Have you ever got a sniff of the sweet-smelling coffee combined with the smell of firewood smoke? There are a few coffee shops in Saigon that offer the old-fashioned but unique styles of coffee making, a reminder of the past.
There is this one in a deep alley off Tan Phuoc Street in Ho Chi Minh City's District 11, right behind a market formerly called Cho Thiec (Tin Market).
The owner of the shop is Mr. Luu Nhan Thanh, a Chinese-origin man in his 70s.
Thanh’s coffee shop is actually his house, which is rather dark and poorly equipped with several low, old wooden desks and chairs.
Outside the house is a cart where Thanh made coffee for his customers, mostly his Chinese-origin friends.
Mr. Thanh Coffee Shop
313 Tân Phước St., Ward 06, Dist. 11, HCMC
Open from 6am to 5pm
Price:VND6,000/cup of hot coffee
Thanh usually gets up at 5 a.m. everyday to light up firewood in an oven to boil water. He then puts coffee powder in a cloth-made net, and pours boiled water into the net, which is put in a yellow earthen pot.
The coffee powder will be filtered by the net and kept warm inside the pot.
It is said that earthen pots can keep the smell of the coffee very long, so the coffee will be tastier than that made by stainless steel coffee filter.
Thanh’s coffee shop opens from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Each coffee cup costs only VND6,000 (28 US cents).
Several decades ago, the way of making coffee by nets was very popular in the city’s Chinatown areas, which cross districts 5 and 6 and part of District 11.
As time went by, more and more modern coffee shops opened, and these simple net-coffee shops disappeared.
But Thanh says he will continue selling this kind of coffee until he is unable to.