Monday, May 23, 2016

Discover Vietnam's Subsidy Period via Five Cafes in Hanoi

Amid a new Hanoi bustling and flashy, sometimes people want to come to some serene and gentle corners, where preserve their memories of an unforgettable period – the Subsidy phase (Bao Cấp). 

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 Photo: Instagram @Congcaphe 

# Cộng

Cong café doesn’t have only one address, it has now developed into a brand chain of several dozens of various-sized shops located on many streets in Hanoi.

All Cộng cafes feature a space imbued with the old-styled quality, ingeniously recalling subconscious of customers with wooden chairs and benches, barbers’ chairs and sewing machine tables. These objects, according to many business people, are both worthless and… invaluable.

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Photo: Instagram @meonhan

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 Photo: Instagram @Congcaphe

To common people, painted wooden chairs and broken sewing machine tables are merely cast-off junk; but to creative ones, these items become highlights. 

# Bao Cấp (Subsidy)

If objectively commenting, Bao Cấp is the catchiest name, but the café doesn’t have many exceed differences compared to other same-styled coffee shops. However, each its small, safe and sound corner is enough to evoke quivering emotions about a bygone era.  

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Photo: Instagram @i__phuwowng 

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Photo: Instagram @qanhhhh

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 Photo: instagram @_le08

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 Photo: Instagram @jin.jhin

# Xoan

Every corner in the shop is a strange street like “Happy street”, “Waving street”… accompanying a set of crude wooden tables and chairs, pillows wrapped in flower-patterned or peacock-patterned blanket-fabric, black & white televisions, or legendary dial telephones.

Some people compare Xoan café as a clear voice among a hustle track, because there aren’t too much peaceful corners as such in this noisy city.

The space of Xoan is not spacious but open. It has both gardens, yards, and balconies, and is always soaked in music of composer Trịnh Công Sơn.

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 Photo: Instagram @_trada

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 Photo: instagram @manh_tringuyen

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 Ảnh: instagram @lanxphu

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 Photo: instagram @104bc 

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 Photo: instagram @104bc  

All corners of the café on photographs are very beautiful and peculiar, from iron window frames with sunlit flowers, grey walls full of paintings, to sets of small, old rattan chairs, making every time reaching Xoan is feeling like newly setting foot on father’s hometown in every summer.

Besides, some cats at Xoan will be graceful saboteurs, who may break your relaxing moments anytime. Cats in the café are fearless and familiar with human body odor so they are extremely friendly and lovely. 

# Xí Nghiệp (Factory)

Xi Nghiep was already old. It was old in both style and age, because it is one of the oldest subsidy-styled cafés in Hanoi.

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Photo: Instagram @nhacuacoffeeholic

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 Photo: Instagram @dingolong

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 Photo: Instagram @hnamle

The owner demonstrates the artistic character through subtle spatial arrangement, which is very suitable to the name “Xí Nghiệp” (factory). Reaching here, you will touch unpainted brick walls, old ironwood tables, typewriters, antique speakers, books and notebooks with yellowed paper.

The particular centerpiece of the shop is perhaps the ancient motorbike suspended right above the bar, making anyone getting to the café be full of admiration and amused.

# Cuối Ngõ (At the end of the Alley)

Precise like the name, it’s truly situated at the end of an alley! It’s small, rustic and simple like a part of an ancient house from a former village long time ago.

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 Ảnh: instagram @kevinisjustfine

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 Photo: Instagram @vuvancanh

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Photo: Instagram @ng_t_giang

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Photo: Instagram @klinnyt

All objects inside the shop are so reminiscent of space of Tokin (North Vietnam) in olden days, with rustic bamboo tables, lampshades made of Neohouzeaua (an Asian bamboo), battered green-painted wooden chairs, and oil paintings that being old can be felt by just looking them. Nevertheless, vases of flowers here are always fresh and new. This shows the careful attention of the owner. 

Music in the shop is mainly songs of Trịnh Công Sơn. Especially, the interior of the shop has a portrait of deceased musician Trịnh Công Sơn hung solemnly at the center position, where is also the stage for live music shows in every Thursday evening.

Via: K.H