Preparations for Trump-Kim summit

Trump-Kim summit: Hanoi cashes in

From haircuts to cocktails, everyone wants a piece of the Trump-Kim action

HANOI • Kim Jong Ale? Rock It, Man? Or how about a glass of Peace Negroniations?

Bars in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, are cashing in on the second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this week with special concoctions to mark the high-stakes diplomacy.

Other enterprising businesses are also seeking to profit: While one would think a T-shirt bearing the face of one of the world's most infamous dictators would normally be a tough product to market, anything sells in summit-mad Hanoi.

One barber is even offering free haircuts to anyone wanting to copy the distinctive hairdos of Mr Trump and Mr Kim.

"This beer was inspired by the pure streams of Mount Paektu between North Korea and China," Ms Nguyen Thi Huong Anh, manager of Hanoi's Standing Bar, said of the "Kim Jong Ale", brewed especially for the summit.

The mountain is the highest on the Korean peninsula, at about 2,750m, and the official birthplace of the late North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il.

"It's a volcano so the beer has a hot and spicy flavour with a soft and fresh aftertaste," Ms Anh said.

 
 

Perhaps not surprisingly, Korea's favourite soju spirit has emerged as the ingredient of choice in Hanoi.

The Tannin Wine Bar in Hanoi's Old Quarter is offering the "Peace Negroniations", a summit-inspired take on the classic Negroni cocktail, made with pink-grapefruit-flavoured soju, vermouth and a drop of Angostura bitters, manager Antoine Ursat told Reuters.

The bitters reminded him of Mr Trump, he said.

The nearby Unicorn Pub is offering a special summit drink named "Rock It, Man", which includes soju, bourbon and Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, along with pineapple juice, vanilla and grenadine.

"The Fireball is as strong as Trump. It's sweet but it's also very fiery," said the pub's co-owner, Mr Trinh Xuan Dieu. "When you drink it, it tastes really hot at first, but it ends with sweetness."

And the name of the concoction? Before they broke the ice at their Singapore summit, Mr Trump had mocked Mr Kim and his efforts to build nuclear missiles by calling him "Rocket Man".

Also in Hanoi's Old Quarter, Mr Truong Thanh Duc's T-shirts featuring Mr Trump and Mr Kim have attracted a curious crowd in the bustling labyrinth of streets and market stalls popular with tourists.

"There's no need to talk about Trump as he's already a great man. Everybody knows that," said Mr Duc. "But we should always encourage Kim Jong Un to give up his dictatorship for his people."

"That's why I put his image on the T-shirt," he said.

Mr Duc is hopeful the summit can help promote reform. "Kim Jong Un is a dictator but now he has changed," said Mr Duc. "He has to give up that status to shake hands with the developed world."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 24, 2019, with the headline 'Hanoi cashes in'. Print Edition | Subscribe