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chefeffect

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My wife and I are going to Vietnam in July and she just showed me an article in the Lonely Plant book about Bai Hoi which is a mid strength beer sold on the streets in Vietnam usually around 3% or less. Anyway's it gets sold in bucket and need to be consumed on the day that the brewery releases it, has anyone tried it? Did a bit of a search and not much info came up. Is it a lager, and what's it made from? And is it good? 14 cents a glass apparently, and best consumed in the morning I would assume, especially if released from the brewery in a bloody bucket?
 

pyrosx

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My wife and I are going to Vietnam in July and she just showed me an article in the Lonely Plant book about Bai Hoi which is a mid strength beer sold on the streets in Vietnam usually around 3% or less. Anyway's it gets sold in bucket and need to be consumed on the day that the brewery releases it, has anyone tried it? Did a bit of a search and not much info came up. Is it a lager, and what's it made from? And is it good? 14 cents a glass apparently, and best consumed in the morning I would assume, especially if released from the brewery in a bloody bucket?
Brewery is the wrong word. It's essentially home brew, sold by the guy that makes it. It's not terrible... but I found that I liked the 50c cans of 333 better.... and there's at least a slightly better chance of sanitary conditions being involved in the canned stuff.

Watch out for resealed water bottles - check that the plastic wrap around the top doesn't slide off, and that all of the connections between the lid and the lower collar are intact - we copped a couple of dodgey ones, and paid the price :icon_vomit:
 

Philthy79

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but I found that I liked the 50c cans of 333 better....

Watch out for resealed water bottles - check that the plastic wrap around the top doesn't slide off, and that all of the connections between the lid and the lower collar are intact - we copped a couple of dodgey ones, and paid the price :icon_vomit:

+1

Theres also a beer in Saigon called... Saigon - it's in a green bottle - wasn't too bad either.
 

pyrosx

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Oh Bia Hoi isn't so much a morning thing... seemed to be an afternoon thing - that's when the guys that make it all end up sitting out on the footpath getting on it, anyway.

And I didn't mean to sound like Vietnam was dirty or bad - I absolutely love the place... you just gotta be a bit careful.... small bottles of hand sanitiser are more than worthwhile... that and being careful with your drinking water, and you'll be fine.
 

chefeffect

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Thanks for the warning, I guess its one of those have to try it while there thing, but probably better beer to be had. Sweet I will take the advice on the water bottles, probably don't want to spend a day or two sick... I assume 333 is a local beer?
 

pyrosx

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I assume 333 is a local beer?
Sure is - if you want someone to grin at you, ask for "ba ba ba" (ba=3 in vietnamese) when you order it.

That was literally the only vietnamese I learnt though - each syllable has 6 different meanings depending on the inflection, so instead of saying thank you, you end up saying donkey mother... I gave up pretty quickly.
 

mckenry

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My wife and I are going to Vietnam in July and she just showed me an article in the Lonely Plant book about Bai Hoi which is a mid strength beer sold on the streets in Vietnam usually around 3% or less. Anyway's it gets sold in bucket and need to be consumed on the day that the brewery releases it, has anyone tried it? Did a bit of a search and not much info came up. Is it a lager, and what's it made from? And is it good? 14 cents a glass apparently, and best consumed in the morning I would assume, especially if released from the brewery in a bloody bucket?
As others have said, it is homebrew. I have been there twice and drank it any time of day or night. Never was sick either. I rated it as excellent. Note I had it only in Hanoi and Saigon. It was served from a SS keg, thru a hose, by gravity, with a thumb over the end to stop the flow when the glass is full.
You have to do it. Its part of the adventure. They love you sitting with them and enjoying it, even though you (probably) wont be able to communicate really well. Just smile and nod. Tip well, but at the end.
Just make sure they dont put ice in it, or any of your drinks, unless you see it in proper packaging first. Ice can be a sanitary issue.
And eat the street food. Again, excellent stuff.
 

wakkatoo

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Thread came up at the right time! Taking the family to Vietnam later in the year, around August. Gonna need it as this winter is shaping up as an ordinary one down Ballarat way if the first day of Autumn is anything to go by...
 

thylacine

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My wife and I are going to Vietnam in July and she just showed me an article in the Lonely Plant book about Bai Hoi which is a mid strength beer sold on the streets in Vietnam usually around 3% or less. Anyway's it gets sold in bucket and need to be consumed on the day that the brewery releases it, has anyone tried it? Did a bit of a search and not much info came up. Is it a lager, and what's it made from? And is it good? 14 cents a glass apparently, and best consumed in the morning I would assume, especially if released from the brewery in a bloody bucket?

