Besides coffee, tea is another typical choice of locals when going away. Unlike vibrant cafes, milk tea shops often offer a different space for those who want a quiet and peaceful corner of the busy city life.
Here are some outstanding places in Hanoi where you can relax with a cup of tea and chat.
Hien Tra Truong Xuan – 13 Ngo Tat To, Dong Da district
For a long time, Hien Tra Truong Xuan has been a familiar venue for local tea drinkers, one of the city’s best-known tea houses for Vietnamese who are fond of tea ceremony in national style. Lying in a small street near the Temple of Literature – one of the tourist sites, it provides a pure tranquility in the house built in the style of an ancient rural architecture with the tiled roof, brick wall and a garden.
The tea house is divided into two spaces: one in the tearoom with warm light which is perfect for cold days, and the other, the garden under palms leave which is airy in the hot days.
The allure of the tea house is its diversified menu of teas collected from many regions of the country, which are processed and brewed by a traditional Vietnamese method. Particularly, the place is famous for its tea scented in a sophisticated way with natural flowers such as lotus, jasmine, daisy, and rose, served by friendly waiters in traditional dress.
Thuong Tra Quan – 301, Building 2 Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem district
Tucked away in an old apartment building in the city downtown, Thuong Tra Quan is the dream come true of Viet Bac, a young IT engineer who inherits the pleasure of drinking tea from his father and grandfather to nurture the passion to preserve the old tea plants. He went to different parts in the country to convince and partner with farmers to keep old tea trees, some hundreds of years old, since tea farmers wanted to replace them by the new ones with higher productivity.
It has been years of effort and Viet Bac has achieved what he deserves. His tea house becomes a popular spot for the best and rare tea varieties from Thai Nguyen and Son La, the tea kingdoms in the country, known as Bach Hac, Lac Son, Yet Te or Nganh Ngoc. Moreover, at Thuong Tra Quan, you can also see traditional tea making tools and watch the process of brewing a pot of tea. The space is also relaxing with green plants and a small pool with golden fish.
Tam Tra Quan – 51 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem district
Imbued with a sense of Buddhism, Tam Tra Quan is where you can totally calm your mind with a cup of tea. The spirit of Buddhism reflects from the brown color of the place’s interior decoration and wooden furniture, the typical color of Asian pagodas. Pictures of Buddist, calligraphy and lotus – the symbolic flower of Buddhism and the meditating Buddhist music also bring a sacred and peaceful atmosphere to the place. Moreover, the tea menu offers a variety of drinks named after core Buddhist values.
Taking one of them, the an lac (peace and contentment) tea, a cup of herbal or flower-mixed tea, thereby, you can be inspired differently for your day of escaping from the normal busy life to reach these serene place. The tea menu also includes vo uu (carefree), giac ngo (enlightenment), tinh tam (tranquility), tu bi (compassion) and so on. There is a selection of books and newspapers about Buddhism for those interested in studying more on the religion.
Tra Hoa Thao Moc – 28 Nguyen Hong, Ba Dinh district
Going to a cafe is a common local way of hanging out for having some drink and gathering with friends. But when they are in a mood for something “same same but different”, they usually go to Tra Hoa Quan. It provides not only a different kind of drink but also another social ambiance. Although the place is usually packed, it is very quiet, compared to the loud and busy cafes. It is because leaving your shoes and keeping silent is the unofficial rule here but everyone follows.
In the typical dim light and dark color of the decoration, people sit on the floor and “whisper” to their friends to not bother others. Here they can share “secrets” easily while enjoying a range of herbals and flower tea. There is also a selection of sweet cakes, peanut candy and dried fruit which is ideal to accompany the tea in the local way.
Tea Corner – 43, Alley 135, Doi Can, Ba Dinh district
The peculiarity of Tea Corner which distinguishes it from other tea houses is the tea cocktail, a unique combination of tea, wine and fruit juice. Other favorite teas are rose tea, daisy tea and Shan Tuyet tea, which is tea leaves harvested from a 500-year-old tree in the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai. With carved wooden furniture typical of a traditional tea room, it’s a peaceful spot to slowly sip on a hot cup. Cigars and shisha are also available, as are everything needed for making a great brew.
On weekends there are live shows of traditional Vietnamese music, jazz and blues. It’s also something of a haunt for Vietnamese artists and celebrities.
Ha Thanh Tra – 93 Giang Van Minh, Ba Dinh district
Different from other tea houses, which are usually quiet, Ha Thanh Tra is a much livelier affair. It’s become a popular gathering spot for young people thanks to its new and interesting mixed teas. Along with traditional black tea and classic tastes like jasmine, lotus, oloong (a traditional semi-oxidized Chinese tea), and ginseng, a diversified menu of new tea favored by the young generation is also on offer, such as milk tea with flavors like almond, coconut, chocolate, mint, and peanut, and tea mixed with fruit like peach, kumquat, apple, and pineapple.
What is more interesting, another attraction making the place well-known is its yummy rice soup, with rib or liver mixed with corn, chicken, pork or beef. Its dim sum is also delicious. The three-storey house has both a warm indoor space and an airy terrace on the roof.