It’s not often that the ‘World Building of the Year’ goes so unheralded in its own city. Yet that’s the situation of The Chapel — local firm a21 studio’s thusly-recognised café, facing the river in the eastern reaches of Binh Chanh.

Touting itself as Vietnam’s first speciality coffee bar, The Workshop takes Saigon’s favourite tipple to new heights, blending science, art and passion in pursuit of the ultimate brew.

Boasting an abundance of communal seating, funky decor and a full roster of regular live music performances, Yolo Café Lounge appears to be a venue that lives by its name. Located a stone’s throw from the popular watering hole Barbetta on Cao Ba Quat, this rollicking café-slash-bar has quickly earned a place in the hearts of Hanoi’s young (or young at heart) and trendy.

One of the things I love about Vietnam is that when it sometimes feels impossible to get things done, streets can literally change overnight.

Wedged deep in an alleyway off Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, between District 1 and Binh Thanh, lies a well-kept secret filled with antiques, stylish garments and delicious cuisine. Merci Boutique Café welcomes the wandering customer.

Tucked into a narrow storefront on Cong Quynh, it’s easy to miss Newdays Japanese Matcha & Coffee. There are no gaudy neon signs or coquettish hostesses prowling outside.

Like many of Hanoi’s concealed sanctuaries, blink and you’ll easily miss the turnoff for Ngo 210 as you busily scan the passing signs in between oncoming motorcycles. But as you head further away from the Mausoleum and hang a left off Doi Can, you will find one of Hanoi’s latest hidden treasures, café Xi Nghiep.

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