As you walk in Cakes & Ale, you are hit by the 1950s colour palette and Jacques Brel playing over the speakers. Metal fan wind rustles the beaded stork curtain, and a blissed-out dog and cat clack along the tile floors.

If you’re after decent coffee, blizzard-strength air-conditioning and a trendy interior that looks like the set of a television dating show, The Café may be the perfect choice for you.

If you’re not too fussed about drink quality and you’re craving vibrant, comfortable spaces to break up the monotony of your weekly pilgrimage to Cong Ca Phe, there’s no going past Hoa 10 Gio.

As this is our “Favourite Things” issue, I thought that the quaint yet delightful Startup Café should go in here. I’ve been frequenting the Dinh Tien Hoang branch since it was “Startup Coffee”, and I have a strange yet intense attraction to it.

When people ask me where to go for baked desserts — commonly understood to mean cakes, slices, macaroons and general deliciousness — I usually rattle off the same list.

Amid a growing litany of modern coffee houses and fancy-schmancy artisan cafes, one of Vietnam’s first cafes is still going strong. Café Duy Tri, which originally opened on Mai Hac De in Hanoi's Hai Ba Trung District in 1936, continues to be one of the most popular coffee shops in the capital today.

One of the amazing things about Hanoi is that even after you’ve been living here for a couple of years and begin to feel like you know everything, someone can show you a hidden gem that’s been under your nose the entire time.

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