The owner of the shop decorated about 5,000 items to recreate the old Saigon space, setting a record for the number of exhibits on display.
Huynh Minh Hiep’s old Saigon-style coffee shop has been operating for more than three years, covering an area of more than 1,000 square meters on Nguyen Van Troi Street (Phu Nhuan District). The space is tinged with nostalgic colors when most objects were once familiar to the Saigonese. These are wooden furniture, tile floors, billboards, home appliances, pictures … collected by the owner for more than 30 years.
In 2020, the shop will receive the record “The most number of exhibits reproducing artifacts of old Saigon (before 1975)” from VietWorld’s Vietnam Record Organization (VietWorld).
Most of the antiques in the shop date from the early 20th century to the 1970s, mainly items that stick to the life of the people of old Saigon. The furniture, doors, windows, wooden shelves … inside are over half a century old.
The shop placed tables designed from the frame of the Singer sewing machine, which was famous throughout the South for a while. The highlight is the 1920’s sewing machine, which still works well.
The classic Akai phonographs, fans, and popular Akai music players in the 1960s are still in use. Other items such as television, cassette, desk phone, antique camera … of many brands are displayed in the shop.
The wooden shelf for dishes, food … is usually placed in the corner of the kitchen of the Saigonese, placed at the entrance of the restaurant. Inside the cup-stacking cupboard made of ceramic Lai Thieu, Bien Hoa dates back to the 1960s.
A small corner in the glass cabinet displays many items that are mostly available in the Saigon family such as balm oil, soap, sewing thread, dominoes, Guigoz milk cans … Notably, the soap box Co Ba – a famous brand among Vietnamese in the early 20th century.
Barista decorated bottles of soft drinks, beer … before 1975; many bottles are still intact. According to the owner, these drinks are simple but difficult to collect.
There are many pictures, movie posters, music posters, calendars, signs … from the beginning of the 20th century … to help re-enact the rich spiritual life of the old Saigonese. There is also an original poster introducing the movie “The Ghost of the Hua Family”, one of the first Vietnamese horror films made by director Le Hoang Hoa in 1973.
Scattered in the shop, there are several motorcycles that were popular on the streets of Saigon half a century ago. The most unique is the 1936 Motobecane Pony motorcycle, which is still registered with the owner name, Ngo Dinh Thuc. According to the owner, this car was a gift from the French ambassador to Father Ngo Dinh Thuc, President Ngo Dinh Diem’s brother.
In addition to drinks, the restaurant also serves dishes that are very familiar to the Saigonese half a century ago such as sugar cane, crushed ice syrup, pickled intestines, worm cake, spirit cake …
The space outside the restaurant is airy, nostalgic. The restaurant operates from 7 to 22 am, has a spacious parking lot, welcomes about 200 guests per day. Follow vnexpress