Visit “Racket” Cafe – The Oldest Cafe You Should Try In Saigon

It was quite interesting when I had the chance to visit the oldest coffee shop in Saigon, and what’s even more surprising is that what I’m about to share with you will make you even more curious about the long-standing coffee shop and the accompanying story. Don’t miss out on it, because you might get to experience something similar to me, visiting Ba Lu Racket Cafe – a famous vintage coffee shop in District 5.

Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City
The sign is inscribed in Chinese characters, translating to “Ba Lu Cafe”

A Few Details about “Ba Lu Racket Cafe” 

Hidden in the bustling Phung Hung market (District 5), the coffee shop has been in existence for 70 years by hand-roasting and grinding coffee, thanks to its unique “rarely seen” feature in the market at that time, creating the Ba Lu brand until today.

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Mr. Hùng was entrusted by his father to take over the Ba Lu Racket Cafe

Mr. Ba Lu is originally from Hainan (China) who came to Vietnam to start a career. According to Mr. Hung Co (son of Mr. Ba Lu), his father used to push a coffee cart around the market, but due to the reputation of delicious coffee, he decided to settle in one place. Why is it named Ba Lù? Because his name is Lu, but being the third son in the family, everyone used to call him brother Ba Lu like “Third Lu”, so when he opened the shop, that familiar name accompanied him and created the brand we know today.

Step Back in Time at Ba Lu Racket Cafe

Located in a bustling and lively market, this longstanding coffee shop is housed in an old architectural style building with a strong essence of the ancient Chinatown. When you come here, you will experience a cozy, simple, and very Saigon-like atmosphere, from the tables and chairs to the brewing utensils, all creating a feeling as if you were in Vietnam in the 90s.The special thing about using coffee here is that they don’t use a filter, but brew it entirely with a racket. As Mr. Hung shared, “To keep the coffee’s flavor from not changing, we use a special traditional method to bean racket. Thanks to that, the coffee retains its richness and aroma without becoming bitter”. 

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An old corner of the space in the Ba Lu Racket Cafe signifies that it has served many generations

Special point here, when you have the chance to sit, drink coffee and observe, you will easily notice, the customers here are very “special”. The guests who come to Ba Lu Racket Cafe are mainly Vietnamese of Chinese origin. What’s special is that when I arrived, while sitting and enjoying the observation, listening to the conversation of the locals who were also enjoying Ba Lu Racket Cafe like me. At first, because their conversation sounded like Vietnamese but not Vietnamese, when listening carefully, I realized that it was partly because they were communicating with each other in a very interesting language: a combination of Chinese and Vietnamese. The uncles and aunts are very friendly, sharing many stories about the formation of Ba Lu Racket Cafe for us to hear and the way they share made me think: “Has this unique coffee made the drinkers intoxicated, and forced them to express it by spreading it to those around them to enjoy together?”. The cafe space is just a few square meters, but it will make you feel very cozy, with a strong Southeast Asian vibe. You will hear the bustling sounds from the market scene outside, along with the old ancient buildings. This is truly a rare sight and experience to find in Saigon on your first visit.

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Create a unique and delicious coffee using a racket, for a special and aromatic experience

So, why don’t you explore this place, drink a cup of coffee with the locals, and enjoy the process of making a unique cup of coffee? It’s definitely worth trying some traditional coffee in Saigon here

Where is Ba Lu Racket Cafe? 

  • Address: 193 Phung Hung Street, Ward 14, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City 
  • Hours: 2AM – 5PM 
  • Price: From 25.000VND/cup  
Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City
An old tea pot, along with a nostalgic space, is waiting for you. How about coming for a cup of coffee instead?

About My Exciting Experience

To reach Ba Lu Racket Cafe, I had to go through 81 tribulations of getting lost. However, thanks to this detour, I was able to explore many alleys in Saigon by riding a bicycle instead of my motorbike, which allowed me more flexibility in adjusting my direction when I got lost. The interesting thing is that I accidentally stopped at a red light, and in front of me, I saw a sign with the name “Thuan Kieu”. It was a road that was both unfamiliar and familiar to me, and of course, it would be new to you because these are “mysterious stories” about the plaza passed down among the local people around District 5 when you mention the three words “Thuan Kieu Plaza”. If you are curious, then I suggest you learn about the history of this story beforehand. And if you are looking for a companion, then come with me – someone who will share and explore interesting places when you have the opportunity to stop in Saigon.

Ho Chi Minh City Cycling Tour In Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) – Vietnam

At Jackfruit Adventure, we organize Ho Chi Minh City Cycling Tour and Team Building Ho Chi Minh. With a deep knowledge of Saigon city and local connections, we believe we can give you an awesome bonding time together. Contact us today if you have any requests or questions to prepare a trip for your team to bond in Ho Chi Minh – Vietnam.

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