Saturday, January 19, 2013

One Step Closer to Bangkok

For the past few months rumors of Starbucks' imminent arrival have swirled, with stories from major outlets like the BBC apparently confirming that the coffee behemoth was coming to Saigon. I've been hearing that Starbucks was on the way since moving here in 2010, so I didn't put much stock in the latest 'news'. Well, this time the rumors were true. Today I saw the first outlet going in next to the New World Hotel, on the traffic circle where Nguyen Trai and Cach Mang Tang 8 meet. I'm assuming this will be open before Tet, which falls on February 10 this year.
Sadly, Saigon is now another step closer to turning into Bangkok. In the time I've lived here, Subway, Baskin Robbins, and most recently Burger King (a new one of which seems to open daily) have arrived. KFC, Lotteria, and Pizza Hut keep expanding. It's only a matter of time before McDonalds and all the rest show up. The worrying thing about Starbucks is that every young Vietnamese person with some money is going to flock to it, since they are all so obsessed with anything from the West. I would bet my paycheck that the ca phe sua da made on the sidewalk by thousands of women around town tastes better than Starbucks coffee. Those women can still count on the loyalty of construction workers and other laborers who can't afford a $5 drink, but for how much longer? Starbucks is surely going to be a huge hit here, but you won't ever see me inside.

8 comments:

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    1. Thanks! By the way, are you someone I know? Asking because of your name.

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    2. I don't think we know each other. I did go to LSU and am currently living in Louisiana. Geaux Tigers!

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    3. Small world, most of my friends from back home went to LSU.

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  2. How does Vietnamese coffee taste like compare to starbucks or peets. Do they use different coffee bean?

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    1. I don't know what Peets is, and I've never had Starbucks coffee. Obviously people here use Vietnamese beans, Vietnam is the second-largest coffee exporter in the world but I have no idea what companies in the U.S. use.

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  3. Very well said. After living in Vietnam for a few years, I cannot understand why anyone would go to Starbucks for a coffee fix. I had to meet a client at Gloria Jeans one evening and missed my VND10k Caphe Sua Da buzz.
    btw, the bean used here is Robusta, which is what most US companies use for their basic coffee too. The Arabica is more expensive and is usually on menus as the more expensive options.

    Despite the current fascination for Starbucks, I am sure people will still keep going back to their local cafes. When international food chains entered the Indian market, there were people queuing up for meals, but once the novelty died out, the majority reverted to their old local haunts - keeping the new, more expensive ones as a once-in-a-while option.

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    1. Interesting. You may be right about the novelty wearing off, although KFC has been around here for a while and they are still regularly packed. I don't know how regularly a normal family eats their though.

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