During the Saigon Street Art and Graffiti tour with my charming guide Dao, we stopped over to a coffee shop (Saigon is chock full of them) named Cong Caphe. It was located at the 3rd floor of a rather derelict-looking building with shabby stairs, which had been repurposed to host cafes, boutiques and other assorted shops.
Right off, i noticed this establishment was some sort of a 'theme' cafe, the motif being a Communist military aesthetic. The giveaway was the uniform worn by the staff; and somehow the word 'Cong' brings to mind 'Vietcong' (i.e. guerilla fighters during the war).
The interiors of the cafe seemed deliberately shabby chic. Well, after all, i suppose the Vietcong didn't live in luxurious surroundings [did they hide in the Cu Chi tunnels? Sorry, my history is not only spotty, it's actually non-existent] The flowery design of the seat cushions and tablecloth seemed to be a recurring sight.
Check out the plastic covers of the light bulbs. Aren't those originally meant to cover food items and shield them from mosquitoes? :D That's charming Dao in the photo, in case you ask.
On the second floor, there's a cozy area where one can actually spend long hours studying or simply reading. And look at all those books! All in Vietnamese though.
Check out this cute number they gave us for our order. Very...ummm, Communistic, eh?
Ah, here comes Comrade Nguyen to serve the drinks! :D
Dao ordered one of their specialites - Cot Cua Com Xanh (Coconut milk with green rice smoothie) at VND65,000, while i got the classic Ca Phe Sua Dac Saigon (Iced coffee with condensed milk) at VND35,000.
It was a hot, humid day, and we already had walked for more than an hour. So this pit stop was quite conducive for a long chat and simply watching the world go by.
Until it was time to do some more walking! I felt quite charmed with Cong Caphe - the theme is obviously unique, if not a bit absurd; but it wasn't by any means tacky. And hey, it works! The place was nearly full during our time there.
[Epilogue: The GUS has had one or two nightmares about the flowery tablecloth since his return from Saigon]