Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bia Ahoooooyyy!!!

Bia Ahoooooy!

No matter what culture you’re from, what class you were born in to, what god you worship – there is one thing that pervades all society that leaps the cultural divide, that embraces all ethnicities and languages under one flag and that gives us all that content, warm fuzzy feeling inside: Beer. Can you feel it? I’ll say it again: Beer. Yes, matey.

I went out with a bunch of friends last night to sample bia hoi; Vietnam’s version of what could be likened to other alcoholic institutes such as the Geordie’s Brown Ale, the piss they drink in the States, or good old South African Castle Lager, or my tipple of choice, Black Label. Well not really because it's not really a brand like Tiger Beer or Larue, which are both popular here, but I'd like to think of it as an institution that exceeds the realms of "brand-dom". Bia hoi can be enjoyed anywhere, but like most good things in life (and most good beers in life); it is best served chilled, on a porch or veranda overlooking a crowded street in the company of good conversation and a buzzing atmosphere.

When it comes to bia hoi, there are three things which distinguish it from the (six)pack. Firstly, it's usually served in what the bergies (or bums, the unemployed, students, homeless, tasteless or aka my friends and I) in Stellenbosch call ‘n twee-man-kan (lit: a two-man-can; which is an one, two or three liter plastic can).

Secondly, although all bia hoi is brewed differently and contains varying levels of alcohol, it is generally low in content (between 1-4%), as was proven by us last night. Between about six of us, we managed to drink 27 litres, or 54 pints and we all felt fine.

Finally, and to some the biggest difference, is the price. Bia hoi is CHEAP. Like I’m talking cheaper than most of my friends' mothers...okay let’s not go there. Let’s take last night for example. How much would 54 pints put you back in a dirty cheap-to-reasonable pub in the UK? An average of £3, which equals a pocket-denting £162. Hmm…And in South Africa? Let’s take a pint of Castle Draught down at your local. R10. That equals to 540 Rand (About $80). How much did 27 litres of bia hoi put us back last night? Ching Ching Em Oi! Oh my sack! 94 500 Vietnam Dong. Now for those not Foreign Exchange-ingly literate, that equals to a massive $6!!!

God bless bia hoi, and of course Charlie Hops, the man who invented beer, beer, beer, tiddly bia bia bia!

10 comments:

Godknows said...

Good to know you like to drink Bia Hoi. In Hanoi, there is a Bia Hoi corner too in the old quarter.

henno said...

A whole corner just for bia hoi? Sounds too good to be true ;P That's like saying there's a Rum River in Hoi An!

alet said...

Soos jy sê "God bless bia hoi, and of course Charlie Hops..." en natuurlik Amstel Jenni from the block!!!

mullet said...

Haha, sounds classic! I wish i could find something to drink here for that price! (Something that doesn't make you go blind) You left out some important information tho head, does it actually taste good (Not often you get quality in a twee-man-kan) and how much to import the stuff to the UK. Hehe

henno said...

True true, yeah it tastes a bit *young*, if you know what I mean, because it's just been brewed, but it's really not that bad - at least not the one we tried. I'm sure some of the other ones taste like budweiser or horse piss, so it's luck of the draw - goes with the price though, doesn't it?

loesil said...

Ek kan net op Alet se deuntjie voorttokkel: Used to drink a little now I drink a lot!

Justin said...

YEEESSSS! For once a semi-inntellectual post that as you said caters for alls needs young and old (well I was young when introduced to the wonderful aromas and countless flavours of beer) and leaves everyone satisfied especially on a warm summers day at our ol' favourite - NEWLANDS!
Well dude check you in couple of weeks. Oh and should be goin solo next week sometime! Kakkin myself

Emmie said...

Net gou totally random wees en jou vertel dis nou 3:02 am in Suid-Afrika, indiepte deadline is oor 11 ure en ek is nog besig...hapi dayz...

loesil said...

Emmie, daar is niks random of vreemd daaraan nie! Ná die deadline het Bev vir ons 'n bottel bubbly oopgemaak, dit het reguit kop toe gegaan, het dié gaan wegeet in die Spur en toe vir die res van die dag gaan uitpass. Vasbyt, min dae, of sal ek sê min ure!
En Henno, as ek reg onthou het ons nog in die dae van kragonderbrekings diepte-projek gedoen? Senuwees van staal gekos!

henno said...

Ahh those were the days...

Justin - who's letting you fly a plane solo? Surely not SAAF - the people who are in charge of defending our skies?! Hmm...just remember your call sign; "159, Fuzi to ground, Fuzi to ground, we've got engine problems, mayday, mayday..."