If there’s one thing to know about Saigon it’s that the place and the people are coffee crazy.
The culture thrives on its caffeine and fact is when it comes to producing their coffee game is strong. This leads to an abundance of the best cafes in Saigon that literally line the streets, alleyways and shops throughout the city.
The struggle to find coffee doesn’t exist In Vietnam. A good thing by all accounts if you happen to be a coffee lover. But because there are so many cafes in Saigon some of the more unique places can easily be missed.
Keeping that in mind there is definitely a coffee spot for everyone no matter what you might be into. You’ll find cafes with themes built around fashion, art and coffee and places that offer a more cool calm and collected coffee vibe.
For the curious traveler who loves to delve into the creatively unexpected may we suggest a place away from the beaten path of the busy city streets?
By all accounts, if the answer is yes then KuJuz Café in Central Saigon in an absolute must for you.
It’s not your typical Saigon café but it’s totally worth the trip.
Let’s get the logistics straight first, to grab some java and a dose of culture at KuJuz café head on over to 5 Trần Quý Khoách, Tân Định, 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam.
I admit when our cab driver first dropped us off I was a little confused because the area seemed a world away from what I knew of Saigon. The typically beautifully chaotic, narrow and dusty streets had disappeared miles back and were replaced by smooth and quiet roads. It was almost too quiet and desolate but when the promise of good coffee is nearby you never retreat. Never.
Once out of the taxi my eyes fell on a cafe conceived for creative minds. Situated in a small, self-contained area where warehouses have been converted into artsy shops, galleries and boutiques I almost felt like I was in back LA. There was a definite “up and coming” vibe to this area. It seemed like a place that in a few years would be swarming with tourists and locals alike. For now though it was hidden gem that had been found.
Nestled amongst the eclectic shops upon leading up the café the sight of a VW camper via the 1950’s immediately greets you. Next you can’t but notice the cacophony of colors that make up the shop along with an eye catching exterior.
With an intention to introduce the concept of recycling to young Vietnamese the colorful doors and window frames of the café are made from reuse wood and are painted in fun and vibrant colors.
Even before you’ve looked at the menu stepping into KuJuz feels like a moment where you actually get to take a peek through that magical looking glass.
(Image Courtesy of Flickr, Debbs.)
Inside the exterior is equal parts inviting and intriguing. The interior is a peaceful space with décor that’s just as colorful as the outside. It’s sparks a cozy and eclectic vibe that’s both refreshing and cool. There’s a definite relaxed feel to it to this café and one that after a few days amongst the busy city is inviting.
It must be noted that the sturdy community style wooden tables, regal solid chairs and decent Wi-Fi connection makes this Saigon Café a great place to catch up on some emails or get some work done.
There’s also seating outside and the patio has it’s a character all its own. Something akin to your own private backyard lined with greenery and even a small water fountain it’s another great option to chill out, read a book or write a postcard to someone back home.
What about the coffee you ask? We’re almost there but first there’s something you need to know.
One of the more interesting aspects of KuJuz is that at this café you make your own drink. It’s basically a self-serve café where, with the help of some friendly staff, you choose your favorite drink and mix it your own way.
This type of business concept literally translates into an endless number of coffee and tea options literally at your fingertips.
And the coffee does not disappoint. Everything you have come to expect from a Vietnamese coffee is right there for you in your tall iced glass or your piping hot mug.
As if all that wasn’t enough to make this Saigon Café stand out another cool aspect is their pay system. For the most part drinks are VND50,000/glass (about $2.25 USD) but if you pay VND100,000 (that’s around $4.50 USD) you can explore and enjoy as many drink as your heart desires.
(Image Courtesy of Flickr, Debbs)
KuJuz even let’s its patrons leave and linger around the surrounding shops and pop back in whenever needed to get refreshed. The whole place screams “Home away from home”.
KuJuz is a definite hidden gem in Saigon (for now) and one that definitely should be included on your travel itinerary.
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