Bia Hơi Hanoi (Hanoi Draught Beer)
Bia Hơi Hanoi (Hanoi draught beer)
It is said that first appeared in 1967, one glass of Bia Hơi in the hot summer day was a luxury dream of almost citizens at that time. It was during the Vietnam War, the living conditions of local people was so poor that roasted peanut was the common choice to have with bia hơi. It hardly saw any drunker because they were too poor to afford to drink until get drunk.
Nowadays, there are multi choices, bottled, canned or imported draught beer but Bia Hơi Hanoi is still the first choice for many people. After 8 golden hours in the office, nothing better than gathering with friends at a favorite Bia Hơi restaurant. It could be a big restaurant which can hold half of thousand drinkers or just a small one for less than 30 guys. The rush hour at Beer Hơi restaurants start from 6.00 PM, when people leave the offices. The escorted foods are not only peanuts but variety of dishes as pork, frog, fish, seafood and even snail. Some people just have few glasses, have some talk with friends and then going home to have dinner with their families (some called: cowards cos leaving early) however, the others could spend whole evening at Bia Hơi. True drinkers always have their favorite place for beer. It could be for good beer, good foods, good services or sometime just for the charming owners.
For me, the most interesting place for Bia Hơi is a small restaurant located right in front of a catholic church (that could be the only Bia Hơi restaurant in Hanoi own such a place like that). The chef there is so fantastic and he has daily menu with special dishes going so well with bia (beer). I usually have bia hơi after work with my friends, sometime just alone. Listen to the bell ringing every 15 minutes and enjoy a sip of beer is how i enjoy it.
In the morning is the time for seniors, who could be retired or no need to earn living any more. As a habit, around 7.00 AM they start drinking (as they believe it is the best time for true Bia Hơi Hanoi). They just have 1 or 2 glasses maximum and still keep the drinking tradition as 40 years ago: beer with roasted peanut. For them, no cafe no tea, a glass of bia hơi is more interesting to start a day. People drink beer over the world but not many do in the first half of the day as in Vietnam.
A cruel summer is coming, cannot wait to come back to my favorite corner for BnB (Beer and Bell)!