Never judge a café by its entrance; Café Chelsea isn’t what you would expect to see entering an old compound of souvenir shops just behind Ben Thanh Market. The path leading to the café is an alley with stores selling sunglasses and nail salons left and right.

Coffee is a big deal in Hanoi. Everyone who has lived here will tell you that you haven’t lived until you’ve tried the famous egg coffee or the ca phe sua da. Being more of a tea aficionado, I’ve been looking for a place where my preferred hot drink is the main event, and Rewind Teahouse is the British-inspired imported tea room which fits the bill.

One of the best things about Hanoi is the hidden cafés. Better yet is the surprise you get when you come across a café you’ve never seen before on a street you go down every day.

What started out as a couch conversation is now a completed family project. Owner Tam Nguyen collaborated with his sister Phuong and brother-in-law Bruce to come up with an establishment where they can share their love for quality coffee, and a cosy, fun space. The planning and execution took them about three months, but the interest in coffee and serving the people is rooted way back. Indeed, Vietcetera Café is what they have envisioned. “We were just joking about opening a café, but one thing led to another and here we are,” says Tam.

Occupying a corner of Annam Gourmet Market in Saigon Centre, Annam Café Gourmet combines quality coffee with simple yet tasty food. Opened last July, this compact space is an ideal resting stop for shoppers looking to recharge their batteries or have some lunch.

Not all beautiful things cry for attention; Ocafé is a rose in a thorn bush hidden on the second floor of an old colonial town house in the Old Quarter.

Found along the roadside, Awesome Coffee is a simple yet standout establishment among a strip of banks, real estate agencies and other businesses on District 7’s Nguyen Van Linh.

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