Relaxed vibes make it easy to enjoy a drink at this hidden downtown cafe. By Michael Tatarski. Photos by Jonny Edbrooke.
It can be difficult sometimes to find a place for a quiet drink in Saigon. Many bars blast music or sporting events at top volume while punters shout at the table next to you. Certain cafes can be guilty of the same crime, especially those that favour K-pop videos. Thankfully there are a number of establishments, usually hidden away inside unassuming buildings, that provide the peace and quiet you sometimes need in this hyperactive city.
Bang Khuang, nestled upstairs in the building across the street from Scoozi, is one such escape. Head to the second floor past the edgy cat murals and enter an oasis of calm. Comfortable chairs and booths fill the softly-lit space, while low-key music drifts out of the discreet speakers. Piles of magazines, mostly in Vietnamese, fill a few tables in the middle of the room. You can still hear traffic outside but the volume is subdued and the view of the highrises along Ton Duc Thang is lovely.
The drinks menu at Bang Khuang covers all the bases, with coffee and tea ranging from VND 30,000 to VND 55,000, while fruit juices and smoothies generally cost VND 50,000. The selection of alcoholic drinks is compact but covers anything you would need for a relaxed evening. Heineken and Tiger go for VND 40,000, while classic cocktails such as the mojito, pina colada, Singapore Sling and gin and tonic will set you back a mere VND 70,000. These cocktails won’t win any awards for best in the city, but the prices are reasonable and the setting is wonderful.
If you happen to get peckish while enjoying your night, Bang Khuang has you covered with a delicious food menu of traditional Vietnamese dishes perfect for sharing. As with the drinks, the food menu is light on the wallet and dessert options include ice cream and Vietnamese specialities.
If you’re looking for a raucous night out then Bang Khuang is not for you but the affordable drinks, good food and mellow atmosphere make it a great place for a date or an intimate night with friends.