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[Photos] Rita Cafe, a Lush Oasis Under Saigon Bridge

Before it was added to Google Maps a few months back, Cafe Rita was nothing more, it seemed, than a green smudge along the District 2 side of the Saigon Bridge.

This patch of open land, cover by an impressive canopy of aged trees, is one of the last holdouts overlooking Binh Thanh District.

Something of a Zen place – when the machines at Vinhomes Central Park across the river aren’t noisily pounding pylons into place – Rita’s clientele is comprised of an eclectic crew of enterprising fisherman, hand-holding couples, groups of sports bikers with identical motorbike models and, of course, the standard coffee-sipping, cigarette-smoking, middle-aged men.

Stay long enough and inevitably a parade of bắp xào, cá viên chiên and bánh giò carts will cross your path, making it a solid place to sit with a good book for a few hours.

You will, however, pay for the experience, as most menu items are about twice the typical price: it was a steep VND28,000 for a cà phê sữa đá. Still, totally worth it.

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