Tibetans celebrated their New Year with the Losar Festival, as the first day of February of Vietnam’s
Lunar Year. The Tibetan Coffee Shop, located in 28/11A Ton That Tung Street, HCMC’s District 1,
celebrated the special day in raditional style. The coffee shop was festooned in Tibetan decorations and sold incense, purifying perfumes from natural herbs, handicrafts and rare seedlings from the foot of the Himalayas.
It was a chance to see the traditional rituals of the Himalayan people. They threw the herbs into the fire to pray to the Gods to clear away last year’s obstacles and wish for good fortune in the New Year. They also wore the good luck scarf, Kata, to wish for the best. Kathy Ngoc Lan, the owner of the Tibetan shop, told the Daily that all the rituals practiced at the café were authentic.
She said everyone received a powdered cake in which there was a rolled up fortune message about the year ahead. The coffee shop invited people into the Tibetan world with traditional dancing performances including vajrapani, yogini, and tara.
After the show, Tibetan food was served. Imported Tibetan tea and butter tea with yak butter were specialties. Lan said that Tibeatan foods have a heavy smell and can be difficult to eat. “We make it to suit the Vietnamese taste.”
Opened last September, Tibetan Coffee Shop’s owners are Lan and her husband who fell in love with Tibet and follow Vajrayana Buddhism, a Tibetan religion. Vajrayana is a complex and multifaceted system of Buddhist thought. Lan said that she had followed Vajrayana for six years and her husband 11 years.
The furniture is all Tibetan. The shop has three unique floors. The first floor houses a collection of the owners’ souvenirs and is decorated with colorful Tibetan items. It also has an altar.
The second is a quiet place to work or read books. This room is very Zen and has a mixture of Tibet and Bhutan decorations. The patterned cushions are made from rattan.
The third floor has a small music stage.
Lan is the owner of Dzambala Company, which owns Dzambala shop that sells Tibetan books and items, and two coffee shops called Tara Lounge. She said all the furniture of the coffee shop was produced by her company. By Tuong Vi in HCMC
The Tara dance
The first floor is full of interesting souvenirs from the owners’ travels in Tibet – Photos: Tuong Vi
Garlic gruel, a specialty of Tibetan people. The gruel is cooked with garlic and mushroom