That’s the most basic coffee you’ll get: simple black hot coffee. In the winter especially in the north it will come with your coffee glass in a dish full of hot water. The coffee needs time to drip through this lovely filter and by standing in the coffee in already in the glass doesn’t get cold.
Please be aware, your coffee needs to sift through this filter, don’t drink it before or you’ll have missed most of it then. Once the water in the filter turned to coffee and you see nothing wet when you lift the lid of it, it is done. You put the lid upside down on the table so it becomes kind of a saucer for the filter and once you put the filter on it, you won’t mess up the table or even your clothes with coffee drips. I’ve seen everything from entire black coffee lagoons on the table as well as on the clothes…
If you need sugar just ask for it, sometimes you’ll get sugar syrup which works just as great! This coffee is what gets you going. In local places I got it really strong, it made my spoon almost stand in it. Sometimes there are even small teapots on the table, they most likely contain water, so you can water this black thickness down, but be sure to check whether it is water or tea in it.
Coffee is available the entire day and night, in HCMC places pop up on the street and you see locals sitting in them enjoying their work-is-done coffee while people watching. It seems to be like the typical Vietnamese thing to do, instead of going to the pub, go to a café.
Go to Viet Nam, sit with the locals, you won’t get better coffee in a tourist place or a coffeeshop chain you might know from home and seriously the water is boiled if you order it hot – no need to worry for side effects other than major sleeping problems 😉