The moment Chuong Dang, the owner of Kujuz café, asked me in which of their locations would I like to meet him, I thought to myself, “Does it really matter?” After our meeting at Kujuz Centro I was immediately clear of one thing. Those truly beautiful and colourful wooden frames in each of his three cafes hide much more than what is already turning into a café empire.
During our meeting, Chuong made sure I understood his business concept — in particular, the doors. This eye-catching and easy to recognise design is based on reused doors and windows painted with relaxing and vibrant colours. They give shape to the space and work as translucent walls. They also introduce the concept of recycling to young Vietnamese — something Chuong hopes will be an inspiration. Even though Kujuz cafés’ frameworks might look alike, behind closed doors their concepts are quite different.
Located in 3A Station, Kujuz 3Son is a space conceived for creative minds in a small, self-contained area where warehouses have been converted into design shops, bazaars and art galleries. Thanks to its design, this cafe has become a favourite background for wedding shoots. It’s also a perfect spot for young people who are searching for somewhere cosy to hang out for a bit.
The concept at Kujuz Centro is quite different: drinks and food to go. Due to its central location, this café provides a handy and healthy option for office workers looking to order their lunch. Their food products are cooked fresh, every day.
Take the flan with coconut (VND35,000) which came with deep fried coconut tips. I was besotted. I loved this dish so much that the day after I ordered it direct to my house. I also tried the veggie sandwich with cheese (VND50,000) as well as the egg yolk and bacon baguette (VND40,000), a non-pretentious banh mi-like version of the western classic. Buttery, thanks to the egg yolk, it was also cheekily spicy thanks to the black pepper and bacon bits.
If the other two cafés are places to hang out, then the third space, Kujuz Tan Dinh has been designed to make you feel like you’re at home. Here, you are the person preparing your own drink, with the ingredients gathered from the pantry. In case this gets too much, the staff is always around to give you a hand. Two types of room make up the space; the one above the bar, which is the perfect place to relax over a book, and the second, a tiny room that acts more like a working café
On the Move
Chuong is constantly dreaming up new projects. He recently opened a new location, a warm girly café called Banh Beo, named after the rice cake from Hue. In a few weeks he will introduce a new restaurant to the Ho Chi Minh City dining scene that boasts authentic Vietnamese recipes.
But for now, it’s Kujuz that is really bringing in the customers. And rightly so. — Natalia Martinez
Kujuz Ba Son is at 3A Ton Duc Thang, Q1, HCMC; Kujuz Centro is at 35 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, HCMC and Kujuz Tan Dinh is at 5 Tran Quy Khoach, Q1, HCMC