Cheapest Beer Places in Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Cheapest Beer in Vietnam: Fresh Beer or Bia Hoi in Vietnamese can be the Cheapest Beer in the World. It is a typical Vietnamese Beverage, a very light beer with low alcohol percentage and no strong aftertaste. Bia Hoi is definitely a refreshing drink to have with friends after a long day of work, and certainly a must-try when you Travel to Hanoi and Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam.

1. History of World ‘s Cheapest Beer - Bia Hoi:

Last century was very tough and dynamic for Vietnamese people since the country went through 2 of the longest wars in recent history. People in the country always adapt to the situation, so they invented many goods during the hardships to make their life easier, and more enjoyable. One of the inventions is an iconic Fresh Beer (Bia Hoi).


It all started at the end of the 19th century when French colonialists founded the first brewery named Hommel Brewery which was located on Street of Hoang Hoa Tham in Hanoi. In the beginning, the beer was only for the elite since production was quite expensive and locals weren’t keen on drinking an alcoholic drink from colonialists.

At that time, local people were mainly producing and enjoying their rice wine!  The brewery’s output was very scarce counting just about 150 liters per day since it was serving only elite, mainly French people. In 1954., when the Vietnamese army defeated the French colonialists, they took over the brewery factory and renamed it to Hanoi Beverage Company.


That was just a beginning of the shiny Beer History in Vietnam!  At the end of the 50s, there were a few types of beer brewed by the company. However, the conflicts and complications arose, so the materials like glass and aluminum were expensive and scarce. People needed to figure out a different way of storing beer.

Kegs were ideal choice as the beer could stay for an extended period without getting corrupted.  The moment when the beer started to be stored in the kegs was the birth of Bia Hoi as we know today! Still, at that time, Bia Hoi wasn’t a beloved drink of Vietnamese people since only a small portion of local population enjoyed that beverage, while the majority of the population stayed truthful to their traditional rice wine.


There was a shortage of rice during the 60s, so the Communist Government, banned the production of alcoholic drinks from the rice. Rice was exclusively a food. After that moment, Vietnamese people being alcoholic lovers, just gave a try to newly introduced Bia Hoi. That was the point of no return for the iconic fresh beer!

Today, you can see many people enjoying the sips of this historic fresh beer around the streets of Hanoi and Saigon while sitting on tiny plastic chairs and eating fresh peanuts or Nem Chua.


Since Bia Hoi is always stored in kegs and sometimes in plastic bottles, there was a massive demand for glasses. During the war, when Bia Hoi started to gain its popularity, materials were scarce, so Vietnamese people needed to be very creative while inventing the glasses! People were drinking beer from glass pints from beginnings. It’s a tradition now, and many people refuse to drink from any other glasses.

There is an interesting story behind the imperfectly shaped glasses. There are a few factories around North Vietnam that produce glasses for Bia Hoi. They collect and recycle the broken glass around the country. After recycling, the glass undergoes a heating process for roughly six hours and then shaped into a glass shape. Afterward, the cups were buried in the ash, so the process of cooling down isn't too rapid.


Almost every glass is hand-made, even today! That’s a crazy fact to know, especially when the consumption is crazy high, and demand for glasses is growing with every day.

2. Is Vietnamese Bia Hoi Safe to Drink?

How Safe is Bia Hoi? There are many discussions when it comes to the safety of Bia Hoi which is totally logical question since the majority of bia hoi is home-brewed beer. However we tried fresh beer around Vietnam, in Hanoi, Saigon, Da Nang, Hue, Hoi An and even in the countryside and around the Highlands. We didn’t experience any problems while drinking.


The only problem was a hangover, but it’s normal since we were usually finishing a glass of beer in one sip. It just adds up after a few bottom ups!  After talking with some expats and travelers, we didn’t hear any negative experience about Bia Hoi, so it’s more than enough for us to say it’s totally safe to drink it.

Be responsible beer drinker and you’ll be fine! Maybe the morning headache will occur, but it’s normal when you’re drinking the low-quality alcohol without a known origin. Just enjoy and dip in the Vietnamese culture!

3. Unbelievable Facts of Vietnamese Bia Hoi:

The history of Bia Hoi is very fascinating, which means there are many unbelievable facts behind this favorite Vietnamese drink you should know:

  • Cheapest beer in the world - after extensive research and walking around the cities around Vietnam to help ourselves with a glass of delicious and cold fresh beer, we believe it’s the world’s cheapest beer. One cup of 0.4l costs from 3,000 - 5,000 VND on the street. Expect a good buzz for a couple of dollars! How crazy it is?
  • Handmade cups made from recycled glass - even when the demand and consumption are at its highest point, the cups are handmade from recycled glass. Literally, a few families around North Vietnam run small family factories where the magic happens. They are the leading distributors of the Bia Hoi glasses in Vietnam!
  • Birth of Bia Hoi - it’s a very amazing story that goes behind making the first cup of fresh beer. Vietnamese people enjoy their alcohol and spending their time with beloved friends, but during the war, the drink of choice was rice wine. Since the shortage, the rice was banned for alcohol production, but it didn’t stop people from drinking. They just switched to a fresh beer and that’s how this drink becomes very popular today!
  • Bottoms up - Vietnamese people don’t mess around when it comes to beer! Their style of drinking hugely differs from drinking styles around the world. They drink their fresh beer usually bottoms up! If you ever drink with Vietnamese people, be prepared to get totally drunk since finishing beers in one sip was never a thing for just a casual meeting with friends!
  • Snack goes very well with beer - it’s hard to see anyone drinking beer without snacking! People usually eat fresh peanuts, spring rolls, fried chicken wings, dried chicken, or squid. Food is usually very spicy or goes with the chili which just makes you more thirsty for this magical beverage! Don't forget to try street food in Vietnam as it's the staple of Vietnamese culture.

