A café reminiscent of the old days
VietNamNet Bridge – In the backpacker area surrounded by Pham Ngu Lao, Bui Vien and De Tham streets in downtown HCM City, most restaurants, shops and hotels all look new and Westernized with signs written in English but there is a coffee shop having a Vietnamese rustic name: Ut Lanh.
A corner of Ut Lanh café – Photo: Minh Nga
The cafe is a perfect destination for those wishing to explore the old taste of Saigon. Guests may feel as if they were back to the old days inside a typical house in Saigon rather than a café.
There are a variety of old things like the old-fashioned door and window, wooden chairs and tables covered with colorful plastic sheets, a cassette player mostly playing the popular melodies of tens of years ago, a black and white TV set, old toys for kids, and a flat wooden platform for sitting or sleeping which can be found in many Vietnamese families in the past.
A long dining table is put against the wall on which used pots, pans and baskets are hung. Next to the table is an old-style pantry made of wood where young women who run the shop stand to prepare drinks and snacks for customers.
At the pantry, guests can find various types of snacks and candies that have been familiar with many generations in Saigon.
A foreigner identified as Jon said: “I was impressed. This is Saigon in the 80s all over again. These days I think you cannot find a coffee shop like this anywhere else in Saigon. This is a nice place for the kids to know how the folks lived in the past.”
Apart from normal drinks such as coffee, soft drinks, lemonade, the signature of Ut Lanh comprises Vietnamese fruit cocktail, tamarind water, banana ice-cream, fresh mango with sweetened fish sauce and Vietnamese snacks.
What's more, customers can get a VND5,000 discount on the bill if they refrain from using their phones at the café.
Ut Lanh coffee shop is located at 283/37 Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1.
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