When In Ho Chi Minh, Enjoy Coffee And Brunch At These Instagram-Ready Spots
For 11 years, I’ve toured every nook and cranny of Asia and, more importantly, I’ve been keeping a little black book full of the places with the most Instagram-worthy eats and drinks I can find. From the highest rooftop brunch spot in Seoul to the chicest beach club in Bali, I have so much to share with my fellow foodies.
When my company seconded me from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh in 2014, I had no idea what I was in for, but let’s just say I had some of the best international cafés and brunch stop-ins at arm’s reach, and I can’t wait to break it down for you so that you can begin planning your Vietnam adventure. If you’re thinking of booking a trip to Ho Chi Minh— you simply can’t pass up these coffee and brunch spots.
Let’s start with coffee because everyone needs a pick-me-up (or three, if you’re like me):
27 Ngô Ð?c K?, B?n Nghé, Qu?n 1
Think New York City loft—get ready to climb a substantial amount of stairs. Bring your favorite book or even your city map, soak up the air con and watch in awe at all of the coffee apparatuses on display as you watch your barista craft up your fave java bevy. It’s in the heart of District 1, the epicenter of the city, so you won’t have to venture far to find this little gem that was once my hideaway.
As a long-time fan and once a holder of a VIP card for Instagram-ing this place so much (no joke), L’usine is the epitome of industrial chic meets Paris, and the corned beef pumpkin hash will leave you breathless. The coffee is top notch and it’s the ideal setting for flipping through a magazine.
It’s a ubiquitous franchise and a worthwhile stop-in while walking Dong Khoi (or anywhere, as I mentioned it’s all over the city) to get a refreshing cold beverage. As much as I love a cuppa, I can down the passion fruit iced tea in a matter of seconds. Brain freeze! No regrets. The locals love this place, and I would describe it as the Starbucks of Vietnam.
Let’s move on to brunch, shall we? Who doesn’t love a mimosa? Or a bowl of pho that makes you feel like Vietnam might actually be your ultimate comfort food pit stop?
You know that restaurant that you just feel cool stepping into? That’s Au Parc. I dare you to keep your phone in your pocket and not take photos of this place—it would be impossible! Situated by the Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon, this stylish spot is great for salads, a Turkish breakfast, or the perfect tartine. Take a stroll through the adjacent park afterwards and witness Ho Chi Minh recreation in its truest form.
When you want to impress a date or nurse that agonizing hangover with a legit Bloody Mary, the Deck has what you’re looking for. Overlooking the Saigon River, you’ll see boats go by and questionable vegetation floating through murky waters, juxtaposed with one of the fanciest restaurants in Ho Chi Minh. The contrast of old and new Vietnam is unmistakably evident. I recommend going there for a petit brunch, coupled with a memorable experience that makes you feel like you’re in a movie.
It’s all about the Mother Hen (chicken fillet, grilled bacon, Swiss cheese with lettuce and tomato on a plump, carb-licious bun) and craft beer at Relish & Sons. When I lived in Ho Chi Minh, I made weekly stops there, and I’m not apologizing for it, to this place. It’s quirky, the portions are just enough, and the ice-cold craft beer is so tasty it would be a crime to guzzle it! I slather everything with Vietnamese chili sauce for that extra spice of life we’re all looking for. The burgers are also popular at Relish & Sons, but admittedly, I’m not much of a burger person, so let your own palate be your guide when deciding what to order to wash down with your craft beer.
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One day, I was walking in Greenbelt 5 and had to do a double-take when I saw that one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants has been transplanted from the heart of Saigon right here to Manila. In Ho Chi Minh, Propaganda is situated side by side with Au Parc, and you can conveniently order from either menu no matter which restaurant you’re eating at, since they’re both under the same ownership. The Pho is a bit pricey at Propaganda, but I can honestly say that the quality of the meat makes it all worth it. The Vietnamese coffee packs a punch and leaves you feeling alive. All I can say is—give it a try and let me know how you like it.
The author is a food and travel blogger (@thenakedfoodie_official); founder of Naked Patisserie, a bakeshop specializing in wedding and bespoke cakes; and the creator of NakedFoodie.TV, a food and travel blog. With a tasting palate that people can trust, a short attention span, and never-ending wanderlust, The Naked Foodie breaks down his favorite recipes for his fellow foodies around the world.