So, let the Tigers show you some vocabulary and manner to order coffee like a local:
How to order?
Step 0: walk into the chosen shop and find a good-viewed seat which let you face the street so you can enjoy your coffee and learn more about the local life.
Step 1: you need to make the waiter/waitress pay attention at you by looking at them and raise your voice to say “Em oi”. This word sounds like the letter “M” in English. However, in most of the cases, the waiter will approach you immediately when you enter.
Step 2: you need to distinguish between types of coffee in Vietnam and bare that in your mind because normally a local cafe shop does not have a menu. People have their favorite shop and favorite drink and the owner also remember clearly their customers so their order is simply implied already when that customer arrive.
Types of coffee:
Black coffee - Ca Phe den
You can add sugar in the black coffee. Source: Internet
This is the strongest type of coffee that be like a straight punch in the sleepy morning. It contains strong smell and the typical bitterness of the coffee bean.
Black coffee with sugar - Ca Phe den duong
The coffee power is just the same as the above but we add a little sweet in it. The sugar is a factor that make your day a bit sweeter and cheerful.
Milk coffee - Ca Phe sua (or Nau in the North)
Adding a bit of condense milk will make it slightlt sweeter. Source: Internet
This is the coffee with condensed milk in it instead of using sugar. The sweet, rich milk actually cuts the intensity and bitterness really well.
A lot of milk coffee - Bac xiu
It's half coffee - half milk. Source: Internet.
This is the same as the above but put a lot more condensed milk. Compared to HaNoi capital, people in the south of Vietnam prefer a lot sweeter, which make it so sweet just like the Saigon people. Try this one in Saigon because you rarely find it in the north of Vietnam.
Any of these types have hot and iced version. In Vietnamese, hot and cold are pronounced “nong” and “da” respectively. All you need is to add the word at the end of the name of coffee.
Step 3: Say slowly and clearly your order and say thank you to finish it. (Thank you is “Cam on” in Vietnamese)
Step 4: After receiving the drink from the waiter, you may have to wait for the dropping coffee if there is a coffee filter. Then, adding sugar or milk if they are separated. Finally, stir well the mixture. Remember to pool the coffee into the glass of ice if you choose the iced version.
Step 5: Wait! This is important, do not skip this.take a slight but deep breath to feel the flavour of your coffee. Now, slowly try a bit of it and enjoy the coffee on the tip of your tongue and feel it spreading in your mouth.
Step 6: now the ordering part is done, you may relax and enjoy coffee. If you go with your friends, it is local to start chit chat and have fun. But if you go by yourself, observing people or starting a conversation with them are both good. English of young people is relatively better than the old generation, but we are friendly and open to talk to a stranger.
Where to have coffee in Ho Chi Minh city?
Trung Nguyen legend
This brand has several branches throughout the city, they serve original coffee style with modern and elegant background decoration. You may find some coffee packages to bring home here.
Do Phu Coffee
The coffee has 2 branches in Ho Chi Minh city which come with the story in the Vietnam war. The decoration is remained the same as it of the old day, which will make you feel like going back to the 1950s. The owner and waitresses here are really friendly and helpful. You should prepare your phone or camera to have full battery to take pictures because this coffee shop is so photogenic.
Cheo Leo cafe
This is a very old coffee shop established in the 1930s. Coffee here is made by the nel drip technique so the taste is quite different than the filter version.
Luu Gia Cafe
This coffee shop serves mostly the the local because it is located in a residential area. Beside common coffee above, egg coffee is a specialty. Although the origin of egg coffee is in HaNoi, but if you did not visit HaNoi, this place would be an alternative.
Now, it's time for you to choose for yourselves a coffee shop and practise "enjoying Vietnamese coffee". Tigers team often encourage guests to try coffee on the tour because we know it is a quintessential part of our culture.