lattes ever, and so off I go!
We stopped by one of the outlets near Grand Saigon Hotel to get our hands on a matcha latte and it totally didn’t disappoint – we love the mixture of creaminess and freshness of the matcha latte.
It was drizzling when we were drinking our latte, and so we spent a good hour sitting on the second floor of the cafe and watching the traffic rush pass, enjoying our drink.
I wouldn’t recommend the desserts though. The cake we tried felt like it had been frozen there for days – tough and tasteless.
If matcha latte isn’t one of your favourite drinks, have a look at other drink options on the menu. The couple sitting next to us ordered a cup of Choco Lover, which comes with a generous serving of whipped cream and chocolate drizzle, which I think will come in perfect on days when the Ho Chi Minh City sun is blazing.
Address - (Multiple locations) Opening Hours - 07:00 - 22:30 Menu
2. M2C Cafe – Modern meets culture
This cafe was a little tougher to find but thank goodness we did. We were told that this cafe serves really amazing Vietnamese Coffee, apart from its other drinks offered.
What I liked a lot about this cafe was its rustic, antique interior design. With low-lighting and unique choice of furniture and wall decorations, M2C Cafe was able to give a nostalgic feel of an old-school cafe.
Again, I set my heart out to try another cup of Vietnamese iced coffee, but with a twist – the Vietnamese Drip Coffee, where hot coffee made from fine Vietnamese coffee grinds are filtered through a traditional Vietnamese filter into a cup of ice, cooling it down for your pleasure. It was an interesting experience that I enjoyed, and it didn’t cost me much as well.
They have plenty of other drinks and desserts to choose from, and it isn’t as costly here! Take a break and have a drink while strolling through the neighbourhood streets.
Address - 34D Thu Khoa Huan Street | District 1, Ho Chi Minh City District 1, Vietnam Opening Hours - 08:30 - 23:00
3. The Workshop
The moment I entered The Workshop, I felt like I was in New York City all over again. The Workshop is a modern café, much like those you would find across Europe and Australia, yet it still has this local charm to it, making it uniquely Saigon.
Located close to the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, The Workshop is a great venue for you to relax with friends.
This is one of the few cafes that I know of that serves gluten-free and vegetarian dishes. Talk about being inclusive! Now you can bring your friends and loved ones, especially if they have more dietary restrictions, with lesser worries!
Surely, this is another Vietnamese coffee shop that tops the Vietnam coffee list. The Vietnamese iced coffee, with its creamy and full body and delicious taste, is what I came for, and I didn’t regret walking here in the hot and humid Ho Chi Minh City weather at all.
Don’t hesitate to get a second cup while you’re at it – I had 2 of it myself!
Apart from that, they serve a good range of main dishes that you can eat for breakfast or lunch. This includes pasta and Eggs Benedict. If you’re not in the mood for a heavy meal, you can choose to taste one of their desserts or pastries.
The cost is slightly more than the regular price, so come mentally prepared!
Address: 27 Ngo Duc Ke, P. Ben Nghe, Q.1 (2nd floor), Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam District 1 Opening Hours: 08:00 – 21:00
Vietnamese Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
This is arguably the toughest restaurant to find in the entire Ho Chi Minh City. After walking through streets after streets, asking locals for directions along the way, and climbing up numerous flights of stairs, I finally found this gem of a restaurant (no wonder it’s called Secret Garden Restaurant)!
Secret Garden Restaurant, also affectionately known as Secret Garden Home-cooked Restaurant, brings the best of traditional Vietnamese cuisines in a comfortable, homely setting.
The friendly staff sure know how to keep me feeling welcome, too, by constantly making conversations and asking me if the food was any good.
The best part of it all – the rooftop dining view! Having a meal at the top of the building, under the twinkling fairy lights, amidst a traditional setting, was a great dining experience for me.
As soon as I entered the restaurant, I can’t help but be amazed as I looked around and saw different tables filled with great-smelling and delicious-looking food.
All these home-cooked dishes had a drooling effect on me. They all looked delicious that it’s hard to recommend just one main dish, so why not try a little bit of everything? Spicy grilled prawns, vegetable spring rolls, lemongrass pork… and the list goes on and on.
Do take note that the serving size may be huge, so it’s good to bring along a buddy or two to enjoy this meal with you! On top of that, for the amount that I ordered and the taste, it’s reasonably affordable.
Tip: It gets rather busy at times, especially during the peak periods, so I’ll advise you to book a table before your arrival by calling the restaurant at +84 90 990 46 21 to avoid waiting in line too long!
Address: Top Floor, 158 Pasteur, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Opening Hours: 10:00 – 22:00
Don’t be fooled – this small, cosy restaurant settled in Ho Chi Minh City’s backpacking district, Bui Vien, scores big on the taste scale!
Bun cha, a Vietnamese dish consisting of grilled pork and white rice noodles, is a popular dish here in Ho Chi Minh City, despite having originated from Hanoi.
Bun Cha 145 Bui Vien knows exactly how to draw people from all walks of life here – you’ll see streams of locals and foreigners entering the shop, enjoying the food and having a good time.
As the name suggests, many come here for the delicious bun cha! It’s not as fancy as you would imagine it to be, but the great service that comes with the bun cha will be a bonus.
The owner is affable, and so are the staff, helping us to decide on what to eat and how to eat the bun cha.
The service is super quick and the best part of it all was the cost! It’s pretty affordable, but that’s because the serving size can be small. If you have space in your tummy, don’t be shy to grab another bowl – in fact, most of the tourists here do just that.
