Did you know that Bia Hoi is the cheapest beer in the world? One beer costs less than 50 cents! It ranges between 5,000 – 7,000 VND for one bottle of beer, making it the cheapest beer in the world. You might wonder where can you find it? In Vietnam of course! Beer is one of the most popular drinks in Vietnam, which isn’t surprising since they’re the third biggest beer drinkers in the world, only behind Japan and China.
You might think that just because it’s the cheapest beer in the world, it has to be amongst the worst. Although Bia Hoi might not rank as high as some incredible craft beers when it comes to flavor, it’s a light, fresh beer that’s very easy to drink. The alcohol percentage is about 4% which is quite good for such a cheap beer. It’s also made without any preservatives, so you must drink it within 24 hours of production (which, let’s face it, won’t be a problem). Bia Hoi is made in the capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi, and is delivered to drinking establishments early in the mornings. Bia Hoi can be found in almost every restaurant and food stall in Hanoi, but also throughout the rest of the country.
The locals haven’t always loved this drink though. It wasn’t until the French opened the first brewery in Hanoi in the 1890s, that people started to discover beer. Before Bia Hoi, the Vietnamese preferred to drink rice wine. But the beer culture caught on quickly and nowadays, the people of Vietnam consume about 3.8 billion liters a year. That’s a lot of beer. And perhaps it’s not that strange since beer is the cheapest drink you can get, so why not enjoy it to the fullest? But when beer consumption just started in Vietnam, it was rather expensive and most people still couldn’t afford the popular drink. But then in the late 1950’s, the citizens were presented with what would today become the cheapest beer in the world: Bia Hoi.
One of the most popular places to go out for a drink in Hanoi is “Beer Corner”, which got its name thanks to all foreigners and locals who has made this their drinking spot. It’s also called Ta Hien Street. If you’re looking for a place to start off the night, you might as well check this place out. It gets really crowded at night, but you’ll probably find a plastic stool to sit on eventually.
Drinking Bia Hoi is best enjoyed after a warm day, with your friends, either in a restaurant or outside. Although Hanoi is the birthplace of Bia Hoi, you should try to visit other cities in Vietnam as well. Work your way down to the charming, quaint little city of Hoi An, where tourism has boomed in the past years. Not only will you find beer here, the city is known for its tailors that can sew up any garment you want to have. After a day of strolling around the Old Town, looking inside the souvenir shops, going to a tailor and perhaps even hitting the beach, you should sit down and enjoy a cold brew. It can be a bit difficult to choose a place to sit down in Hoi An, since there’s so many restaurants and competition is fierce, but know that the food served on the street can be just as good as the ones in the restaurant. But if there’s something you must try in Hoi An, it’s the world famous banh mi place ‘Banh Mi Phuong’ which has gotten known thanks to the late Anthony Bourdain who said it was the best banh mi in the world. The prices are generally a bit lower in Hoi An too, but the beer prices usually remain the same throughout the country.
Whatever you’re looking for on your vacation in Vietnam, trying a Bia Hoi is a must! It’s the perfect way to end the day with. If you are passing by Hanoi, you must swing by Beer Corner, even if you live five minutes away or you need to take a motorbike to get there. It’s a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the Vietnamese culture and at the same time taste the cheapest beer in the world.