61 Bát Sứ – Yin to the aircon Yang

After large plate of phở xào – noodle stirfry – the trance is starting to start to kick in as blood rushes to my stomach and caffeine floods my brain. The rhythm of passing motorbikes, the quiet birdsong from across the street, the rhythmic rising and falling of TV conversation.

61 Bát Sứ is a no frills street operation – you can probably not get any more opposite from Align 3D, around the corner. It is on a shady corner at the end of the tree lined street, producing an effect not all that different from the expensive bamboo courtyard of its counterpart.

There is something about the caffeine trance that encourages people watching – whether the conical hat clad fruit vendors haggling with customers around the corner, or the uber-clean “True Milk” franchise store front operator across the street, or the silent solitary man sipping his đên next to me, I am filled with a sudden desire to know everyone’s stories.

Maybe it is just the coffee or perhaps the accompanying mild dehydration headache, but I feel a kind of zen state that Align perhaps was trying to bring on, but that can only really be achieved by close contact with the Vietnamese street, rather than at a safe and A/C-enclosed distance.


PS – I am indebted for the inspiration for this photo to fellow Hanoi blogger Steve Jackson – mine isn’t as good as his, but shares the same lucky phone camera shot aesthetic.



Filed under café reviews

5 responses to “61 Bát Sứ – Yin to the aircon Yang

  1. Have a recommendation for you. If you’re in the Old Quarter, head for the intersection where Dinh Liet turns into Ta Hien. A couple of metres up Ta Hien, on the right hand side if walking from Dinh Liet, there’s a great “cafe”. Well, not so much cafe as hole in the wall that serves coffee to the crowds (always busy) sitting on the plastic stools outside. Nice coffee, cheap, cool atmosphere. And try the “chua leo ế” (I have no idea if that last word is right, but it sounds like “eh?”). Some kind of seed, yoghurt, and passionfruit juice. Delicious. Only 15000VND$.

  2. ooh… sounds yummy! Chanh leo is one of my favorites – maybe it’s just sua chua with chanh leo?

  3. Yeah, that’s it, but those “eh?” seeds are also added. I tried to get a friend to explain it to me and he seemed to think they were “vanilla” seeds which I didn’t quite grasp. They’re definitely not vanilla pods.

  4. Ok, I think I’ve worked it out. They’re “é” seeds, as in “hạt é”, as in soaked basil seeds. http://vi.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%E1%BA%A1t_%C3%A9

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