There are countless bia hoi (draught beer) outlets in most major cities in Vietnam, ranging from a few ankle-high stools gathered round a barrel on the pavement to beer gardens. Quality tends to be more consistent at the outlets supplied by major the smaller places which usually buy their beer from microbreweries. On the whole, the more extensive – and colder – the beer, the better it is.
Bia hoi culture is about enjoying a few beers with a group of friends – usually all male, though in the cities you see a few women these days. People almost never drink alone and rarely drink without eating, so many places serve a range of snacks and more extensive dishes.
To help you order food in a bia hoi outlet, we’ve listed a few classic dishes below. Menus, if they exist, will be in Vietnamese. They normally give a price range for each dish (meat dishes typically range between 30,000d and 50,000d), so you order a small, medium or lager amount, for example, depending on the size of you group. To maximize the variety, it makes sense to order small quantities of several dishes and share. If no prices are indicated on the menu, be sure to ask when ordering. Usually a note with the running total is left on the table, so you can keep track of