Visitors to Vietnam will tell you that local food is a divine exploration of the palate. Although flashpacking foodies travel with a golden bucketlist of dishes, it is easy to forget that no culinary experience can be more authentic than one in a home. Unless tourists stop in an intimate homestay or are invited to eat with a Vietnamese family, they may not have the opportunity to eat homemade food. Cafe Nha in Hue is changing this. In contrast to the fast-turnaround noodle shops and beer-centric restaurants, Cafe Nha have brought the household culinary experience back for lunch.
Every morning, one of the co-owners heads to the market around 7AM to collect the freshest produce available. On returning to the cafe, the owners finalize the set-lunch menu and post it online at 9AM. Cooking and preparation are finished before first orders are served at 11AM.
Co-owner Thuy originates from Tam Giang Village, a sparsely-populated lagoon 45 kilometres along Hue’s coast line. After 4 years away from home, Thuy would feel ‘chốn xưa’, a yearning for homelands, away from the city’s complicated urban lifestyles. In a society that places so much importance on the togetherness of family, it’s clear why people who relocate for work and study often suffer with homesickness.
Thuy wanted to open a unique coffee shop where customer comfort was key. After working in coffee shops for years, it was time for Thuy to leave her mark on the industry. With her friend Anh, who manages the kitchen, they worked on the idea of Cafe Nha; to take people home. Thuy bought the furniture and ornaments from Tam Giang, some even coming from her family home. The tiny courtyard that adjoins the restaurant’s rooms hosts a large mural romantically depicting rural life. Trinh Cong Son and Vietnamese country music whisper through the speakers. Everything about the cafe includes a strong maternal embrace, just like Momma’s cooking!
Cafe Nha is tucked down an alleyway, meaning that traffic is out of earshot from the busy nearby Dong Da Street. Customers are usually office workers and university students who don’t have time to go home but need somewhere to eat and relax. Cafe Nha provides them with a prompt, quality lunch at an affordable fee. Patrons return frequently because they find everything they need here for a cozy lunch break.
Cafe Nha opened in July 2017 and was the first of it’s kind in Hue. While imitations have appeared, no one has been able to beat it’s value for money without losing quality. It’s a frequent stop for foreigners that live in Hue who take friends and family there when they visit Hue. Although Cafe Nha doesn’t cater for specific requirements, people who like to try everything will enjoy the wholesome lunch on offer. They also do a cracking banana and peanut-butter smoothie.
If you’re thinking about going to Cafe Nha, consider calling Thuy (+84984667293) to arrange your booking. Serving time is limited and sometimes the restaurant is full.
Le Hong Phong
House No. 103, row B of Dong Da apartment,
Hue Grit Tour