Café Creperie at 5 Han Thuyen Street is located close to some of Ho Chi Minh City’s historic landmarks and heritage buildings.
On one side is the Notre Dame Cathedral, and on the other, the Reunification Palace with its spacious lawns.
Right in front is a large park.
Han Thuyen is a one-way, and, uniquely for this part of Saigon, quiet, street. The park is occupied by dozens of vendors selling fruits, coconut water, and baked pancakes with dried shrimp, quail eggs, butter, ground pork, and spring onion.
On a clear day, the park is a favorite spot for young people and students, to sit under the giant trees, chatting with friends and eating foods they brought from home.
Café Creperie is situated in a large old French colonial villa with indoor and outdoor seating. I chose a table in a far corner from where I could see little brown birds flying up and down from the trees, picking at pieces of fried pancake on the ground.
“This café is a favorite place for journalists in Ho Chi Minh City,” a friend of mine said the other day.
From my table, I watched the traffic flow through several crossroads – Le Duan-Cong Xa Paris, Pasteur-Han Thuyen, Han Thuyen-Cong Xa Paris, Nam Ky Khoi Nghia-Han Thuyen. The whole area in fact looks like a chess board on which cars and motorbikes are dwarfed by large trees.
Saigon suddenly seemed a more romantic place as the blue summer sky peeked through the gaps in the café’s umbrellas.
Café Creperie is on the expensive side. Fresh fruit juices cost VND60,000. Yet it is usually packed.
As the name suggests, it offers a selection of French dishes, including seven French and Italian savory crepes such as Florentine (chicken, spinach, tomatoes, mozzarella, cream sauce- VND91,000), 3 mushroom (bits of bacon, mushrooms, cream sauce, VND87,000), crepe carbonara (crepe in rich bacon carbonara sauce, VND94,000), fresh salmon (salmon in tomato dill caper sauce, VND93,000).
There is also a selection of nine sweet crepes such as crepe and ice cream (VND79,000), La Bella (banana in hot chocolate and coconut milk, VND79,000), crepe au chocolate (filled with melted chocolate, VND75,000).
The café has Italian and some Vietnamese dishes in the breakfast menu likepho with beef (VND79,000), bun rieu ca thi la (fish noodle with tomato and dill soup, VND84,000), cha ca la vong (roasted turmeric fish and dill served with vermicelli, VND82,000), mien cua (cassava noodle with stirred crab meat, VND89,000).
The main courses include baked lamb in mustard salted herbs with mashed sweet potatoes and balsamic vinegar (VND293,000), lasagna bolognaise (VND167,000), beef tenderloin (beef with roasted potatoes over broken rice-VND382,000), the Italian burger (VND195,000).
For dessert too there are Italian and French delicacies such as cheesecakes (VND62,000), crème caramel (VND54,000), and tiramisu (VND74,000).