Dress now dripping wet, she takes off her shoes and glances inside. It doesn’t take long to get a good look at the place. Thin and narrow, the whole café is probably the size of an apartment kitchen. Plastic linoleum squares cover the floor; long wooden tables and benches provide the furnishings and vine-covered wallpaper cover the walls. Overall it’s pretty basic.
Oh yeah, and then there are the animal cages.
Welcome to Tegu Café and Pet Club.
Lounging with Lizards
Located on Duong D1 in Binh Thanh, newly-opened Tegu joins the rank of pet cafés that are making their way around Ho Chi Minh City. Instead of your typical dog or cat joint — see Ailucat Café, 284C Nguyen Trong Tuyen, Phu Nhuan — Tegu is staking its claim to the hot non-household territory that Babo Café (9 Chung Cu A3, Duong Hoa Phuong, Phu Nhuan) simultaneously colonised: reptiles. Tegu’s animal den features both snakes and lizards, which can hang out with customers while they sit back and enjoy their coffee.
Compared to the other animal-centred coffee hubs in Ho Chi Minh City, Tegu is a bit basic. The extent of their kitchen equipment seems to be a blender, a kettle, a dishwashing rack and a sink, with one flat screen TV adorning the wall. Yet despite its simplicity, there’s something homey about the place. Between the café’s keyboard and guitar there’s always someone playing live music, and the bright lights from the reptile cages are comforting.
Or maybe it’s just the chilled back vibe emanating from the animals. A little over 10 reptiles are spread out over four cages, and customers are welcome to interact with them. The snakes and lizards can be taken out of their cages for cuddles, hugs and of course photo ops, and they aren’t the only animals in house. Make sure to spend some time with Tegu’s adorable little pug puppy, who runs around constantly between tables and chairs. Be warned: he likes to nibble.
And then there’s the coffee. Regular black Vietnamese coffee costs only VND14,000 (VND16,000 with condensed milk) while other drinks like sodas, teas and smoothies range from VND14,000 to VND24,000.
Is this a place to get your regular daily fix? Definitely not. But if you’re looking to take a break from your daily routine, head over to Tegu and lay back with the lizards. — Margaret Smith
Tegu Café is at 125 Duong D1, Binh Thanh, and on facebook.com/tegu.coffee