Sip on coffee while looking stylish in traditional ao dai

By Tam Linh    January 24, 2020 | 09:04 pm GMT+7

Hoi An Mystery cafe in Saigon has gained popularity among locals and foreigners alike thanks to its no-cost ao dai renting service for customers.

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The place, tucked away in suburban Hoc Mon District, incarnates the ancient town Hoi An’s colonnaded houses with its tiled roofs, butter yellow paint and wooden shutters.

Its architecture and colorful plants make the coffee shop a unique hangout and highly Instagrammable backdrop. Customers could change into traditional Vietnamese attire, ao dai, for even more striking pictures. 

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Luong Ai Truc (in purple ao dai) is the owner and founder of the place. The Quang Nam Province native shared how the business blossomed from a desire to embrace and promote the distinctive beauty of Vietnamese culture and traditions.

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Ngan (left) and Nhung, two young women, were excited to take pictures in an ao dai just before Tet. They had heard of Hoi An Mystery but not about its free ao dai rental service.

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The cafe also has artisanal pottery products curated from local producers and displayed next to a traditional millstone used to make Quang-style vermicelli noodles, a Quang Nam Province specialty.

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"The incandescent gas mantle was once a priceless essential item for those living in coastal regions," Truc says.

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There is a collection of old appliances from the owner’s childhood like a black-and-white TV, kerosene lamp, iron flashlight, and ancient clothes iron.

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Customers can also savor Quang Nam treats like steamed shredded chicken with rice or dry Quang-style noodles with shrimp, pork and pickled vegetables. The rice has a distinct deep blue color from the Asian pigeonwing flowers planted in the backyard. A portion costs VND35,000-40,000 ($1.5-1.7).

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The cafe’s namesake Hoi An Mystery coffee is said to have a distinctive flavor. The beverage is based on a secret recipe and served in a ceramic cup and filter set with stylized crimson fish images. 

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The cafe is at 257 Dong Thanh 3 Street and has two levels. Open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day, it offers an option for locals and tourists to escape the city’s hustle and bustle and unwind.

 
 
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