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Little Saigon's Café Queen

With hot drinks and even hotter girls, Natalie Nguyen is trying to uncloak the area's most enduring mystery: Vietnamese coffee shops

While other coffee shops still cater largely toward Vietnamese immigrant men, Nguyen—who served those traditional patrons for so long—now eschews them. She doesn't let guests smoke indoors, and there's very rarely any hint of Vietnamese music. Only 40 percent of her customers are Vietnamese. Many are white, Middle Eastern or Latino. A plurality of her coffee girls, whom Nguyen picks herself, are Vietnamese, but there are also other Asian girls, white girls, Latinas and hapa girls.

"If you want to grow your business, you can't just deal with one clientele," Nguyen says. "The older Vietnamese crowd, they like to smoke. I worked so long in that environment that I couldn't deal with it anymore."

She revels in her self-appointed role as a madame of cà phê mát me, ensuring that her workers are treated well. While girls at other shops are shorted shifts or have their pay docked, at Café Lu, they have flexible schedules.

"If you want to build a nice clientele, you have to have nice girls," Nguyen says. "A lot of people, they come in here with the wrong idea.

"I don't want that kind of people."

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24 comments
Noe.
Noe.

If you look below the neck, you can forget you're in Little Saigon.

thaithai
thaithai

I  like  the  Girls  but  I  dont  like  the  smell  of those cigarettes  ...

neaato
neaato

story was okay, wish went a little deeper. not bad job by writer. only critique was natalie story seemed to start too late and ended too quickly. also ending is kinda meh quote about tourists 'didn't expect this' which is probably exactly what tourists expect, a viet hooters that sells coffee lol. what did they really 'expect'? lol. i find these things novelties, i've gone w/ friends, even family/cousins once in blue moon manly as joke. i really am surprised how crazy it got from bikini to also naked and i just keep thinking, that doesn't seem too sanitary lol. like if people really wanted to see nudity, just go to a strip club lol. viets are classy and sometimes if too little or 'body paint' makes it double as tacky. hooters is tacky but family tacky, if viet coffee shops want to upgrade, they should add food and basically be like a hooters, there's enough money for everyone. coffee i guess is good idea because you can come and go and chill but until they have food and family, it will always be like an older viet man club which is fine because that's like a nice retirement home like how chinese play majong on thursdays at some chinese cultural center. if anything an outlet for older asian men w/ nothing to do. maybe the story could have been a bit more about that. the woman stories seemed kinda meh. would be interesting to see how much they made too.

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

Very well-written feature by Mr. Charles Lam, who I'm sure felt like he got a kick in the head when he drew this assignment.  



Btw, Cafe M. Cutie is less smoky, but still smoky.....so I've heard 


JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

"...Euclid Street, the Champs-Élysées of this scene." 



LOL


dbo90275
dbo90275

I love these V girls, but they don't love me!  ;  )

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

Womens "Sexuality" is given all positive backing



from cougars to teachers who molest middle schoolers to 50 shades of grey


but anything for the males is seen as wrong trashy etc



f the left


and thank you to ALL THE FEMALES who like men and show it 

impacfunder
impacfunder

Totally opposite as what this "pay article" say cafe lu is dead boring & empty thanks to the waitresses with no services . Most of viet cafes in OC open at 7 am-11pm. Lu is open at 11 am & sometime closed around 10 pm because the place is empty. Kinda waste times.

TheRefriedMexican
TheRefriedMexican

These skanks have zero personality. I walked in with 3 buddies and these hoes acted like they didn't want to be bothered. At least at Hooters they pretend they're interested in what we have to say, take a compliment well and laugh along. Yeah I know, you go for the visuals, I get that. Still these Cafe Lu bitches need to learn to crack at least a fake smile. No doubt pretty chinitas but terrible demeanor. Hence the $2 tip on the $50+ tab.

RAPman
RAPman

@neaatoYou should familiarize yourself with the shift key, you know -- the one that allows you to make capital letters.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

@sweetliberty17761776 

Interesting comment considering some folks are still incredulous about the fact that women actually enjoy sex at all. And, no, I don't think it's ever ok for a teacher (male or female) to have a sexual relationship with a student...but cougars and the "50 Shades of Grey" crowd are consenting adults so that's a different animal, no?

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

@neaato @sweetliberty17761776 


mizzzunderstood your ?


please read my response to fish orrrrr


ok what the heck:


@FishWithoutBicycle @sweetliberty17761776  



If we/ I were talking about underage then we'd have a problem


So of course we're only talking about consenting 


so my statement stands as uncontested and correct as is



AS far as "enemies" of female enjoyment


who??



boyfriends ? girlfriends? husbands?


no, they would all enjoy females enjoying themselves



IF you are talking about some religious people then why would you do that


that has little to do with it 


except in a Cosmopolitan run world meant to act like women are victims when that is not even close to the truth

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

@FishWithoutBicycle @sweetliberty17761776 



If we/ I were talking about underage then we'd have a problem


So of course we're only talking about consenting 


so my statement stands as uncontested and correct as is



AS far as "enemies" of female enjoyment


who??



boyfriends ? girlfriends? husbands?


no, they would all enjoy females enjoying themselves



IF you are talking about some religious people then why would you do that


that has little to do with it 


except in a Cosmopolitan run world meant to act like women are victims when that is not even close to the truth

neaato
neaato

@CharlesLam@impacfundermy friends and cousins say its too packed at cafe lu since so popular and lots of mixed yellow fever crowd so they stay away. also they check on instagram and see how full it is so yea, guess you can check in real time proof or not lol

impacfunder
impacfunder

@ Charles lam, see for yrself, dude, have u check out cafe 168 yet? In case for yr lack of researches or just don't want to list new popular Cafes, cafe 168 harbor /.Westminster

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

@sweetliberty17761776@FishWithoutBicycle  

This is a complex issue...hard to sum up in a few sentences. I can only glean from my own personal experience as a woman...and it seems to me the vilification of female sexuality comes from many sources. Even now in the 21st century there are people who would consider a man who likes sex as "normal" and a woman who enjoys sex as a "nympho" or a "slut". There are still other people who cling to the ridiculous belief that no woman actually likes sex and that we all do it just to please our male partners...and, therefore, are only using our sexuality as a tool of manipulation...

neaato
neaato

@CharlesLam@impacfunder also y would anyone pay for story like this? lol they mentioned a lot of cafes not just one, if anything complaint i had was story on natalie at end seemed to late and kinda short. if she did 'pay' she got ripped off lolllll. kidding

 
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