Spiritualized/Life is a Highway

Son Tinh Spirits 01

Son Tinh Factory

Highway 4 in Hanoi

Highway 4 in Hanoi

Highway 4 in Hanoi

Just a few quick photographs from the Son Tinh Liquor factory and restaurant Highway 4 here in Hanoi. Highway 4 is extremely well-known across Hanoi, and has gained a good deal of international attention as well, with pretty much every foodie passing through the capital seeking their advice on local cuisines and off-the-wall delicacies. That big bald bizarre foods guy even ate bull’s penis there (or something similar in girth). And it’s in the middle of the Old Quarter with an unbeatable rooftop terrace, to boot.

Though for me the best thing about Highway 4 is the liquor. Which is where Son Tinh comes in. The only place you can actually find this modern take on traditional Vietnamese mountain wine is at the restaurant. It’s generally sweeter and just of an all-around better quality than its rural brethren, which is a really good thing. I’ve had traditional mountain wine (the Vietnamese word for wine pretty much refers to what would be a pretty low-class moonshine in like the upper mountains of West Virginia) and it’s nothing to really write home about. Unless you’re writing about your severe hangover the next morning.

Eventually these two places will outgrow dear old Hanoi and explode elsewhere, but for now they remain essential stops on most travelers’ itineraries in northern Vietnam. That’s fine for me; I can say I knew them before they were (more) famous.

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