Bia hoi corner – A part of Hanoi life
There is a thing you should try at least once when setting foot in Hanoi: Bia hoi corner. Those cheap glasses of beer, which are thought to be “even cheaper than water”, have a deadly irresistible allure.
What is Bia hoi corner?
Bia hoi, which means street draft beer, is a low-alcohol content draft beer, only about 3-4%. As other famous Vietnamese street food, you can find draft beer vendors on most pavements. A simple Bia hoi corner consists of a few plastic stools, wooden chairs, glasses, a drum of homemade draft beer, and numerous patrons. Especially, around 5 pm when people get off from work, those vendors are full of formally-dressed men. Hence, street draft beer is a common way to release stress after a hard-working day.
Ta Hien Street is where you can find many crowded beer vendors providing their delicious drinks.
What makes Bia hoi corner become a Hanoi’s signature?
The beer made totally by hand offers a totally different taste from the common beer in bottles or cans. The difference first comes from the production scale. A kind of beer is considered to be craft when the amount of each brewing or producing process less than the average amount of a beer company. To follow the philosophy “quality over quantity”, they keep producing in a small quantity so that they can control the quality of all products. It is usually produced in households with their own secret recipes that you can not find anywhere else. That’s why even without famous labels, there are still many customers coming to Bia hoi corners every afternoon.
Furthermore, to the “Hanoians”, nothing’s better than a chilly glass of beer on a hot summer day. While iced tea on the pavement is a noon-break hobby, Bia hoi corner is where people come after working hours. They not only drink draft beer but also “drink” the familiar atmosphere. Some even assume that this corner is their “second home”. It’s where they can meet their “soulmates”, share everything, and do whatever they want. Thanks to that feeling of freedom, you can see men in suits drinking with shirtless men. From the Vietnamese to foreigners, regardless of background, social status, everyone can flock to this corner, order a few glasses and immerse themselves into the vibrant flow there.
Thanks to these intangible values at a low price, Bia hoi corner Hanoi has become a typical culture of the Vietnam capital. In the mindset of Hanoi netizens, Bia hoi has turned into a national drink that everyone can enjoy. Therefore, in addition to the street vendors, Pho, or Bun cha, Bia hoi corner is an indispensable “color” in the picture of Hanoi cuisine.
Over the years, Bia hoi corner is the hobby of millions of people. Some foreigners declined to try at first, but when they try once, they can’t stand but give it more than the second try. Sitting on the stool on the corner of the street beside the crowds and drinking a chilly glass of draft beer would be a memorable memory during your trip to the Vietnamese capital.