14 August, 2017
The SNAP Cafe
32 Trần Ngọc Diện, Thảo Điền, District 2, Hồ Chí Minh
Wifi password: none (open network)
I haven’t a clue why SNAP is capitalized, but it’s tucked back behind a line of high-end Thảo Điền apartments and hotels. When you arrive you’ll find a small ring of shops peddling everything from clothing to toys. At the far end of the walkway, housed beneath palm-and-bamboo rooftops, is the café. It appears to be all outdoors, and has quite a pleasant vibe. Several walls feature well-stocked bookcases, the seating situation runs from couches to benches, and upbeat music plays over the speakers.
This is an affluent part of town, and one where many foreigners live. As such, the staff speaks good English and there is more English language on the menu than Vietnamese. Speaking of menus, you’ll find a decent (though not comprehensive) selection of Viet and Western coffees, teas, milkshakes, juices, and smoothies, plus a wide-spread of alcoholic drinks. And you’ll get a full food menu as well, with burgers and Mexican dishes featuring prominently. Burrito snob that I am, I’m skeptical of Mexican around here, but it’s nice to have options. I can, however, vouch that their burgers are excellent.
I’ll also recommend that you try a hot cup of cà phê sữa, or coffee with milk, and ask them to go light on the milk. If the picture to the right looks like creamy hot chocolate, that’s because it’s not far off; the coffee is beautifully smooth and malty, and makes me wish for a snowy morning.
Take note, again, that this is an upscale neighborhood with fancy gated communities and valet parking lanes. The prices reflect this. My black coffee was 45,000đ (and the burgers were all on the order of 225,000đ). The coffee itself was definitely grade-A, but the price is not exactly what I’d consider sustainable for Saigon.
Verdict: Coffee is tasty, but you don’t have to pay this much for that sort of flavor. Come here if you’re dying for a good burger, rather than the coffee.