I was walking back from the Obama/Bourdain Bun Cha place (verdict: solid family restaurant Bun Cha eg. like your local diner you’ll eat at a few times per month not the best Bun Cha in Hanoi. Was worth the fangirl experience for me) to my lodgings and discovered this place: Chang 1989
It seems like kind of akin to Cong Ca Phe and maybe ripping off the aesthetics, maybe a bit more upscale.
I really enjoyed the yogurt coffee I had there, and the overall good vibes. It’s off from the tourist and general madness that is the Old Quarter in a much more normal and also nicer residential neigborhood with clientele that reflected that. Definitely felt like a relief since I stayed near the “24h” street so my days often had too much close proximity to asshole-acting dirty Australian backpackers, weird hippie white people from the North America constantly wearing logo t-shirts and bandanas, and of course your random European vacationers as well.
So yes, it was kind of a nice relief to be in a more upscale location with cheaper than average coffee (~1 USD) at better quality compared to the busier part of town sitting with locals.
The yogurt in the coffee tasted fresh with the that right amount of subtle Asian yogurt sweet and tart mixed with Vietnamese coffee, which they brewed quite delicately rather than just intense dark roast. Considering I’ve been trying a new coffee shop a day everyday at this point in my time in Hanoi, it stood out.
What I admire about the brand new place, so new that kid had a nailgun putting up more of the nostalgic wood paneling, is that it had a lot more attention to detail and shine than a lot of places I’ve seen trying to replicate the same feel. Unlike a lot of places where nostalgia is faded and sometimes even unintentionally dreary because of that or looks too artificially hipster, this place pops with color, like a technicolor film coming to life, a youthful exuberance. It does the old world glamor of a time that probably didn’t exist right. I lingered longer than I normally would alone and took more pictures than I normally would – like I think I was being creepy.
The friendly young people running it are definitely step above the hipster hive and after months on the road, that’s appreciated. If you’re going to Obama/Bourdain fan-girl, stop by here after your Bun Cha.