The Cheapest Beer in the World
As my banner above suggests, I’m always on the lookout for a good beer to try, and will usually try the local brew. As a lover of the golden liquid, I couldn’t refuse the opportunity to try the local Vietnamese brew, Bia Hoi.
Bia Hoi is special, not just your average local beer, but somewhat more of an event rather than a good local beer. For those that are unaware of what Bia Hoi is, and entails, allow me to explain. Bia Hoi is a fresh light beer, a draught beer, that is made daily, mainly in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It has no preservatives in it, and that’s why it is made daily, as it doesn’t last much more than 24 hours. It isn’t monitored by any health agencies, so I guess it might be consumed at your own risk, but that isn’t a good enough reason not to try it I feel. After it is made, it is then delivered in silver kegs around the city, to the many shops that sell it. I say shops, and not restaurants, because the atmosphere itself is more unique than the beer, and one of the reasons I loved it. The two or three Bia Hoi places that we went to, were essentially just a shopfront, on a street corner, with an open garage door it seemed. They put tiny chairs (even small for me) and small tables on the sidewalk, and you just sit down and order your beers, with cars and scooters passing by on the road next to you. The best thing about this though, is that’s exactly what the locals do, so it’s not uncommon to get a few inquisitive looks from the locals at first, before joining them for a beer.
It’s a very light beer, I’ve heard around 3%, and because of this it can go down quite easily, and after a few of these easy beers, well you can imagine the effect. We saw more than a few Vietnamese men stumbling around after getting up from their small table. Now I must admit, it wasn’t the best beer I’ve ever had, but it certainly wasn’t the worst, and I’d easily get it again. The best thing of all about this great Vietnamese beer tradition though – is the price. The most we paid was 7000VND, but we managed to find a place where we got a beer for 4000VND. How much is that once it’s converted you ask? About 20 cents!! Now that’s a bargain if ever I saw one. Now there’s no excuse not to grab a round for your mates!