Ho Chi Minh City's Café Culture

Cafés aren't just for coffee in Ho Chi Minh City, they're an important part of the fabric of society. In this crowded city, jammed full of multigenerational homes, cafés offer an element of peace and privacy. They're cheap places for young people to hang out and for friends of all ages to meet and shoot the breeze. To attract the crowds among so much competition, all kinds of novelty and hidden coffee shops have sprung up. L'Usine in Dong Khoi led the charge, with its industrial-chic café and retail space hidden down an alley and up a flight of dingy stairs. Now "hidden" cafés are de rigueur; just about every old apartment block has one, and stylish cafés can be found in just about every street in town.

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