Hanoi “Bia hoi” Named in Booking’s Must-try List

Among Vietnamese best beer destinations voted by foreign travelers, Hanoi is followed by Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Nha Trang, and Da Nang.

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Hanoi
Among Vietnamese best beer destinations voted by foreign travelers, Hanoi is followed by Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Nha Trang, and Da Nang. (Photo: Bia Ha Noi)

Among Vietnam’s very first breweries in the 19th century under French colonial time, Hanoi is well-known for its “bia hoi” in countless spots around the capital. Booking.com describes Hanoi as”a must-visit beer haven” with the experience of drinking bia hoi while sitting on a plastic stool.

The object of the survey is adult business or leisure travelers who traveled within 12 months and plan to travel in the next 12 months. The survey attracted 47,728 respondents in 28 countries and territories.

Bia hoi can be roughly translated to “fresh beer”. This is because it is brewed every day and should be consumed within 24 hours as it contains no preservatives and for that reason, it spoils fast. However, its purity isn’t the only unique thing about this local beer, it also has a rice content of up to 50% depending on the brewery. This gives the beer its golden color and a light and airy taste.

Hanoi
The first beer factory in Hanoi was founded in 1980 by a French man (Photo: Vietnamnet)

Like Vietnam’s signature Banh Mi, bia hoi originated during the French colonial era in the late 19th century. The first beer factory in Hanoi was founded in 1980 by a French named Alfred Hommel. At that time, Vietnamese people were mainly producing and enjoying their rice wine! The brewery’s output was very scarce counting just about 150 liters per day since it was serving mainly French people. When Vietnam was declared independent in 1954, the brewery’s name was changed to Hanoi Brewery and continued making bottled beer. Truc Bach was their first product.

According to Booking.com, the intersection of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen streets in Hanoi’s Old Quarter dubbed a ‘beer hub,” is a famous address to enjoy ice-cold glasses of bia hoi on plastic chairs, which has become part of Hanoi culture.

The area is home to dozens of bars, restaurants, and street beer stalls, which were often fully packed up until 1-2 a.m. before the pandemic broke out in Vietnam. Most bia hoi joints also serve inexpensive street food like prawns barbecued with chili and salt, clams steamed with lemongrass, or green mango with a prawn-chili-salt dip.

Hanoi
The intersection of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen streets in Hanoi’s Old Quarter dubbed a ‘beer hub,” is a famous address to enjoy ice-cold glasses of bia hoi on plastic chairs, which has become part of Hanoi culture. (Photo: Kenh 14)

A 300ml glass of bia hoi is around VND7,000-10,000 (USD 0,3 – 0,5) while the cost for a bottle or can of beer ranges from VND25,0000 to 200,000 (USD 1 – 9).

Following Hanoi in the top beer destinations in Vietnam are Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Nha Trang, and Da Nang.

Previously, two CNN reporters, Justin Solomon, and Kate Springer, said after arriving in Hanoi: “As soon as the sun goes down, there’s a great place to go: the corner of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen streets. Known as the ‘beer corner’, the street attracts both domestic and foreign tourists. Stepping into the ‘beer corner’, one can not only enjoy a special drink but also step on the path to learn the history and culture of the city.”

Valerie Mai