The activity on the streets of Vietnam’s cities is mind boggling. And this is not taking into account the interminable hoardes of motors scooters. It seems every door front and street corner is a business of some form. Many are small eateries that knock out pho (pronounced fur) – a noodle broth with either chicken or pork – for about a 1.50 Aussie a bowl. Most are a one woman production with a mobile cooker and scores of small plastic chairs and tables for the clientele. Vietnamese do not eat breakfast at home so the places will be as full as a tick till about 10am. At lunch these are replaced by the hot pot vendors or those grilling meat over hot coals. In Saigon there was a leaning towards seafood (cockles, snails, crustaceans) in the hot pots whereas Hanoi seems to favour the traditional meats – pork, chicken and beef.
Your correspondent has convinced the tins lids to try these once or twice but they as not as adventurous as I’d like them to be. I reckon the food would be pretty safe. Especially if you chose a well visited vendor as the food would be turned over pretty fast.
One easy sell for the kids was the large steamed pork buns that seem to appear after dark in old Hanoi. A dollar a pop and absolutely beautiful.
Today’s brewery was the Goldmalt Brauhaus on Tran Phu street in Hanoi. Coincidentally the Army Museum was just up the road so I was able to drop in and sample some orange whips with tin lids #2 and #3 on the way back to our hotel.
The entrance was easy to miss but once you popped your head inside there was no mistaking that this was a functioning brewery. The nasal assault from the brewing process was overwhelming but there is a certain attraction to sitting in amongst the vats while you consume the output. The venue itself is a bit confined and is stacked over three small floors. The ersatz beer hall impact is lost at this scale.
The beer themselves were excellent. The blond was closer to a wheat beer rather than a straight out lager. The dark was a standout. Had the makings of a dark IPA you’d get out of an Aussie or US brewer. Lots of flavour. That sprinkling of burnt toffee.
Just as end note I need to do a shout out to the correspondent at http://www.beervn.com/ for the excellent listings and write up of micro breweries in Vietnam. Many thanks. And, yes, I agree that Bia Hoi is watery and bland but it’s an experience that must be had. Not many beers can claim a unique social interaction that exists solely around its production and consumption.