A Travellerspoint blog

Beer Report: DaiViet Dark Lager

A bit of taste, a bit of humour

semi-overcast 19 °C
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For Nerdia's workmates, here's a laydrinker's very brief review of a local beer: DaiViet 'Super Deluxe Quality Dark Lager Beer'. (5.9%, brewed and canned in Vietnam by Senprodimex.)
Surprisingly dark (almost ruby?) and flavoursome for an Asian tipple, which Nerdia usually finds, to misquote Monty Python, to be generally like making love in a canoe. Hardly up to Degrees Brewery standards, though (how's that for a free plug, Jon?).
I did like the blurb on the can, mind you, and verbatim I shall quote it:
"The only beer in Vietnam produced without any addvied, under the German quality Law of 1516
Brewed only with Barley Maft, finest Aromatic Maps Beer Yeast and pure water from our own avlls"
Clearly not labelled under the Australian Pedants' Grammar Laws of 2012, then.

Posted by NarLin 09:49 Archived in Vietnam Tagged beer Comments (0)

Finns and Fine Dining

Last day in Hue

semi-overcast 19 °C
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Our last full day in Hue was fairly relaxed. Late breakfast at the Little Italy Cafe/DMZ Bar once more, where we were mistaken for Scandinavians by a friendly Finnish bloke. We're all escaping extreme temperatures back home: high 30s for us, minus 40 for him.
After a brief wander around the same shopping district we crossed the river to explore, skirting the edges of the Citadel and Dong Ba Markets. Found a few interesting (and far quieter) back streets plus a nice park facing the river.
Chillaxed in the hotel foyer for a while with a good book (and a lousy book - sorry, book club folks, Nerdia is not enjoying Eucalyptus!) before ambling across town again to try an ice cream at a trendy-looking cafe on the main strip. We think one scoop was avocado and another was durian... not sure. Nerdia's "hot milk with mint and cacao" wasn't the best, and Plane Boy's not enamoured with the vanilla tea served to all customers upon arrival at all cafes here, but what the hey.
Since meals are so cheap here, we splashed out a bit for our final Hue dinner and ate in the Skybar of the Gerbera Hotel across town. Impressive views of the river and city, plus quite tasty pizzas, a delectable chocolate mousse, a rather odd mango flambe and drinks - the most expensive meal so far at US$30.
We also saw our first patch of blue sky and first glimpse of the stars.
That's it for Hue, roll on Hanoi!

Posted by NarLin 09:08 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Shopping, Shopping and More Shopping

...plus more good food

overcast 18 °C
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Leisurely start yesterday, with a late breakfast at a streetside cafe instead of in the hotel. Returned to Little Italy Restaurant/DMZ Bar (nowhere near either location, by the way) for a delicious petit dejeuner: pork sandwiches for Plane Boy and an enormous ham, cheese and egg crepe for Nerdia. No need for lunch. The restaurant walls are covered in signatures from visitors; forgot to mention that we added ours on our first visit.
The rest of the day was spent wandering around the shopping district at the far end of the main road. Found a few 'tourist' streets, full of small bars with streetside gardens and signs such as "open from 5pm until the last one passes out". Lots of little clothing shops selling silks, shoes and leather goods - after a few false starts Nerdia eventually bought some funny T shirts and a very dressy silk jacket.
Rested in a riverside "book cafe" for a while, then more window shopping until it was time for afternoon tea, served in the Panorama Bar at the impressive 110 year old Hotel Saigon Morin. (Is there a Hotel Hue Morin in Saigon?) Not quite high tea in the Carcosi Seri Negara in KL, but very nice - and great for watching the passing parade on both street and river.
Back to the shopping district to pick up Nerdia's jacket (now with better buttons) before dinner at a riverside vegetarian restaurant. Decided on one of thier set menus - it was huge! Marinated eggplant, soft fried rice, tasty and interesting banana flower salad, yummy spiced tofu... delicious!
Finally we wandered along the small strip of night markets at the river wall; not much chop by market standards but a nice relaxing stroll.
Our last full day in Hue beckons, probably off to revisit Dong Ba Market across the Perfume River.
We're now uploading photos on this blog each day, check 'em out!

