Vietnam is one of the cheapest countries to travel for backpackers due to its devalued currency. When you are in Vietnam, you can not miss the Hanoi. Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and one of the best city in Vietnam. When in Hanoi, you should stay in the Old Quarter if you want to see the history and their culture. You should visit Hoan Kiem Lake and the Red bridge.
The cheapest and freshest “Bia Hoi”
Hanoi have some club and cafes but it is not famous for that. Most of the night club and bar usually get closed at midnight but some remain open until the local authorities show up. Instead, Hanoi is famous for sitting back on plastic stools and enjoy the “Bia Hoi” (Vietnamese draught beer). You can get this in almost any street,
This is made without any preservatives and is meant to consume on the same day, it is made. This was the probably freshest beer I had in my life. Bia hoi is the cheapest beer I have ever had in my life. It costs as little as 5000- 10000 dong. That means less than 40 cents or 15 INR, Indian currency. Bia hoi is a very light beer, does not have a strong taste during or after drinking it and contains roughly 4% alcohol.
While roaming around in streets of Old Quarter, you can easily see people drinking bia hoi almost with anything and any time. Most of the shops in Hanoi have bia hoi and their special egg coffee.
A well known and popular place is “Bia hoi junction” or “Luong Ngoc Quyen street”. This place is filled with colorful small plastic stool, especially yellow and red ones. People start visiting here from evening to midnight. By midnight, this street is full of people. This place has such a happy vibe, I can not express. Unlimited numbers of cafes have travelers from all around the world. No loud music, you can have a good conversation over the beer with any stranger at the cheapest price. These cafes also have a good and tasty variety of food for both vegan and others. You can have pizza, burger, french fries, rice, noodles, fish, beef, chicken, frog, snails, and more. Alternatively, there are several bars that also sell soft imported beers such as Tiger for about VND 20,000.
‘Tram phan tram!’ Remember these words, as all over Vietnam, glasses of bia hoi are raised and emptied, and cries of tram phan tram (‘100%’ or ‘bottoms up’) echo around the table.
Snake wine in Hanoi
Shops in streets of Hanoi are full of alcohol, both local and imported. It is important to visit such shop to have a look of the snake or scorpion wine. It is said that Snake wine in Vietnam is sometimes made by drowning a live snake in rice wine. I did not try this one. But it is a thrill in itself to see the whole snake drowned in wine or vodka in a bottle.
Le mat Village is at 20-30 minutes ride from Old quarter and is famous for cobra vodka and other snake wines. The Hung Snake restaurant is the famous one who serves the beating cobra heart with rice wine. But the truth is, it’s cruel and inhumane.
When in Hanoi, you must try the “bia hoi”, maybe not the best one but the cheapest and freshest beer.