Tuesday 6 June 2023

Vietnam here I am

We get into Bangkok an hour late. But the transfer goes pretty smoothly. Thankfully. I’d been a little worried about that.

It's only a short hop to Hanoi. Though they do serve breakfast. My first of the trip. Rice, veg and meat. Along with an orange juice and a coffee. It’s a welcome distraction. And welcome calories.

All the dull formalities such as immigration and baggage retrieval are soon over. My bag popping out on the carousel almost immediately. Much to my relief. I’m always apprehensive about checking in bags across a transfer.

I pick up my booked taxi just outside the terminal. Soon I'm bouncing along towards the city. Apprehensive about just how misty it looks. Pretty humid, I’m guessing.

I'm pleasantly surprised my how many colonial buildings there still are. And how many mopeds compared to cars. Maybe 20 or 30 to one.

The street the hotel is on is too narrow for cars. We stop at the end of the street where there's someone from the hotel to greet us.

I'm on the sixth floor. With a great view of the houses opposite. Which all seem to be piled on top of each other. And where there's a rooster that keeps crowing. That'll be handy in the morning.

I have a WhatsApp chat with Alexei.

Alexei: "What is Hanoi like?"
"Really cool, from what I've seen of it. A surprising number of colonial buildings around my hotel."
Alexei: "Does it look like France?"
Alexei: "See any rice baguettes yet?"
“Seen a few bakeries."

I noticed on the way in that there's a beer pub, called New Gentry Beer House, just at the end of the street. Seems a rather bourgeois name for a communist country. I go there for a couple of beers. It would be impolite not to.

Labtory London 1817 Porter 7.1% ABV, 99K for 33 cl (4 euros)
I just had to try this I wasn’t expecting a Porter here in Vietnam. I wonder why they chose the year 1817? It’s a very significant one, after all. What with the invention of black malt that year, transforming Porter grists

Full of Portery goodness. A bit strong for an 1817 Porter. More like a Single Stout of the period, ABV-wise.

It’s a fairly small place. Then again, all the shops are tiny in this part of town. I’m surprised at how many weirdly-shaped old colonial buildings there are. All pretty narrow. Some disproportionately tall. Often not on quite the same alignment as the street.

Quite a few people are drinking Belgian beers. Which would be a bit weird for me.

I’m yawning like crazy. I suppose from that rather long journey. 20 hours from leaving home to getting to my hotel.

Lots of Canadian beer posters adorn the walls. For some reason. Though there is also an advert for Dalex beer engines.

It’s my first time in a communist country for years. Cuba must have been the last. And that was before the kids were born. Ah, happy days.

Time for another beer. 

Thom Reckless IPA, 8.6% ABV, 23 IBU, 99K for 33 cl (4 euros)
Not very bitter at all for an IPA. Is it supposed to be a sludge IPA? I’m not getting much in the way of hop character. Certainly not the citrusy USA stuff. Not sure what to make of it.

Another Thom beer to finish.

Thom Dante’s inferno, 12.7& ABV, 42,5 IBU, 99K for 33 cl (4 euros)
Billed as a Belgian Quadrupel. Definitely an area of my expertise. Not that bad. Bit of spicy yeast. Lots of yummy alcohol. A little sour.

Afterwards, I go a few doors down to a restaurant. As I’m being a lazy git. Where I get some pork thingy for 70K. And a beer for another 20K. It's not bad. The broth is maybe a little sweet. The meat is partly meatballs, partly chunks of pork. I can’t finish all the noodles.

I reacquaint myself with Ardmore back in the cool of my room. My old friend guides me down to slumberland.

New Gentry Beer House
7 P. Hàng Mành,
Hàng Gai,
Hoàn Kiếm,
Hà Nội.
Opens 17:00 – 23:00


Anonymous said...

Vietnam might be closer to 1945 to 1991 Yugoslavia.

Matt said...

I'm not sure Vietnam can still be described as a communist country now. Haven't they gone down the Chinese road of introducing a market economy while keeping the political regime in place?

Bribie G said...

Two questions:

Would you be able to do a report on the Bia Hoi that is reportedly served from a multitude of local backstreet breweries, or has that all been gentrified and rationalised?

If I go to Vietnam myself, as an old age pensioner, would I be able to escape having to sit on those tiny arse-probing little plastic stools? I'd need to engage a local manservant to help me on and off them.

Martyn Cornell said...

The maker of that 1817 porter knows their history - that is, of course, a picture of a malt roaster on the label

Ron Pattinson said...

Bribie G,

I forgot to look for Bia Hoi.

I'm a pensioner and I couldn't dodge the tiny seats.