Unique Vietnamese beer culture
What is the iconic Vietnamese drink for men? The answer definitely is “Beer”. Beer is available everywhere in Vietnam from rural to urban and from luxurious restaurants to pavement.
The first-time visitor in Vietnam will be surprised by the variety of local and regional beers offered here. Along with imported beer brands such as Carlsberg, Tiger, San Miguel and Heineken, local people has produced and developed their own taste of beer. Every city seems to have its own beer. For example, Saigon Beer is made in Ho Chi Minh City, Huda or Hue Beer comes from Hue, Hanoi Beer from Hanoi and so on. Vietnamese beer culture is influenced by traditional European styles as well as embracing unique local taste called draught beer (bia hoi). The latter is so popular that too many travelers who visit Vietnam, drinking bia hoi on the streets of Hanoi is as emblematic as eating pad Thai in Bangkok.
Unlike canned or bottled beer, “Bia Hoi” is made fresh each day with no additives or preservatives. When in its pure form, bia hoi is foamy, light with a crisp taste suggesting rice. Its taste is probably more similar to Bud Light beer. Alcohol content of bia hoi is somewhere between 3% and 4.5 % and is best when served as close to when it has been made as possible because the taste will be imbibed / declined by the time. After 20 hours or so, bia hoi will become undrinkable as it goes flat and really bad.
You can find hundreds of corner bars along the side walk or at every street corner in Hanoi. The price in these restaurants, as well as their accessibility and the relaxing atmosphere it brings, is the main attraction to beer drinkers. In hot and humid weather in summer, a cold delicious glass of beer not only can immediately cool down the thirst but also is a relaxing treatment after a stressful day – with an extremely cheap price of only $0.20 USD for a glass. That is the reason why everyone, regardless of age and occupation comes there at lunch or in early evening to unwind and share their stories.
The most famous international corner in Hanoi is at the intersection of Luong Ngoc Quyen and Ta Hien streets. You should taste Vietnamese beer here to experience a truly local experience. Sitting in a tiny plastic stools and small low tables, relax drinking beer with vendors food such as grilled meats, dried squid, pork buns and just observing the daily life of local people will soon become your habit during the time in Hanoi. Try it and LOVE it.