Posted by NarLin 08:39 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Back to Hue, or not back to Hue

...that turned out to be the question

rain 20 °C
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Mr Vu from Stop & Go Travel picked us up before 9am today to drive to Hoi An and back... or so we thought. Leaden skies and patchy light rain all day was no problem, comfy car and swift if silent driver. City soon gave way to rice paddies, mountains swathed in cloud and river then seaside shores.
Then came Hai Van Pass: 7-10% gradient hairpin bends up and down the forest mountainsides, covered in cloud and chock full of coaches, trucks and hordes of scooters. Warning signs exclaiming "go slow" or showing pictograms of cars falling over cliffs mean nothing: normal Vietnamese road rules apply, beep and overtake (or vice versa as you see fit). Stop for a photo on the crest of a blind corner? Not for us, thanks all the same, but must have seemed like a good idea to many a motorcyclist seen teetering on the roadside fence while a mate points the camera. Stunning views from inside the relative safety of the car, though, and we emerged unscathed.
Da Nang was an interesting mix of old buildings, open shoreline and huge new resorts, many still under construction.
Hoi An was a charming if tourist-oriented town, full of open streets strung with colourful silk lanterns and wall-to-wall clothing shops. It was also where we discovered that our 'tour' was scheduled to end there and our driver had no intention of returning us to Hue. After a bit of discussion he arranged a one hour cyclo tour for us, which was very good: saw some Chinese and Japanese landmarks plus a silk workshop with amazingly fine embroidery. After a bit more discussion with his boss over the 'phone, problem was solved and we were driven back to Hue - this time via a tunnel built by a Vietnam-Japan collaboration.
Straight back out of the hotel for dinner, back at 'the grill place' around the corner. Armed with notes taken from another restaurant's bilingual menu, we confidently ordered the same grilled meats as last time... and got stirfried vegetables. Still delicious! Then Plane Boy had a brainwave and retrieved the receipt from our previous visit, whereupon we ordered what we'd meant to. Our waitress also 'recommended' (insisted?) we order chips as well. Sure enough, the delectable grilled pork and beef dishes appeared once more, as scrumptious as last time. Festival beer was on special so we had a few cans of that, too... probably (hard to tell, really, as it was pretty much like making love in a canoe).
That's it for today!

Posted by NarLin 19:17 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

From hats to bats

Nerdia likes $2 cocktails

overcast 20 °C
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Nerdia slept in this morning, but we did eventually set out for Dong Ba Markets, near the old Citadel. Fresh food and all sorts downstairs, with wider walkways than other markets we've seen; upstairs was a much more crowded clothing section, rather like the Ho Chi Minh City markets we visited in 2008. One particular vendor followed us throughout the whole place, so Plane Boy humoured her by eventually heading to her stall. After a protracted bargaining session with Plane Boy we did end up buying quite a few items. True, we did see some of them for sale cheaper outside afterwards, but what the hey. :) Plane Boy even bought a hat!
Checked out the mall next door, then a leisurely lunch at the DMZ Bar/Little Italy Restaurant on Le Loi Street. Yummo deep fried spring rolls, thin pork strips stir fried with sesame seeds, chicken vegetable stir fry, crepes Suzette... and a few $2 cocktails for Nerdia. Purely for future duty free research purposes, of course.
Had a lovely evening stroll through a park full of sculptures down by the river around dusk, viewing the statues and watching the tiny bats whizz around catching insects. :) Dinner was pork & vegie kebabs, rice flour pancakes, fried rice and more cocktails - back at Stop & Go Cafe on Hung Vuong Street, where we ate last night and booked tomorrow's day trip to Hoi An.
Have finally uploaded some photos, take a look! :)

Posted by NarLin 20:46 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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