Two unique yet mouthwatering dishes in Saigon Special Force cafe

Coming to the coffee shop that used to be Saigon Special Force's working place, diners can try "quẩy" dipping in coffee or kimchi broken rice.

Saigon cafe, Saigon cafe Photo: VN Express

Quẩy (crispy fried dough stick) dipping in coffee, a familiar breakfast dish of many Saigonese decades ago, now appears in Do Phu, a coffee shop located at the end of Dang Dung street (District 1, HCMC).

Quẩy in this dish is not as light and fluffy as the usual ones, but more similar to the type of Youtiao that the Chinese used to pair with white porridge. Quẩy is dipped in a cup of black coffee. Before the brewing process, the bartender sweeps a little of French butter into the coffee filter. As the water drips down the cup, it brings the rich aroma of butter. Saigonese used to drink coffee this way.

Mr. Tran Vu Binh, the owner of the Do Phu coffee shop shared that every time he took a sip of coffee and a small bite of quẩy, the advertising voice "Anyone wants quẩy?" would return to his mind. Quẩy is associated with the busy livelihoods of Saigon workers and intellectuals who loved coffee. "I cherish this memory. Every time a new visitor comes to the shop, I suggest them to try quẩy dipping in coffee and tell them the history of the dish," he said.

Saigon cafe, Saigon cafe Photo: VN Express

For those who come to Do Phu for lunch, Korean broken rice definitely should be on your list, which includes ribs, eggs, and pork rolls, and kimchi. Diners should use chopsticks to squeeze the kimchi, then pour the kimchi sauce on the broken rice. It is said to be the eating style of the soldiers staying at the Korean engineering residence, formerly opposite the shop, according to Do Phu's owner.

Quẩy Dippin gin coffee costs VND 40,000 (USD 1,7), kimchi rice is VND 45,000 (USD 2), soft drinks have an average price of VND 35,000 (USD 1,5). If customers order additional dishes such as ribs, pork skin, kimchi, they will have to pay an additional VND 5,000-35,000 (USD 0,2-1,5). The shop is open from 7 am to 10 pm every day.

Saigon cafe, Saigon cafe Photo: VN Express

The coffee shop is located in an old house, built by Mr. Do Mien in the 1940s. At that time, on the outside part of the house, Mr. Do Mien and his wife sold broken rice to Korean soldiers, while the house's inside part is Saigon Special Force's secret working base. Under the management of Mr. Tran Van Lai, Saigon Special Force had this place to shelter, communicate, meet and receive documents and letters between leaders and cadres lying in the area during the war.

Later, Mr. Do Mien handed over the house management to Tran Van Lai's son, Mr. Tran Vu Binh. The shop's current name "Do Phu" is taken from Mr. Mien's family name, which "Do" and "Phu" means house. Therefore, Do Phu means "Do family's house".

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