Drinking in Vietnam is cheap and popular, just like the country. Cafe culture is a big thing thanks to the French colonisation and the heat there means you’ll often see people chilling out and taking a few minutes to refresh.
You can drink snake blood in Vietnam. If you want to try it ask at your hostel about trips to Snake Village. For around $15 you’ll enjoy a snake buffet, rice wine, and the opportunity to kill the snake. This all sounds very weird, but I know some of you will definitely be into this. You can bite the heart out of the living snake and feel it beat in your mouth before you swallow it. You’ll be instructed to insert a knife just underneath the head and slice it open to release the blood and the bile. Then you can suck it out. Bleugh.
It might surprise you to know that Vietnam is one of the highest consumers of beer in the world. Thanks to the crazy heat in Vietnam a thirst-quenching beer is perfect. Hanoi Beer, Saigon Beer and Huda Beer are the most popular varieties and cost less than 50p each. Some of the famous beer spots include the Old Quarter in Hanoi and the Pham Ngu Lao area in Ho Chi Minh City. Sampling a tasty beer on the plastic chairs on the sidewalk is a normal pastime for locals and this is when you’ll get chance to practice your Vietnamese and get some travel tips from people in the know. The bars are called ‘Bia Hoi’ which means fresh beer – and it is just that, sometimes brewed that very day. You’re bound to stay out until the early hours chatting rubbish with fellow gappers and enjoying the cheapness of the beer.
As for wine, there are a few vineyards cultivating their crops although it’s very hard to grow crops in the tropics. If you want authentic Vietnamese wine you’ll be sampling a variety from the Dalat region. It’s worth a try, if only because it’s so cheap. If you do really want to stick with wine, there are plenty of imports to try.
If you prefer something a little more hardcore, the usual suspects can be found on the spirits shelf, although much cheaper rip off versions will be the norm. Make sure to try some ruou(pronounced zeo). It’s a rice whiskey that comes in different varieties and colours, and has a whole ritual around the serving of it. That stuff is strong though, don’t tell your mum you tried it.