A 100-year-old Tay home in the northern highlands’ Ha Giang Province is now a coffee shop and mostly intact.
Pho Co Cafe is in Dong Van District near an old market. This early 20th-century building is next to a hill.
According to the website of the Dong Van Karst Plateau World Geopark management, it is one of the few remaining structures in Dong Van’s old town.
Like other old houses in Dong Van, this one carries a blend of local and Chinese architecture.
It has two floors, the lower built of wood and the upper of bluestone and rammed earth. There is an inner courtyard designed in the architectural style of the Vuong family mansion in Ha Giang, also known as the Meo King mansion, an ancient mansion with the age of nearly 100 years. The house layout also represents Chinese architectural traits.
The walls are made of unburnt bricks.
The frame consists of trusses, columns and wooden railings, all carved with intricate images
The roof is made of yin-yang tiles, the traditional roofing material used in the northern border areas.
According to Ngo Xuan Hieu, the manager of the place, the house has been used as a café since 2010. It can seat hundreds of people. Its tables are set up to face the courtyard or the street.
The wooden tables and chairs are covered with brocade fabric. Yellow lights and quiet music are used to provide a pleasant ambience for guests.
On the second floor are tables from where guests can see the old town and people wandering around on its main street.
On busy days Pho Co gets up to 700 people. Friday and Saturday are often the busiest. It serves coffee, tea, and fruit juices.