4. Where to Drink World ‘s Cheapest Beer in Vietnam?

Finding place to drink Bia Hoi shouldn’t be a problem in some places, but still, it’s hardly possible to find it anywhere. Locals mainly consume fresh beer in North Vietnam as it originates from Hanoi. The good news is that the majority of travelers lands in either Hanoi or Saigon (HCMC) and these two cities are full of places for Bia Hoi! If it's your first time traveling in Vietnam, be sure to prepare yourself for dozens of culture shocks!

4.1. Best Places to Drink Bia Hoi in Hanoi:

Bia Hoi originates from Hanoi Capital, so it’s literally effortless to find a place to sit and drink. Alright, a place to sit can be tough to find since it’s usually filled with thirsty people. There are many places, but the best experience is around the iconic Old Quarter area.

- Beer Corner: That’s the busiest street named Ta Hien Street when it comes to drinking. People started to call this location as a 'Beer street' as once you start walking around you won’t see any other thing than beer, red chairs and a lot of spicy snacks. And yeah, you will hear a lot of cheers on Vietnamese every second!  One beer usually costs from 5,000 - 8,000 VND and it can be a tough thing to find a free chair to sit.

Come there around 5.00 pm while Vietnamese people are enjoying dinner with their families.  The only downfall of the place (in our opinion) is that the place is totally spoiled and everyone wants to make money from the fresh beer.

- Local Bia Hoi Restaurants: If you’re not looking for a specific place to try Bia Hoi, then Bia Hoi Ha Noi restaurants are perfect spots. These small, tiny local restaurants are located around the city. You can see the sign from the street and they are serving mainly fresh beer combined with simple local food that can go well with beer.  It’s worth the try and the beer is usually a bit cheaper than in Hanoi Old Quarter.

Also, the main customers in these bars are locals which gives you a unique vibe while drinking there. Be prepared to get invited by local people to their table, or they will invite themselves to your table, and get few beers more than expected!

- Bia Hoi Joint at 50 Bat Dan Street: This one is a small street filled with dozen restaurants and bars on the street where mainly locals enjoy their fresh beer and local food. There are not many foreigners, so you can definitely experience a real and authentic culture of beer drinking in Vietnam.  The glass of a fresh beer will cost you from 3,000 - 5,000 VND on this place!

4.2. Best Places to Drink Bia Hoi in Saigon:

Although the fresh beer originates from North Vietnam, it’s so popular around the country that can be easily found in Saigon too. The culture of drinking isn’t that huge like in Hanoi, but still, it’s not uncommon to see people crushing the beer until they can’t sit on the chairs anymore.  It’s very interesting information that the government occasionally bans Bia Hoi in Saigon since there are many reports of illness after consuming it.

The biggest concern is the cleanness and quality of the cheap beer since it’s easy to get spoiled, some people continue to sell it anyway. That makes a fresh beer kind of scarce in Saigon. Anyway, there are still a few known places where you can enjoy a favorite Vietnamese drink.

- Bia Sai Gon 73: This small street bar is located in the middle of Bui Vien street - a backpackers’ street in Saigon. It’s hard to miss this place since it’s overpacked with people and tiny red and blue chairs. The majority of customers there are backpackers, but still, there are some locals too, so it’s a great way to socialize and meet new friends.

This bar offers few food selections which go well with the beer!  The price of the beer is a bit higher than in Hanoi and other places, so one glass will cost you 10,000 VND.  The place is a bit spoiled with tourists, but still, it’s a lively place that will definitely provide you with an amazing experience. It’s very hot there since they have only a few fans pointing to the people, so be prepared to drink a lot!

- Bia Hoi Ha Noi: This restaurant is a trendy choice for local people who enjoy delicious food combined with a fresh beer. The place isn’t thrown in the middle of hell like the previous place we mentioned, so the atmosphere is a bit more chilled and it provides you with more authentic experience. The majority of the clients of this place is the working class who wants to get relaxed after a hard day at work.

They usually start to eat and drink around 6 pm and stay up to 11 pm. If you’re planning to visit or stay a bit longer, be prepared to get many toasts with locals! Just be ready for doing countless bottom ups with beers which will make even the most experienced drinker drunk! The beer costs from 5,000 - 8,000 VND!

Once you set your foot in Vietnam and get used to the climate, it’s time for exploration. If you really want to experience and immerse in the culture, then what could be a better way than checking local places and drink Bia Hoi with local people?

Adventure Journey

See Also:

Cheapest Beer Places in Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Cheapest Beer Places in Hanoi & Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Rate This Place

Best of Vietnam

Best Vietnamese Food You Have to Try in Vietnam

Best Vietnamese Food You Have to Try in Vietnam

Best Food in Vietnam: Vietnamese Traditional Food is top World well known to be both healthy and...

Read More

10 Best National Parks in Vietnam

10 Best National Parks in Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Guide: If you look for the Best Wildlife Discovery Experience in Vietnam, here are...

Read More
Best Souvenir to Buy in Vietnam

Best Souvenir to Buy in Vietnam

If you look for Best Things to Buy when traveling to Vietnam to bring home for your family & friends...

Read More
The 10 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam

The 10 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Guide: Home to an extensive collection of historical and cultural attractions,...

Read More
Top 10 Museums You Should Not Miss in Vietnam

Top 10 Museums You Should Not Miss in Vietnam

Vietnam, 4.000 years old country has a unique and lengthy history, culture with 54 ethnic groups. It...

Read More

Find your trip