One of very unique cuisine activities of Hanoi people that also relate much to city culture is having Bia Hoi ( Hanoi draught beer) in local restaurants that many of them just locate in pavement of city’s streets. It can be in the lunch time but the busiest time is in the afternoon, after work. Many of men just stop at Bia Hoi for few glasses of beer, having fun with their friends before going home to have dinner with their family. This is exciting, noisy but very popular place for any kind of meeting in the city: Friends gathering, company meeting, Birthday party, class reunion or any kind of celebration. You always can see more men than women in this Bia Hoi places.
Bia Hoi was brewed from the Hanoi Beer factory – the oldest beer factory in Vietnam that had been constructed by French from over hundred years ago. The factory is very well-known for the quality of it’s product and took over more than 60% of the market of beer in Hanoi. And Bia Hoi from the factory is one of the most favorite product for local people. Bia Hoi is only less than 4% of alcohol cool with beautiful taste; it is perfect drink in the hot summer day. It can explain to you why Bia Hoi restaurants are always full in the summer time. You can drink allots of Bia Hoi without getting drunk as it is very light but very refreshing drink.
People serving Bia Hoi with local food of Hanoi. Normally, it should be some local authentic cuisines and that do not take long time for processing such as: fried Tofu, stir fry vegetable, local salad, sausages, fish, pork, chicken ….. or even fried rice or fried noodle and hot pot.
Sometime, if people do not have much time and feeling thirsty and just want to have a rest, they also can stop at Bia Hoi place, order some glasses of beer and having with some roasted peanut, no need to have food. Feeling refresh then keep going.
When travelling along Vietnam, I found the similar restaurants like Bia Hoi place in Hanoi in most of the destinations. But they will serve beer in the bottle, but not Bia Hoi. So it more like the serious restaurant, the menu is different and people will spend more times in this place. That why I can say that Bia Hoi is unique feature of Hanoi cuisine, and it can be one of interesting local culture of the city as well.
Link to Hanoi popular cuisine.