Do you love ornamental fish? Do you wish to be closer to these majestic marine creatures but the murky pond water and hawk-eyed security guards always get in your way?
A unique café, named Amix Coffee, in HCMC’s Tan Binh District has just been the answer to this. Guests can totally relax seeing hundreds of fish swimming around their feet while enjoying a cup of coffee and surfing the web.
This is a business idea of the owner, Nguyen Duoc Hoa, who renovated his shop’s dining area into a pond with real fish in June last year with the aim of bringing another dimension to popular cafes where people entertain themselves by petting cats or dogs. It is similar to other koi cafés in Vietnam in most ways, except that the pond is indoor and you’re in the pond.
The 25-square-meter café attracts a large number of guests, serving 200-300 guests a day, mostly youngsters who are seeking new coffee experiences and love to dunk their feet into the cool water during hot summer.
Hoa purchased some 200 large ornamental carps in various colors and a few hundred smaller fish and released them into the pond. Each carp costs VND100,000-150,000 and weighs from 200 to 300 grams.
The water level inside the café is always kept 25 centimeters high and uses a triple filtration system and air pumps to keep the water crystal clear, changing a quarter of the water every 12 hours to maintain optimum cleanliness. Located on the second floor of a house, the floor and lower parts of the walls are covered by canvas to make them waterproof. Furniture legs are enveloped with cotton to minimize friction that could damage the tarp.
Before setting foot into the pond, customers are required to wipe their feet clean with provided rags and shelve their footwear. Then, they’ll have to wade across the pond to their table.
The bizarre café has been making rounds online for its controversial use of fish. Most netizens think that subjecting the poor fish to stinky feet is an abhorrent crime.
“I feel sorry for the fish when faced with funky patrons who walk around with their stinky feet. Sooner or later they’ll kick the bucket due to trauma,” one commentator wrote. “I’m sure that they don’t like living in such an environment. Boycott this immediately because this is animal abuse.”