4 August, 2017
931 Hoàng Sa, District 3, Hồ Chí Minh
If you’ve been in Saigon long, you know that Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa streets, which follow the canal through town, are populated almost entirely by restaurants and coffee shops. Most are small things, open to the air. 33 Coffee is larger than most coffee shops on these streets, but still follows the pattern of being outdoors. It seems to be making an attempt to be one of the large fancy garden shops, but on a shoestring budget. As such, I’m somewhat torn on what to say about it.
They have lots of lovely plants and trees, plus a few murals on the walls. The tables and chairs, however, are tattered and seem a little haphazard, as does the semi-terraced design of the main (upper) floor. They do have an enclosed room in the back, but every time I’ve been there the door and windows have been wide open, so I don’t think they focus much on the “I want to stay cool” crowd. On the whole, the shop is not kept terribly clean, so it has something of a run-down vibe to it.
The menu is only Vietnamese style drinks, plus a whole bunch of sodas. Their coffee flavor does seem to wax and wane, but is usually pretty good. Note that, although the menu features English, the employees speak little or none. And if your Vietnamese pronunciation is as poor as mine, asking for “khổng đương” (no sugar) might not quite work. Prices are great, however – a black coffee costs a mere 16,000đ.
Verdict: This is another nearby shop which I’ve frequented for a while, and will continue to do so on occasion. I wouldn’t call it a great place, but it’s worth a visit.