The beer culture in Vietnam is thriving. In fact, it’s one of the countries in the world that has the most consumption of beer. Beer is usually the drink of choice for most locals. Every night, you’ll find a good number of locals sitting along a small chair on the street corners, sharing good conversation while indulging in their favorite local beer. If you want to experience the country’s beer culture, then here’s everything you need to know about drinking local beer in Vietnam.
Vietnam’s Drinking Culture
If you want to experience the local beer culture in Vietnam, join a group of locals sitting around a low table at some outdoor restaurants when evening comes. Beer drinking in the country is communal so you’ll find locals drinking beer in almost every street corner, especially in big cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi.
When drinking local beer in Vietnam, there are certain etiquettes that you need to observe. For instance, it’s considered rude not to join a group when invited. Part of the culture of Vietnam is that everyone should share the fun together. So if the locals would invite you to join them, avoid saying no. Some people tend to be pushy about drinking and you’ll probably be teased if you say no, but you will not really be forced into drinking if you’re not really into beer.
Locals Prefer It with Ice
There are places that will serve you a chilled beer in a bottle, but most locals would prefer to drink their beer in a glass filled with a heaping of ice. In some places, you’ll find servers standing beside your table waiting for you to call them to refill your glass with ice.
Unless you prefer your beer warm, you should get used to drinking your beer with huge chunks of ice in Vietnam. Some servers will not even wait for you to call them for a refill. As soon as they notice that your ice has melted, they will automatically pour ice on your glass.
Một, hai, ba, vô!
Một, hai, ba, vô means cheers! Try to memorize these words and say it loudly when drinking your beer along with a group of locals. In fact, you’re probably going to utter these words a lot in Vietnam not just when drinking beer. When you feel overwhelmed about something while having a conversation with someone, you could shout these words, too! In fact, there’s also a super cheers version and that’s “Một, hai, ba, hai, ba, Vô!, which you need to shout as loud as you possibly can!
Place Bottles Under the Table
Beer drinking in Vietnam is a big thing and the locals have their own way of keeping tabs on the number of bottles they have already consumed. Each time a bottle is emptied, it has to be kept under the table. At the end of your drinking session and when it’s time to pay the bill, the server can simply count the bottles. Now if you wake up with a horrible headache on the following morning due to a hangover, drinking nước mía or sugarcane juice with Pocari Sweat may work wonders!
Types of Beer in Vietnam
Vietnam’s local beer is available in different types and here are some of the most popular ones:
- Bia Hoi – this is Vietnam’s version of the draft beer. This beverage is usually brewed in a period of 7 to 10 days. Thus, it has a short shelf life. But it’s sugar and alcohol content is lower than other types of beer. The famous Bia Hoi junction in Hanoi is named after this beer. It’s one of the best places to experience the local beer culture of Vietnam.
- Bottled and canned beers – in most of the hotels and restaurants in Vietnam, beers are usually served in a bottle and can. But the amount of hops on these types of alcoholic beverages is 30% more than the local draft beer or the Bia Hoi. The brewing time of these beverages are also much longer and fermentation could take up to a week. Some of the most famous brands are Carlsberg, Tiger, and Heineken.
- Craft Beers – there are lots of local craft beer brands in Vietnam. Some of the most famous brands are Platinum, East West Brewing, Pasteur Street Brewing, Heart of Darkness, Fuzzy Logic, and more. Since these beers have more sophisticated brewing process, you can expect to pay more for them compared to other types of beer.
Beer drinking in Vietnam is something that adult travelers should experience while visiting the country. It has already become a part of the local culture so if you want to immerse yourself in the locals’ way of living, then you should experience drinking beer the Vietnamese way! Thankfully, looking for a place to indulge in a local Vietnamese beer is easy. In fact, you’ll find them in almost every street corner when nighttime comes. Cheers!