Can you help open the Café VAR in the heart of Little Saigon, San Jose in 25 minutes or less?

Help! It’s almost opening time for Café VAR and the owner decided suddenly to retire. If you can get the store open on time for the first customers, you will become the next owner of the shop! Family friendly, suitable for children 7+.

The owner only left THIS NOTE for you at the back door.

  • Each room will have photos to inspect and clues to help you unlock the next room.
  • Each clue will be used once. You may have leftover clues from each room as you progress. 
  • Make note of those inventory items and keep track of them, as you may need them. 
  • If you forget, we’ll remind you that you still have them. Short hints will be available for you at the bottom, should you get stuck. Do not refresh and keep the tabs open for easiest access.t
  • To time your game, use this free stopwatch.
  • To set the mood, check out this soundtrack by Vietnamese diasporas artists: [to link later]



  • Background:  In 2018, the Vietnamese American Roundtable created our a pop-up escape room game called Café VAR to share more about Vietnamese American history in San Jose.  The game builds on our Little Saigon Tour and Scavenger Hunt that is part of our summer youth program SEEDS (Student Engagement and Education for Development and Success). As part of the summer curriculum, students explore Little Saigon in San Jose, learning about our immigration and civic history in San Jose. Students also explore the questions of whether they see themselves or their families reflected in their neighborhoods and what they want to see more of in their communities.
  • With the current health crisis, we will not be able to host our 2020 summer youth program but we are working hard to plan online options for you to learn more about the Vietnamese American refugee history and culture.  Check back soon for more information.
  • Where is Little Saigon, San Jose: San Jose has the largest Vietnamese population within a city outside of Vietnam itself, many of whom settled in the valley as refugees and immigrants after the Fall of Saigon in 1975.  Little Saigon is home for many Vietnamese Americans, and the neighborhood reflects both Vietnamese and modern American culture, with an abundance of authentic food and culture to explore.
  • For younger children: Check out this Vietnamese Culture Children’s Activity Book.