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Coffee was meant in the first place to serve French soldiers and officers staying in Vietnam during the war, and later, Vietnamese people – mostly revolutionary scholars or students who just came back from France, Maze Vietnam cites.
As it was an unfamiliar and luxurious beverage at that time, it was not until the very first coffee houses were opened by Vietnamese owners in the 1940s that people from all walks of life started to have coffee as a common drink besides green tea and “nuoc voi” (a drink that is cooked from leaves of a tropical tree whose scientific name is Cleistocalyx operculatus).
Roasting, grinding, making coffee in their own distinct, delicate way without much change over the years, these big 4 cafés "Nhan-Nhi-Di-Giang" have stood the test of time and become a reminder of Hanoi’s old days.
1. Nhan Café
Address: 39D Hang Hanh, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
9 Lang Ha Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
143 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi
Open – close: 8.00 am – 22.30 pm
Price: 25.000VND - 50.000VND (about US$ 1 - 2)
Opened in 1946, Nhan café has been run by Mr. Thi’s family for decades. Starting out as a meeting place for Vietnamese communist people during the war, Nhân is now a well-known coffee shop with many branches, but the most popular one is still that in Hàng Hành.
Famous for its self-roasted coffee bean, Nhan café will definitely please even the most punctilious drinker.
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2. Nhi Café
Address: 2 Hang Ca, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Open – close: 7.00 am – 22.30 pm (whole week)
Price: 15.000VND – 33.000VND (about US$ 0,7 - 1,5)
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No one can explain why this old, tiny café stays busy day after day in the city of countless cafés. Some refer to the coffee’s hard bitterness as a reluctant explanation. Some refer to the easy-going atmosphere that customers create.
You may have your own judgment. But Nhi is a hidden corner whispering in the small alleys of the capital. You don’t want to miss this experience if you are looking for something genuinely in Hanoi.
One special thing is that the café does not have its name on the signboard – all you can see is “cafeteria” – “café giải khát”. So, make sure you come to the right address!
3. Di Café
Currently, tourists can not find Di coffee anymore. It's a mystery that why Di coffee disappeared, possibly because the descendants did not continue their profession. This is also a great regret for coffee lovers. Di coffee today only exists in the memories of the old Hanoians and maybe in their stories later.
4. Giang Café
Address: 39 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
106 Yen Phu, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
Open – close: daily from 7.30 am to 22.30 pm.
Price: about US$ 1 - 2
Located in the Hanoi Old Quarter since 1946, Café Giang promises to bring you a throwback to Hanoi in the past.
Even though Cafe Giang is not really spacious, this famous café will certainly make you comfortable with the cozy atmosphere. Tourists may immerse themselves in the peaceful morning or evening of Hanoian while sipping a warm cup of coffee.
Café Giang certainly offers you the best Vietnamese Egg Coffee in Hanoi Old Quarter with the secret recipe passing down from Mr. Giang, the founder of this café and a former bartender in 5-star Sofitel Legend Metropole, as cited by Excursion Vietnam.
The surprisingly simple ingredients like the yolk of a chicken egg, Vietnamese coffee powder, condensed milk can be made into a super tasty drink. One important part to make excellent egg coffee is the perfect balance between the fat of the egg and the fragrance of the coffee.
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