"...Bia Hoi, or "fresh beer", is Vietnam's version of a micro brew. This refreshing, light-bodied Pilsner was first introduced in Vietnam by the Czechs. Decades later Bia Hoi is still brewed and delivered daily to drinking establishments throughout Saigon and Hanoi. (and other areas...)Brewed without preservatives, it is meant to be enjoyed immediately - and enjoyed it is! But don't expect to find Bia Hoi in the more fashionable haunts, such as Apocalypse Now or Saigon Saigon. Most tourists and expats have never heard of it. (too bad!) Saigon yuppies are loathe to admit imbibing. (although many do!) Bia Hoi then is the drink of the masses - the working man's refreshment. "...

http://www.vietnamadventures.com/this_month/current.html


Still frequently found for 2 000 dong (15 cents)
 

tiprya

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As mckenry said, it's a really good experience, and often if you find a place a bit away from tourist areas, it will mostly be filled with Vietnamese people - which makes it pretty authentic.

I've had it plenty of times and never got sick, it tastes like you'd expect young beer to - but it's very refreshing given the humidity.

If it's on the street (with little kids chairs) you can usually make eye contact with the proprietor and hold up fingers showing how many people you have, and they'll set up some extra chairs for you (or get the locals to squeeze in more to fit you in).

Sometimes if they leave food on the table you are assumed to pay for it unless you refuse it, but its usually sugared? nuts which go down nicely with the beer and are as cheap as the beer anyway.
 

bevdawg

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Bia Hoi is great fun. The beer is weak but refreshing and it's more about sitting on a street corner with young people in tiny kids plastic chairs and watching the world go by. Inside the main tourists districts in Hanoi and Saigon it'll be mostly tourists you drink with, and a few locals. The mian Bia Hoi juntion in Hanoi is a must, at least for an hour or so! I've travelled all over Vietnam multiple times and stayed with friends who live there who took me to Bia Hoi WAY out of Hanoi, which was great as we were the only foreign people there (helped they could speak Viet). There's no sanitation issues I've ever heard of, you'll be fine!

It's great fun sitting at a Bia Hoi when the police come past 'checking' everything is in order. Usuall in a pick up truck. There's always a warning from other traders and generally the little old lady running the place scrambles to get everyone off the road side and onto the foot path... they must get in trouble for having half their customers drinking on the road :)

Anyway, Vietnam is great!!! It's hot, the beer is cheap, people are friendly and the girls are good to look at. No beer lovers paradise but hey, who cares. Don't fret about tampered bottles of water, I think that's a myth (retial a bottle of water is 5-10 cents for the local stuff, sealed). I've drunk the tap water in Vietnam, brushed my teeth with it etc and while I probably have an iron clad gut, there's worse things to worry about.
 

MAH

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Bia Hoi is not homebrew. It's often described as fresh beer, i.e. not bottled, but kegged. It is made by the major breweries, such as Hanoi Brewery. What distinguishes Bia Hoi most is how it's consumed, it's basically street beer. In the morning, small street bars and eating places collect or have delivered kegs of cold beer, which they serve direct from the keg. They don't use CO2 to push out the beer, just the pressure in the keg and gravity. They normally rely on the thermal mass of the keg with not much additional attempt to chill the beer.

Squeakieice gives a good description of beer hoi and the places to find it around Ha Noi

I've spent a lot of time in South East Asia and Vietnam is well worth visiting. It's not a big country, but there is a huge amount of variation. My travel tips for Vietnam are;
  • learn to read the words for fish, pig, squid, chicken and beef. It's only five words but will make eating on the streets a lot easier
  • don't worry about being served dog, it's not common and is usually considered a delicacy, so you would have to specifically ask for it
  • avoid Hoi An, it's what Disney Land would build if they had a Vietnam world (this is very much a personal view most people love it)
  • don't catch the Reunification Express between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City if you are short on time, just fly, it's not much more expensive.
 

pyrosx

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Don't fret about tampered bottles of water, I think that's a myth (retial a bottle of water is 5-10 cents for the local stuff, sealed). I've drunk the tap water in Vietnam, brushed my teeth with it etc and while I probably have an iron clad gut, there's worse things to worry about.
Definitely NOT a myth. My guts arent fragile - but i definitely got sick from a dodgy bottle of water - and I found a couple more dodgy ones after I realised.... 1000 dong isn't much to us (5-10c), but in some of the poorer areas, it's the family meal allowance for a day.... so if finding a few empty looking ones still partially intact, filling them with tap water, and selling them for another 1000 dong is possible, you can't tell me that someone isn't going to.

I agree with the "don't fret" part though - it's not a massive problem, and nothing to be overly worried about - but it's one of the main things I keep an eye on. And, as someone mentioned above, ice. I've seen guys in saigon literally riding big blocks of ice down the street, no doubt delivering them to restaurants....
 

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