Cafe Gac Trinh: the Trinh Cong Son House in Hue

Trinh Cong Son Hue

Ask anyone from Vietnam who Trinh Cong Son is and they’ll either recite you some of his lyrics or tell you about the significance of his music. Son’s compositions of around 600 songs span over 30 years of Vietnamese history. International press dubbed Trinh Cong Son the Bob Dylan of Vietnam. His blend of folk music, mostly referred to as ‘yellow music’, dealt with themes surrounding the human condition; love, loss of love, existentialism, the human race and the unknown fate of the Vietnamese people.


Cafe Nha: Fantastic Homemade Lunch in a Rustic Hue Cafe

Homemade lunch hue grit tourHow Authentic is Your Lunch?

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. Read more “Cafe Nha: Fantastic Homemade Lunch in a Rustic Hue Cafe”

Mi Op La 33: Best Vietnamese Breakfast Restaurant in Hue

Mi Op La 33: The ‘Full-English’ Vietnamese Breakfast!

best Vietnamese breakfast Hue Grit Tour
Birdseye view of the first floor during Tet Holiday.

Any visitor who likes a drink will find out that Vietnam has some of the cheapest beer in the world. Following that evening of small serendipity will be the second realization that tropical hangovers are brutal. Read more “Mi Op La 33: Best Vietnamese Breakfast Restaurant in Hue”

OO Cafe: Contemporary Art Cafe Hue

OO Art Cafe in Hue

Millennial Hue

2017 oversaw local establishments take inspiration from contemporary designers on the world’s stage. This is evident with the new entertainment complex Cask and nightclub Factory 075 in the Pham Ngu Lao area. Business owners know that eye-catching architecture and photogenic products are key to success in the social media age. Millennial Hue want to be competing with their peers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. They have the artistic integrity and the city is giving them the space to produce it.

art cafe hue grit tour

OO Cafe: Contemporary Art Cafe Hue

Khanh wanted to open a cafe that is modern, all-inclusive and has the facilities for art exhibitions. He employed Hue-based architect Phu Chi Kim Toan of Fu Atelier to make his vision a reality. The pair spent three months carefully designing every aspect of the cafe before opening in January 2018. Preparing and planning was time well-spent. The concept is delicately cosmopolitan and the trendy crowds the cafe attracts proves it is an early success.

Vietnamese Art Cafe Grit Tour

OO Cafe is situated in the Citadel and is only one street from the Royal Palace. Nguyen Trai street separates the cafe from a small lake. Coffee drinkers perched in the window often contemplate over the duality of still water and passing traffic. Open from 6am to 10pm, the building itself suits all hours. Bright colours bring vibrancy to the cafe while a transparent roof protects it’s customers from turbulent weather. Out the back lies a well-lit gravel garden with furniture suited for groups that want to enjoy the outdoors either in dusk or Hue’s intermittent sunshine.

The Menu

Coffee is served in both Vietnamese and international varieties. Ice-blends favor the sweet-toothed patron with matcha and caramel flavours for 32,000VND  a glass.  I personally recommend the blueberry smoothie (sinh to viet quat) for a yogurty splash of summer breeze on a hot day. Other soft drinks include fruit shakes, juices and red bull for good measure. Cappuccinos and short shots of caffeine are also available for the ‘no funny business’ consumer.

Khanh says that with his beverage choice, he likes to keep his coffee simple. An espresso with condensed milk is what he takes after breakfast to start his day.

00 art cafe Hue Grit Tour

The Owner and Hue Art

Khanh is a local photographer and artist who has held installations and exhibitions around Vietnam and South-East Asia. 2018 will be a busy year for the young artist with exhibitions in Saigon, Singapore and the Netherlands.  Khanh designed OO Cafe with the intention of the cafe doubling up as a gallery in the future, featuring works by local and international artists. OO Cafe already displays some of his own work.

Born and raised in Hue City, Khanh has an adoration for his hometown’s tranquility. He finds inspiration from his surroundings, whether that is the people he meets, the stories he hears or the places he visits around Hue. He says his work in video and photography demonstrates a personal relationship between time and memory. The strong iconography in his work depicts an intimacy with familiar Vietnamese environments, both urban and agricultural.

When asked about the future of the art scene in Hue, Khanh said;
‘We just passed an incredible generation of local-based artists but the lack of funding to support their work has meant a decline in exhibitions and new projects. The art scene is still evolving but not at the pace it used to. Nevertheless, there are still a great number of artists that live here, it just takes some work to find them.’

00 Art Cafe Hue Grit Tour

OO Cafe
99 Nguyen Trai

OO Cafe facebook page
Phan Dinh Khanh’s Website
Fu Atelier’s Facebook Page

Grit Tour Hue Vietnam

*Closed* 054 Cafe Hue: Community, Urban Art and Creativity

Cafe 054 is now closed and has been reopened by some former employees under the name of ‘Dope 75’. Although a lot has changed since its reopening, it still remains a place for youth to hang out and good music being played.

Vietnam is the second largest producer of coffee in the world. Unlike many other countries, Vietnam’s relationship with the caffeinated beverage has produced a cafe culture that is poetic in simplicity. Even with the introduction of Starbucks to Vietnam, locals have mostly kept to their favored soft-drink spots over the modernity of multinational conglomerates. Coffee is the People’s drink and you’ll rarely find anyone that doesn’t have a cafe to recommend. Coffee shops come in every variation imaginable. Owners can be artistic in their interior design and particular about the atmospheres they create. One of my favorite cafes of recent times is 054 Cafe Hue.