Café Ba Lù, a remarkable Traditional Vietnamese Coffee shop.
A Cà phê sữa đá 70 years in the making, nestled in the heart of bustling district 5.
🕞07:00 – 19:30 (irregular) | 📍17 Đường D2, Phường 22, Bình Thạnh🔗
Tired of the espresso machine or your streamlined instant coffee for that daily caffeine hit? Why not, then, turn to history for your next cup of Vietnamese coffee.
Buried within District 5’s Phung Hung Market, Cafe Ba Lu has been brewing a distinct, traditional style of coffee in the same storefront for nearly 7 decades. Their coffee is first roasted in-house over charcoal and firewood before salt and butter are added. It’s then brewed in a method from a bygone era known as ‘racket brewing.’ This involves a using a filtering mechanism in the shape of a butterfly net placed over a pot, dutifully stirred before being steeped, a process older than even the mighty ‘phin’ filter. Rest assure, it’s well worth the extra care.
The result is an ultra-smooth, sweet, and slightly smoky version of the iconic Cà phê sữa đá (or take it hot, if that’s your thing). A few sips in and it’s no surprise why Ba Lu’s traditional style stands the test of time in a city of discerning taste where cafes are concerned. Though you may not usually need to venture more than a few steps to get your usual fix, all milk coffees are not created equal. In short, it warrants a trip across town in and of itself. It’s a labor of love, and if you stop by at the right time you’ll get an up close view of this nearly-forgotten art from start to finish.
Huddled around Ba Lu’s street side stools, you’re placed at the heart of a sea of stalls, multicolored apartment blocks stuck in time, and never-ending foot traffic. It’s an ideal spot to dodge the rain or kill a few hours before the neighborhood’s night-time food riches kick into full swing.