22 August, 2017
Cà Phê Nhỏ (Little Coffee)
115/30 Lê Văn Sỹ, Phú Nhuận District, Hồ Chí Minh
Hours: 8:30am – 10:00pm
Wifi password: none (open network)
“Nhỏ” means “little” in Vietnamese, so you may find this place referenced as “Café Little” or “Café Small.” By whatever name, it is located on one of the railway alleys between Lê Văn Sỹ and Trường Sa streets. Despite its name, the shop is actually larger than most houses around here; it occupies the ground floor of two adjacent houses. You will find, however, that it is rather crowded – not by people, but rather by…junk. It’s stuffed to the brim with ancient electronics, wartime antiques, rusty bicycles, taxidermied animals, and a thousand other bits of randomness. The newest looking among them are a pair of original Nintendo Entertainment Systems in a cabinet (I’m not sure if they’re playable).
Unlike many of the places I visit, Nhỏ has no air conditioning. The chairs are mostly wooden and most of the tables high enough to type from are built on the foundations of antique sewing machines. They had a little old-timey Vietnamese music playing, and a few of the old TVs in the shop showing black-and-white pictures. Being situated right next to the railroad, you’ll get noisy trains going by every so often, but it’s only a minor annoyance.
The shop’s menu is printed on wooden boards, and features Vietnamese coffee, tea, juice, smoothies, and some chocolate drinks. It’s all printed in Vietnamese, but the shop owner does speak decent English. The plain coffee costs 30,000đ and is strong but bitter. I can’t say I was the greatest fan.
Verdict: It’s an interesting place to check out, but probably not one I’d return to.