Situated in Quang Ngai city, the ancient village in Nghia Lo ward has come to be known not so much as an ancient village but as a village of garden cafes.
Most local people know about and feel proud of their ancient village’s numerous cafes located inside lush gardens and they are nurturing the ambition of developing a brand for their village.
Showing registration documents and the brand ownership certificate, Phan Tam, the owner of the Tue Mai Vien café said: “I submitted applications for brand registration in 2004 and nearly two years later I got the brand ownership certificate”.
Phan Tam is the first man in the village who registered brand for his café. According to him, Tue Mai Vien means the garden (Vien) of yellow apricot (Mai) and cycad (Tue). This name is very suitable to his garden cafe, where has several 300-year-old cycads and many big yellow apricot.
There are many other similar garden cafes in the ancient village, though. And perhaps the first one to appear was Ta Xuan Hoang’s Phuong Cat café. First opened in mid 1994 in the middle of poetic greenness, Phuong Cat became a phenomenon in Quang Ngai, attracting a great number of visitors.
Phuong Cat woke up the formerly quiet ancient village. Realising that they were in possession of very valuable properties, owners of other gardens followed in Mr. Hoang’s footsteps and opened one café after another, giving the ancient village a new name: the village of cafes.
And making that name famous is the garden café owners’ most fervent wish now. “I want to help turn this café village into an inevitable destination for visitors when they come to Quang Ngai,” said Mai Thien Tue’s owner, Phan Tam.
After Tue Mai Vien was recognised as a monopoly brand, a person in Da Nang City opened a café of the same name. Mr. Tam, thus, filled a lawsuit against the man in Da Nang.
“We have to help ourselves,” he said. The ancient village has a long history. The Tue Mai Vien garden, for instance, is at present under the ownership of Pham Dang Truc, a descendant of Pham Dang Hung, the maternal grandfather of Nguyen King Tu Duc.
And another historical testimonial is the two cycad trees themselves, each of which is from 6 to 7 m in height. 85-year-old Ta U, who was born and grew up in the village, said, “In my lifetime, I have travelled widely but I have never seen any cycad as old or high as these.”
Besides these two cycad “grandpas”, there are many other trees hundreds of years of age. And so the first thing that catches visitors’ eyes when they enter the ancient village is green trees soaring into the sky.
And now that many villagers want people to remember their village for both its green trees and its original cafes, there is much to be done since the ancient village is yet to have a firm standing in the café community in Quang Ngai, where coffee can be said to be “flowing” in every hamlet and street.
Sipping a cup of coffee, local culture and history expert Cao Chu said, “Visitors will soon realise that when they come here, they enjoy not only coffee but also the shadow of history.”
There is a major difficulty, though. According to Mr. Tam,
local authorities aren’t very interested in pitching in. But that
doesn’t discourage him. He is now thinking about mobilising villagers
and those interested to help develop a common brand name for the
|Cafes make brand for an ancient village|