What’s in a name? I dunno, who does? Is Big Man Beer big? For big men? Can it make you big? In a country of quite small men I find that unlikely. Maybe they don’t drink enough? So, what’s so big about Big Man Beer? Well, whatever the thinking behind the brand, Big Man Beer is getting a wee bit bigger. There’s something of a microbrewery boom going on in Saigon. I’ve seen four different outfits open up within the past six months alone. Big Man Beer is a bit older, but seems to be spreading at a faster rate than the others. I stop by Cat Trang restaurant at 232 Pasteur Street in District 3 to see how big Big Man Beer really is.
I hit the 17,000VD bia den (black beer). It arrives with a fabulous crown of froth. Yum. It’s black, it’s cold, hoppy and light. They’re about all the adjectives I can manage I’m afraid. But, it’s really rather good. Up there with the excellent Hoa Vien and the Nguyen Du Krauthaus. The added bonus of quaffing at Cat Trang restaurant is the menu.
Unfortunately I’d just eaten and had no room for some of the more interesting creations, but on a return trip I could be tempted by fake weasel, stewed salamander with citronella, minced sand lizard with rice pancake, swan blood pudding or from the ‘Special Menu’, steamed tortoise with ginger (blood & gall to be served) or wild grilled Phan Thiet lizard. Any of which would make for a memorable dinner. Just out of interest, are lizards from the coastal town of Phan Thiet particularly well known, like say Orkney lamb or Kobe beef? Here’s the business card and directions for Cat Trang resto and the bill.