Another item on the menu worth mentioning is the famous spring rolls, which I enjoyed so much too. There are plenty of other options to try from, so keep your options open!
Address: 145 Bùi Viện, Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam Opening Hours: 11:30 - 16:00, 17:30 – 21:00
Saigon Cafes in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
1. Maison Marou – Amazing French Chocolate
Chocolate lovers, rejoice! Have a break at one of the most popular cafes in Ho Chi Minh City.
Here at Maison Marou, chocolates are specially and freshly made in-house by chefs daily and you can view the entire process behind glass windows. Combining traditional French recipes with locally grown single origin cacao and some of Vietnam’s finest ingredients, this cafe whips up great chocolates, albeit at higher prices.
Started by two French chocolate lovers, Maison Marou has evolved into one of the most adored cafes around Ho Chi Minh City. In fact, Maison Marou is so well-known that you’ll see groups of tourists and locals entering the shop to see what the hype was about.
Personally, I feel that Maison Marou wants to share its love for chocolate with the world, so much so that it invests heavily in sharing its origins by dedicating a sizeable section of its café to show the history of chocolates in Vietnam via its massive mural of information. The artefacts, like an old chocolate-making machine, add to the amazing ambience of the cafe.
Knowing that they specialize in chocolates, I decided to go for the most chocolate-y drink. Their signature hot chocolate is a good start! Frothy and delicious, it certainly awakened my sweet tooth.
If you want to bring a piece of the magic back home, they have packet chocolate bars available!
Address - 167 Calmette, Nguyễn Thái Bình, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam Opening Hours - 09:00 - 23:00
2. Partea – English Tearoom
If you’re in the mood for some English tea in a fine, classy British setting, then Partea’s for you!
Located within a building on the 5th floor near the city centre, Partea houses a wide range of English tea which are served in unique porcelain cups and tea pots when you buy a pot.
Partea is located inside a seemingly old, derelict building on the outside. As you gaze up the building, you’ll see many people sitting by the window, sipping drinks and having a chat. To get to Partea, you might have to climb up flights of stairs, as the elevators might not be fully operational (it happened to me) or large enough to transport everyone.
Paradoxically, you’ll soon notice that there are plenty of hipster cafes and boutique shops housed inside this building. I learnt my lesson – never judge a book by its cover!
What attracts me to Partea the most is the unique design and style of the café, so much so that I spent almost half an hour walking around and taking photos of the cute aesthetics, completely ignorant of the fact that my drinks and dessert were already waiting for me at my table!
We met a local friend, Linh, to go to Partea right when it just opened. I purchased the freshly baked chocolate brownie (it was so good!) and English Breakfast tea that comes in a teapot. The teapot serves about 4 to 5 cups.
It’s great for when you want to hang out with friends and chill over non-alcoholic drinks, admiring and basking in the cute ambience.
Address - Floor 4, 42 Nguyen Hue street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 700 Opening Hours - 09:00 - 22:30
This cafe was where I had my dinner on the first night in Ho Chi Minh City. L’Uisine was one of those hip, modern cafes that virtually everyone would recommend you to visit.
Situated within walking distance from Ben Thanh Night Market, we walked to the café with huge expectations at around 8:30pm, and were we glad it was still open then!
The cafe also doubles as a bar, serving alcoholic beverages that you can get for special prices during their happy hours from 5pm to 7pm daily. Apart from that, the cafe serves a selection of main dishes fit for your breakfast, lunch or dinner meals.
We ordered a fish and chips for two together with Vietnamese iced coffee and chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream.
The prices were pretty steep and the serving size was small. The fish and chips felt like something you can get for a third of the price.
However, the highlight of the night was the amazing Vietnamese iced coffee; the aroma, body and taste of the coffee is one that is hard to replicate once you’re out of Vietnam.
On top of that, they have a nice ambience too. Decorated with wooden furniture and bright fairy lights, it’s a suitable venue to just hang out and enjoy a night out with friends and loved ones (the café is located on the second floor of a shophouse with an open-air balcony)!
Budget Tip: Students get to enjoy an additional 15% off! You just need to bring your student pass and show it to them upon payment to receive this discount. 😉
Address - 151/5 Dong Khoi St, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 70000 Opening Hours - 07:30 - 22:30 Menu
For the record, I’ve never ever been to a cat café before, so I was really looking forward to this! I was just travelling around Ho Chi Minh City and saw that Ichi Cat Café was just minutes away from where I was, so I thought, “Why not?”
Located just outside of the city centre, Ichi Cat Café is home to over 15 cats of all sizes.
There is an entry fee of 40,000 VND/USD1.80 for each adult, exclusive of the drinks and snacks. There’s a wide range of drinks available from smoothies to yogurt drinks that you can choose from. I ordered an iced chocolate coffee, and I concluded that their drinks aren’t that exceptional, for the price I paid.
The highlight of the visit was seeing the many cats all over the café.
My belief of cats being lazy creatures was firmed up when I tried to play with them. All I got in return were nonchalant “leave me alone” expressions.
Even then, the species are really unique – not the kind you’d see on the streets. They were furry and cute, even when they were lying there, doing nothing most of the time.
Still, seeing them move around and posing for pictures make for a perfect evening – or should I say, purrr-fect. 😊
Address: 221/2 Trần Quang Khải, Phường Tân Định, Quận 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Opening Hours: 10:30 – 22:00 Menu