What is what I like most about Vietnam? Honestly, I used to have a love-hate relationship with Vietnam but the last time I was there changed everything. I left Vietnam hating it, January 2010 and never thought I will be back there again.
Until my dream of visiting Cambodia came to life January 2011. Strange hey? Same month I left it last year! I did not know that my dream to go Cambodia and visit Angkor Wat will happen, but it did. When I decided to travel around while waiting for my papers in Singapore to be settled, the first place came to mind was Cambodia and going there the cheapest is via bus from Saigon to Siem Reap. I flew from Manila to Saigon and I was supposed to stay only few hours since I arrived few minutes after midnight and the bus time to leave Saigon to Siem Reap was at 6am.
Not so unfortunately, I feel tired and asked for a room for few hours until 6am but I slept in and the bus left me!!! Yes, left by the bus so I stay one more night and met new friends. It was cool to be back and did not imagine how much I missed the place until that day, so I said, I’ll be back soon. Soon enough after 3 weeks, I came back to Saigon and decided to stay there for a month and of course, indulgence to coffee begun!
Coffee Lovers Heaven is Vietnam and that is really true. Why? Listen to a coffee lover (that’s me!), anywhere you are in Vietnam whether you are in the cities and provinces, REAL coffee are available for a very affordable price! An espresso like Vietnamese coffee can be found from the streets and any restaurants ranging from 4,000 VND ($.10 cents) and up, depending on where you want to get it from. Side street vendors at a non- touristy area will have 4000 VND for a cup of strong black coffee and 5000VND for coffee with condensed milk. Condensed milk is what they usually put in your coffee with milk order, both are served with their local coffee maker which makes their coffee a lot more interesting to experience.
From restaurants, coffee ranges from 10,000 VND ($1 USD) and above, and posh restaurants are about 30,000VND($1.50) and up. You can also buy coffee beans and they will grind it for you if you want to bring home some. The coffee beans are from 13000VND/kilo, although I saw a 3000 VND/kilo few blocks away from the tourist area.
There are ground coffee available from the supermarkets that are cheap but also great! Some are even offering a FREE Vietnamese coffee maker included in the package, they are even available in different flavors like hazelnut, and uhmm, I do not remember the other flavors because I’m more interested with the Hazelnut flavor one! I bought that pack and I made my coffee every time I want in my hostel.
I still go out to drink ‘Cafe Da’ (Iced Black Coffee) in the morning to hang out at the side street and get a street sandwich too, while watching the everyday local life in Saigon. I have one favorite street sandwich area I go to every time I am in the city, that’s my usual hang out place and that is also where I met good friends who happened to be patrons of that street cafe bakery. One of them is Leizel, a fellow Filipina, my new found buddy. Aside from coffee, Vietnam offers fresh fruits like Thailand, fresh fruit juices and shakes are everywhere.