The Cong Caphe Story
One of my highlights from our Vietnam trip was discovering Coffee culture at Cong Caphe, particularly in Hanoi. In short, a self-described hipster cafe, Cong is a gathering place for groups of Vietnamese friends and coworkers. Cong Caphe design is modelled around the political organisation Vietcong, who had their own army through the 1960’s onwards. Furthermore, the cafe exterior is painted in green and the interior appears retro and minimalist including wooden floors. Meanwhile, you can read about other activities in Vietnam’s largest cities in Encountering Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
Coffee Culture in Hanoi
Above all, the coffee scene was captivating with an abundance of cafes around Hoan Kiem and the Old and French Quarters. Our first Cong visit was in the Old Quarter, during which a Vietnam National Football match was happening. Consequently, hundreds of Vietnamese frequented bars, restaurants and cafes, and many provided big screens contributing to the atmosphere. I was fascinated by Hanoi, from architecture and temples to coffee and numerous scooters, Hanoi was certainly the definition of activity.
Coffee Culture – Background to Cong Caphe
The name “Cộng” is taken from Vietnam’s official name: Cong Hoa Xa Hoi Chu Nghia Viet Nam. Trieu Viet Vuong Street, the historic cafe street of Hanoi, is where the first cafe opened in 2007. The number of Cong Caphes has rapidly increased over recent years and currently there are 65 Cong Caphes in total. Many of these are in Hanoi, however, I later discovered Cong is in Seoul and Kuala Lumpur, for example. Importantly, the staff in Seoul and Kuala Lumpur have training in Vietnam to understand the authentic Cong taste.
Along with the renowned Arabica coffee, most Cong Caphes provide a selection of Vietnamese snacks like Banh Mi and peanut candy. For instance, the Coffee with Coconut Milk concoction came with the option of sunflower seeds on the side. A few drinks examples from the Cong menu include:
- Iced Milk coffee
- Hot Hanoian Black Coffee
- Coconut Milk with Coffee (choose coffee type)
- Iced Black Coffee with Frozen Coconut
- Coffee with Yoghurt
- Slow Drip Coffee
- Vietnamese Egg Coffee.
- Fresh Fruit Juices and Smoothies
- Local Beers
- Seasonal Fruit Based Cocktails
On a visit to Cong Caphe in Saigon, we ordered the iced drinks in the photo above. Note also, the barista uniforms are a military dark green symbolising the Vietcong. The drinks were the most exquisite beverages on the trip and are in the ‘Cong signature category’. Moreover, in Hanoi we sampled some other delicious drinks: Coffee with Condensed Milk, Vietnamese Green Tea and Milk Tea with Ginger. Similarly, there always appeared to be plenty of customers in the cafes when we walked past. Above all, we thoroughly enjoyed our experiences at Cong and if you want to view the full menu, visit their website.