A Da Nang café panders to nostalgia for ‘tough times’

By Bao Ngoc   August 21, 2018 | 01:58 pm GMT+7

Here, customers can step away from modern bustle to a time when things were rationed and life was simple.

At the entrance itself, the Tiem nuoc bao cap (Subsidy café) presents a cozy, familial ambience and very simple décor. The details, however, are precise in reflecting a common scene dating back to the last century.

Some tables are arranged outside the café for customers.

Some tables are arranged outside the café for customers.

The porch outside the coffee house carries decorations celebrating the New Year. Painted on the wall is an old slogan welcoming the spring and new innovations. Yellow daisies are planted outside add brightness, but retains simplicity.

A few tables and chairs are arranged in the alley for customers to sit and chat at leisure, reflecting how life has changed from “those days.”

 “The café opened on March 29, 2018. I named it ‘bao cap’ since the surrounding residential area has been unchanged since the subsidy period, and it matches this setting,” said Vu, the café owner.

Household objects commonly used in the past in the subsidy era in Vietnam are part of the decor.

Household objects commonly used in the past in the subsidy era in Vietnam are part of the decor.

The subtitle to the cafe, “Vietnam Retro Coffee House,” sets the stage for artifacts of a bygone era to feel completely at home. Unlike a place ornated with vintage furniture, the café as a whole feels like a house from the past because nothing is out of place from that time, including the smallest objects.

On a table in the corner stands an old-fashioned electricity fan, some oil lamps, a conical hat; a bicycle with rusty handles and no lights or bells leans against the wall.

A Da Nang café panders to nostalgia for tough times  - 2

The enamel cups used in the café.

In another corner hangs new year wishes written in calligraphic style on red paper, a long-standing tradition in the country.

A corner of the café.

A corner of the café.

The café attracts people from various age groups, but for those who have lived during the subsidy era, it can be an emotional experience. “One time, two elderly people from the U.S visited our café, and cried a lot. Before moving abroad, they used to have a similar house with similar objects, but now the house was not around anymore,” said Vu.

The menu and notices are handwritten, just like the old time when printed documents were not widely used.

Menus and notices are all handwritten.

Menus and notices are all handwritten.

In keeping with the decor, drinks are reasonably priced. “The food and drinks here feel rustic, and the owner is very friendly,” said Ha, a customer.

“The décor is very realistic, just like the old times.”

Photos by Abi Tran

 
 
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