Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Bia Hơi In Hanoi...Finally!

Bia Hơi

Ahh...finally. This makeshift bar with plastic stools on the streets of Hanoi was something that I'd heard about for a long time, and thus was one of the three main things that I had to get to when I was here (more on the other two later). And I'm so glad that we finally made it to one. See, the words bia hơi mean "fresh beer." Local breweries churn out generic kegs of fresh beer every morning that is intended for consumption the same day. It is apparently largely unregulated, and these little stands across the city sell it for dirt cheap; basically about US$0.25 a glass.

Granted, it's not like the beer itself was anything that special; in many ways, it was just your typical local lager, and a bit further watered down, at that. But it was fresh and went down quickly, and was a heck of a lot better than Tiger Beer. More importantly, sitting there on the street was a cool way to soak up the local culture: grab a few snacks like sunflower seeds or prawn crackers to go with your suds, chat up your neighbors, or plain and simply just watch the hustle of street activity in the Old Quarter, all under lighting provided by a naked light bulb dangling from a wire suspended by the tree overhead. Priceless.

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