Fika finally gives us a chance to talk about Lo Duc, one of Hanoi’s most underrated streets. The cafe’s pretty nice, too.
It is too easy to forget that Lo Duc is one of Hanoi’s most fascinating streets. A little too far to be walking distance from the Old Quarter and just on the periphery of the French Quarter, this long street of over a kilometer is flanked by hundreds, if not thousands of magnificent trees. Lo Duc was once nicknamed phố chim (bird street) or, more majestically, vương quốc cò lả (the kingdom of stalks). But it may not have been as romantic as it sounds, as the birds would regularly paint the street white with copious amounts of shit, and well-prepared locals would don a raincoat to protect themselves from this undesirable discharge.
The Hanoi traffic and pollution has long pushed the birds away, but the soaring trees still stand tall as they proudly shelter countless colonial structures. Fika doesn’t actually occupy one of these lovely buildings, but it has a beautiful balcony and roof terrace from which you can enjoy the decadence of the street. It’s a nice, simple, elegantly designed place, with whitewashed walls and carefully selected decorative items to liven things up. The middle floor is boring, but the compartments are quiet and make good working spots for the day. The ground floor and roof-top terrace have more personality, so you’ll probably want to settle in one of these two places to enjoy your drink and devour a cake. Nighttime is the best time.
Address: 50 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi