Fighting Rhino Strange Strange Mouth

Clearly Uncle Ho is no more interested in your sobriety than Uncle Sam is.  Earlier today while walking home from the office here in Ho Chi Mihn City I ran across a western-style Supermarket.  Inside, it’s delicious.

Found a selection of local products on the shelves and brought them home.  I mean, I guess they’re local because it’s all in Vietnamese, which I can’t read.

Mekong Royal Rhum

Took me a while to place the flavor.  Finally I realized it’s bubblegum.  A 630ml bottle of this will set you back about $2.50.  Poking about thar intarwubs a bit about this stuff and found this factoid.  So now you know…

Ingredients: Ethanol (31.25%), water (68.45%), synthetic rhino

Ruou De Bach Ma

On this keyboard I’m not going to attempt to punch in all the appropriate appropriate accent marks on the name.  Looking at the selection on the shelf my Bukowski-sense tingling, I figured this was a version of local rice booze.  Sure enough, the aroma of rice is obvious on pouring and the flavor in this example is quite nice.  Slightly sweet, deep and warming.  Well worthy of sipping on it’s own without a mixer.  Note: I did buy the most expensive bottle I saw, $5 vs. the average hooch $1 – $2.  So your hooch milage may vary.

“Rượu đế” appears to be the official designation, and it has an interesting history on Wikipedia.  Read about it here.

Ruou Chanh Rhum

Light, lower in alcohol and with a slight pleasant carmel flavor, at about $1.80 per 500ml, you’ll have plenty of money left over for a stay in rehab. tells us:

Incredibly with how to make lemon rhum wind for the whole house.

Ah, so much better than the kind of wind usually generated inside the house.  Follow this site for more recipies in Vietnamese.  Also for endless amusement with Google translate.  Here’s two examples of other articles:

Uncovering the way to make rhubarb orange cat


Fighting rhino strange strange mouth

…and now some more travel photos.  Traffic here is quite the experience.  Crossing the street is like diving into a swarm of bees.  Yet, somehow I’ve yet to see a single altercation.  Back when I was commuting daily from the Hillsboro area into SE Portland on hwy 26, I generally saw one accident per day, sometimes more.  Here, not so much.


What’s In Your Fridge?

Hello again from Ho Chi Mihn City, while we continue our tour or locally available beverages.  What do we have today?

Zorok Lager Beer – made somewhere in Vietnam… or maybe not.  I can’t read any of the local languages.
Gauden Schwarzbier –  from the Red Rock Brewing Company in Singapore

I’ll keep this simple.  Zorok is another local example of Budweiser.  Given the climate here, that’s pretty much what you want anyway.  The Gauden?  It’s quite good.  An excellent example of a schwarzbier with all that yummy dark beer flavors but not heavy like a stout.

My favorite comment on their facebook page:

Black and loose mineral dynamics (do not have to increase the movement) :)) ♥ ♥ ♥

What more could you want?

Some more photos of street scenes in Ho Chi Mihn City:

What You Buy When You Don’t Know What To Buy

Things one might pick up on a shopping trip in Ho Chi Mihn City, when you’re dazed and confused from travel and find a nearby mini-mart.

Let’s run down these purchases:

From left to right:

  1. RedBull
  2. Korean sake, “firewater” in this case
  3. Budweiser
  4. Green tea Kit-Kat, yay!
  5. Water, thank God!
  6. Convenience store kimchee


We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto!

Rum in Ho Chi Mihn City

Rum, it’s what’s for dinner.

Saigon Rum, product of Vietbev
Caribbean Dark Rum Superior, product of Viet Beverage Corporation

Been looking for something worth-while to bring back fom Vietnam, always looking for local examples of interesting beverages.  It may be a bad thing that these labels are in English instead of Vietnamese. I’m not sure, I’m new here.  The city so far, seems awash in the kinds of alcohol you’d get in the Duty Free shop instead of something made nearby.

The dark rum has a strong brown sugar flavor, the light a pleasant vanilla flavor.  Neither are very complex, but they were about $6/each so perhaps they are intended as more of something fun to take home vs a vital part of  local culture.

In fact, taking a closer look at the label on the Caribbean Rum it says, “Blended and Bottled from French Rum Concentrate”.  Ingredients list “French rum concentrate, food grade ethanol, pure water”.


Cathedral Ridge

Cathedral Ridge tasting room in Dundee was another pleasant visit.  It’s right next to Hawkins Cellars and they share that fine patio.  It’s a comfy place, our tasting room associate was cheerful and knowledgeable and we liked their wines.  “Big bold reds from the Columba Gorge.”

Cathedral Ridge

Hey kids!  Right next to Hawkins Cellars in Dundee, this place is going to shower you with an impressive and/or incomprehensible number of choices.  No.  You aren’t going to sample 48 wines, but perhaps you could if you had good spitting practice and could sleep over.

So pick five.

Hawkins Cellars

Hawkins Cellars tasting room, more wine from our fine Columbia Gorge, right next to Cathedral Ridge tasting room in Dundee.

Hawkins Cellars

Notice the fine tapas plate they had available anyone needing a snack

What a lovely patio for a picnic.  Let me tells yas, Dundee is not much to look at during (what HST would call) this our Foul Year of our Lord 2018.  It looks like a bunch of accidents and abandoned half-born dreams between convenience stores and scruffy parking lots.

Sure, you may object to that and there are clear exceptions like Argyle and of course, Lumpy’s, and I think we can be certain that the town will be very different in 10 – 20 years, but for now Dundee presents itself as a place that feels like it’s run by a city council with a mutual death-grip around the necks of elderly land-owners and they’re all going down together rather than let change happen.

So, what a pleasant surprise to find this lovely oasis right on the main drag.   Heck, you might even be convinced to enjoy a lovely afternoon hour or two right here instead of bopping over the speedbump of Dundee on your way to somewhere else.

Why look, they even have a sense of humor – the koi pond is inhabited by a fine plastic lizard.