One Whirlwind Day in Ho Chi Minh City, Part 2

February 22, 2011

Vietnamese Coffee

Sitting across a busy intersection in Ho Chi Minh City allows for much entertainment.

After sharing a cup of soup (detailed in part 1 of this Whirlwind series), we parked ourselves at a café dotted with locals to create a game plan. Our hours were limited, so we wanted to spend our precious time wisely in this bustling city. Coffee was necessary.

As we sipped our Cà Phê, traditional, filter drip style, with sweet milk (condensed milk, otherwise known as ‘sweet heaven’), we gawked at what looked like countless inevitable crashes or near misses to us, but were simply casual, every-day crossings of the road to locals.

Sure, I’ll take my massive cart full of god-knows what and wheel it nonchalantly straight into oncoming traffic. What of it?


(can you spot the lady I speak of?)

What did I think of Vietnamese coffee? It was love at first sip. Delightfully smooth and without the bitterness that so often comes with a cup of joe back home, no matter how fancy the coffee art on top. Give me a cup of strong, dark, rich Vietnamese coffee any day.

Plus it is fun to watch it drip, drip, drip as you sit, sit, sit.

Whilst in Vietnam I also enjoyed their ice-coffee, cà phê sữa đá, which is essentially a shot of their fabulous coffee, served on ice with sweet milk. What’s not to love… chilled, refreshing, delicious.

The cafe where we sat is on a corner Pasteur and Le Loi, opposite Saigon Centre (a shopping centre). It was a great spot to relax, try a local coffee and soak up the city.

Museum of Ho Chi Minh City

During our whirlwind day (am I overusing this word? I hope not, I do so love to type it…‘whirlwind’…) we visited the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City. Clearly, from my photographs, I was more in love with the elegant building than what was actually on display. However there were many gems to peruse in this beautiful, quiet corner of the city.

I always find old books photo-worthy

And door handles, apparently…

This was parked at the front of the museum entrance. I’m a sucker for vintage cars…

Heidi xo

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  • Laura Preston February 22, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Loved your pics, but bleuh the coffee was something I really couldn't handle in Vietnam. I can't tell you how many times I asked for 'real milk' and was told they had it, only to be given the sweetened condensed stuff.
    Very impressed with your use of vietnamese in your post too

  • Merowyn February 22, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Breathtaking photos lady, I do love the one of the lady peddling into the traffic sharks the most though.

    Now I want a coffee… and need a holiday hahahahaa I just decided to work out that I'm working 15 days out of 16 with one day off. It's too much being in the hospital all the time :/

  • My Restaurants Melbourne February 22, 2011 at 11:43 am

    The museum looks so interesting! What a great place to visit

  • Hannah February 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Gorgeous shots! I've never had Vietnamese (sweet) coffee, but I'm fairly certain I'd love it as I have a bit of a thing for Starbucks Frappuccinos (shhh!)

  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) February 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    WOnderful photos, thank you so much! I'm living through your journey from here!

    And WOAH how can one carry SO MUCH on a bicycle?!?!?! That's crazy! There's something like gravity in Vietnam, no? I can't believe it!

  • Michelle Chin February 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    My mom did not like the drip coffee. She said that by the time the coffee is done dripping, it has gone a little cold.

  • Leah February 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Beautiful photos Heidi!

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella February 22, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    What great detail pics! And I love coffee with sweet milk too-I can eat it by the spoonful (not advised) 😛

  • KittyCate February 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Mmmmm Vietnamese iced coffee, nommy! Love these photos – I have been so enjoying following your trip! xx

  • The InTolerant Chef February 22, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    I was in Myers today and saw a new product range from Luke Nguyen- including a vietnamese coffee dripper set with it's own cup and everything! You HAVE to go buy one tomorrow!

  • Iron Chef Shellie February 23, 2011 at 9:10 am

    oh I do love a vintage car too!

    great photos 🙂 x

  • Lisa February 23, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    By this time next week I will be in Ho Chi Minh City! Your posts are getting me so excited about my trip, can't wait to get there.

  • Anna Johnston February 23, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I think I could easily park myself on that corner sipping Vietnamese coffee & watching the motor cycle antics for ages., such fun. Were there any crashes? I've heard that despite the fact that it looks like there would be prangs backed up for ages, its relatively accident free.
    Awesome posts Heidi, love 'em. 🙂

  • Heidi February 24, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Laura – thank you! I just googled it and copied the Vietnamese names, however hehe. I can't really take credit! & yes, if you aren't a fan of sweetened condensed milk then it would be pretty 'bleuh'!

    Merowyn – oh poor thing, I feel for you. I remember doing placements how tough it can be, being at the hospital non-stop. Plus the dietetics departments were often in the basement! Thanks for the photo love, I do like that one with the lady mid traffic – it's hilarious!

    My Restaurants Melbourne – thanks, it was a lovely little corner of HCMC.

    Hannah – I can safely say that you'd love it 🙂

    Kath – haha, I know – it is amazing. The ladies will carry such strong loads on their shoulders too. Incredible!

    Michelle – I suppose because the weather was so warm, I didn't mind the coffee getting a little colder – however I didn't notice it cooling significantly. I HATE cold coffee over here (yuck!), and I didn't have any complaints about the temperature!

    Leah – thanks, lovely!

    Lorraine – oh I agree! We used to take tubes of sweetened condensed milk on bushwalking camp. oooh so good…

    Cate – why thank you! So happy you're enjoying them 🙂

    InTolerant Chef – omg yes I MUST go purchase one! Thanks for the tip! Trust Luke to come out with that, he's a smart guy 😉

    Michele – yes me too! I so want an old mustang. I do love old Jaguars too, they remind me of my grandpa.

    Heidi xo

  • Heidi February 24, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Lisa – oooh good for you! You will have a fabulous trip 🙂

    Anna – thank you! Yes it was so easy to sit there and sip away happily 🙂 We did a couple of short tours, and we asked our guide about crashes – because you never seem to see any! He said that there actually are a lot of deaths, mainly when people don't wear helmets. We did see most people wearing helmets, however they're also just delicately propped on the side of the bike ever so ladylike, whereas I'd be hanging on for dear life!!

    Heidi xo

  • Julia @ Boredom Abounds February 24, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Ooh, I love vintage cars too – very handsome!

  • thanh7580 February 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Isn't Vietnamese coffee just wonderful. I used to think it was normal to use condense milk in coffee until I found out that no one in Australia does that. I wonder why as it tastes so good, and my parents still use condense milk now for their coffees.

  • Phuoc'n Delicious February 28, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I can't wait to have 3 cups of vietnamese coffee a day!