High Tea At The Metropole In Hanoi… Oh Why Not Darling?

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by Marc Valentine

Scouring the guidebooks and the internet for worthwhile things to do in Hanoi… with it drizzling outside, the girls came across an extremely exciting prospect which they assured us would suite both them… and us boys – High Tea!

The Famous Metropole Hotel which happens to be a gorgeous french building… puts on a lavish high tea from 3 o’clock every afternoon…

Dressed in our usual, and very casual backpacker attire… me in a singlet and cargo shorts, Anna in her VERY bright “happy pants” we drew more than the odd curious glance from the typical high tea crowd as we strolled along inside the Metropole.


High Tea At The Metropole Hanoi Vietnam

High Tea At The Metropole Hanoi

Much to our amusement – we were told the main tea room was full… and briskly accommodated outside as far away from the other guests as possible 🙂

The excitement was all to much for the the girls who were giggling like a couple of 5 year olds who just got their hands on the latest Barbie Doll, so Brent & I left the girls to order their high tea alone & pulled up a stool at the bar to consume a few pints of well deserved, and delicious Tiger draft.


Delicious Tiger Draught At The Metropole

Devouring A Delicious Tiger Draught At The Metropole In Hanoi

It wasn’t long before we were back though, when the multi-tiered silver tray arrived at the table, we took that as ou cue to rejoin the girls.

The tray was overflowing with Cupcakes. Sandwiches. Scones with Jam & Cream. Exotic Fruits & Tea & Coffee.

Better not to just take the girls word for it, we thought it necessary to taste some of the goodies personally – and they were delicious…

Just because your’e backpacking around Asia… it doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a delicious cake or scone every now and again. In fact if you find yourself in Hanoi Vietnam – I highly recommend you do!

It eventually became evident that the tea room really was full – as we were later relocated inside once a table became available.

The Epic Battle For Vietnamese Ice Cream – Kem Trang Tien Style

Vietnamese Ice Cream Hanoi

Kem Trang Tien Ice Cream Hanoi - Be Ready For A Fight!

This was a lot of fun… lining up and rubbing shoulders with the locals at a ridiculously popular local ice cream shop that sells a very limited range of ice cream flavours.

1 in fact!… plain old vanilla.

Here’s how the game plays out for the “non-too-wise” tourist, should you ever find yourself in a line for ice cream in Vietnam’s capital city… you’d be wise to remember this lesson…

You’re standing in line politely smiling at all the local people in your immediate vicinity…

you’re pearly whites are almost bursting from your gums you’re smiling so hard.

Seriously. Your dentist would have a hard time getting you to open your jaw any wider, and he’s a professional…

Your convinced this will surely help the people accept your presence inside their ice cream store, even win their approval in some way, maybe they’ll even refrain from cutting into the line in front of you…?

… wrong!

You just made rookie mistake numero uno… you may as well staple a sign to your head saying “line starts here – never mind the pushover”

There is ice cream at stake here – this is no time for manners, cut the smiley act!

So you realise the ‘Mr or Mrs pleasant’ happy happy smiley act, is not effective anymore – and probably hasn’t been since you were 5…

ok whatever, you still want ice cream… you’re not here to make friends…

In fact you probably want to intentionally avoid it, making friends increases the chance you’ll have to share your ice cream.

What The…?

Who’s this kid in line you didn’t notice before, squashed hard up against you…

… his inconspicuous demeanour and resistance to make eye contact, will try to fool you into labelling him a ‘shy kid’ an ‘innocent little fella’ who somehow ‘fell into the line’ next to you… cutting out a 15 minute wait.

It’s not his fault you tell yourself… it’s those guys behind him, their pushing and shoving so hard back there, there was nowhere else for him to go.

If he stepped out of the line and went home without ice cream, his father would probably beat him and cast him out onto the street…

This is a trap – DO NOT fall for it.

Ice Cream In Hanoi

Mmm... Delicious Ice Cream

This “innocent” little magician, has spent countless hours perfecting his black art. He is a master of Manipulation.

…Think I’m paranoid?

Well, experience tells me I’m not…!

You need to take defensive action… stick your elbow out to block his way forward or you’ll lose a valuable position.

The third and final threat, is a “shock and awe” campaign designed to stun you into inaction… and it comes precisely when victory is within your grasp… when you can practically taste the smooth, sweet ice cream on your lips.

Don’t let victory slip away… you’ve come to far.


How To Line Up In Vietnam

How To Tackle A Line In Vietnam

Just when you’re about to approach the counter, in that nano second between the last guy slipping out of line, his hands held high in the air clutching ice cream, and you stepping forward to place your order – it happens…

Grandma Grinch seemingly strolls in from nowhere…sidesteps right in front of you… and barks her order to the girl at the counter before you even have a moment to challenge the validity of her claim at poll position in the line.

What can I say… you got lazy kid!

This is a dangerous position to be in… other elderly would be “line jumpers” are bound to have noticed the chump who’s practically inviting people to cut in front of him…

… you could end up standing here trying to get noticed for a lifetime.

You could take some sweet revenge and snatch the ice cream from Grandma’s weak old hands…

But I wouldn’t recommend it. You’re in her country, a country with a long history of guerrilla warfare, she could have you killed. Slowly & painfully.

Don’t even waste your energy giving her the evil eye (this has even less impact than the polite smile technique that you butchered earlier)

What I would do… is lean right over the bench blocking anybody else from sliding into your rightful place at the head of the line… and hopefully making Grandma feel really uncomfortable.

Ensure you make direct eye contact with the staff… and you should be sucking on sweet Vietnamese ice cream in no time. (not before grandma though)

P.S. It’s well worth the effort – it’s delicious!

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