Vietnam, is a Coffee shop. That is one of the stereotype of this country. I do not want to generalize, but this saying is not entirely wrong. Hanoi for example, it is very easy to find a coffee shop. Although I am not a coffee enthusiast, I have to admit that the coffee in Vietnam is really great. Enjoying coffee in the busy streets of Hanoi is a very impactful experience.
Amongst di coffee shops in Hanoi, the most popular one is Highland Coffee. My friend said, that Highland Coffee is popular in Hanoi just like how Starbucks is popular in the world. Highland Coffee was created by a American-Vietnamese, David Thai, in the year 1998. David Thai himself admitted that the idea of Highland came from Starbucks. Highland Coffee is very popular among the Vietnamese people until the year 2009, only ten years after it was built, the franchise has opened 80 branches spread across the province from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Vũng Tàu, and Đồng Nai. I will not explain too much about the matter, because this is not an advertisement.
When I was visiting one of the branches of Highland Coffee, located near the West Lake, or Ho Tay Hanoi, I also recorded the soundscape there. It was in the afternoon of February 4th 2019, right before the commemoration of Tet, Chinese New Year. This coffee shop that was once a boat is crowded with local families upon the Chinese New Year. The lively atmosphere can be felt clearly. This type of atmosphere is also what I call a Vietnam atmosphere.
In a coffee shop, the conversation, laughter, and the screams of children all mix together like a latte. In addition, from my experience living in Vietnam, people here do not hold back their voices when they talk. We can hear it clearly in the recording. In my opinion, this habit is very different from the people of Java who would talk in a low voice, and is more similar to my friends back in Medan, Sumatra. An afternoon at Highland Coffee in Hanoi is a very crowded afternoon. This noise also resonates in the street in this city.