Updated  
January, 10 2014 09:52:00

Cafe culture at threat?

Viet Nam has a deep-rooted coffee culture dating back to French colonial times. Traditional coffee in Viet Nam is generally strong, dark coffee with thick sweetened condensed milk that can be found in every street cafe, where people enjoy even hours for their chat.

Highland Coffee was the first chain to open back in 2002, and more local players have entered the market since then. Starbucks opened its third store in HCM City in October 2013 and is planning to launch in Ha Noi later this year.

A series of coffee shops have sprung up in Ha Noi and HCM City that serve the more Western style of coffee such as Americano, expresso and latte, with comfortable seats and wifi to attract teenagers and young workers.

Many people feel this new wave of Western-style coffee shops could gradually take over the coffee culture in Viet Nam and detract from the attraction of the country's cities.

What are your thoughts on this? When you first came to Viet Nam, did you try out the Vietnamese style of coffee? Do you think that losing this coffee culture would make Vietnamese cities become less attractive?

Please reply by email to: opinion@vnsmail.com, or by fax to (84-4) 3 933 2311. Letters can be sent to The Editor, Viet Nam News, 79 ly Thuong Kiet Street, Ha Noi. Replies to next week's questions must be received by Thursday morning, January 16, 2014. — VNS

COMMENTS
Jane Dargaville - janedargaville@hotmail.com   Jane Dargaville
February, 12 2014 08:47:38
I think it would be really sad if Vietnam were to replace the cafe culture that emerged from the French colonial period with American-style franchises, which don't allow for any individual style. Western tourists want to experience an authentically local experience.
Ron Broderick - Ron-barb@hotmail.com   Ron Broderick
February, 06 2014 17:50:22
Vietnam needs to preserve all aspects of their culture and history and this includes the coffee shops. Once your culture has been over run by western influences you can never retrieve it. Limit the coffee shop licenses is a good start but a bigger threat is the large foreign department store eg ( Tesco, Big C ) they just slaughter small business and employment with the profits going off shore.
Brett Palser - brett.palser@gmail.com   Brett Palser
February, 06 2014 16:25:01
My work day morning ritual is to grab a Banh Mi and Ca phe sua da and sit about 9 inches from the ground on small plastic seat that i wait to see if it will collapse under my bulk, to date no mishaps, and I wouldn't give it up for the world. I love watching life go by before heading to the office. The Cafe's have their place and I enjoy a hot latte from time to time and am sure that the WiFi is tempting for some, I love the couples that sit opposite each other for the longest time with their heads stuck in the laptops and not talk, or perhaps they are messaging each other rather than talk, but I would like to think that there is room for both and that these big boys don't shut down the local's because if it does then I think it would be a certain charm lost.
Herby Neubacher - herbyneubacher@yahoo.com   Herby Neubacher
February, 05 2014 08:34:15
I hope they all will get out of business these Starbucks raising in Vietnam! Save the Cafe Sua (Da)! Vietnam has by far the best Coffee Tradition I know. I drank no more Coffee in my home country Germany )now it is Vietnam) as the brew was so bad. I only drank Tea. Until I came to this wonderful Country with its great Coffee Culture. In front of my Apartment building I enjoy it every day - handmade by my Coffee Love Le in Nha Trang. Nothing tastes better! So I would say - stop all this Western Style brew come to Vietnam. Enjoy your native Coffee Shop.
Alan N Yeater - alanayskydrag@aol.com   Alan N Yeater
January, 31 2014 11:32:15
Please do everything you can to preserve your culture, including the Vietnamese coffee shops. Here in the U.S., our large towns and cities have been ruined by fast food places, and I include Starbucks among them. These towns and cities have lost their culture because they all now have many of the same restaurants, etc., that belong to large national restaurant chains.
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