You won't go thirsty in Vietnam where there's a lively drinking culture, with everything from specialist cafes to Starbucks, craft ale pubs to sky bars. Vietnamese clubs tend to favour over-amplified, aggressive techno with little concession for Western tastes.
Beer is ubiquitous in Vietnam. Sooner or later every traveller succumbs to bia hoi (‘fresh’ or draught beer) – local brews served straight from the keg for a pittance (from 5000d) from specialist streetside bars. If you’re looking to pay a little more, Saigon and Huda brands are decent, and La Rue, brewed on the central coast, is quite good. Expect to pay 20,000d to 25,000d for a beer in an ordinary bar, and at least double that in a lounge.
A new craft-beer scene is sweeping the nation, but is strongest in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, where you'll find many specialist pubs and bars perfect for quaffing an IPA, dark ale or wheat beer. Prices start at around 50,000d a glass.
Vietnam distills a number of its own spirits. Distilled sticky-rice wine called ruou is often flavoured with herbs, spices and fruits (and even animals such as snakes and lizards). Travel to the northern highlands and you may be offered ruou can, sherry-like rice wine drunk through long bamboo straws from a communal vessel.
Coffee & Tea
Vietnam is the world's second-biggest coffee producer. Whiling away a morning or an afternoon over endless glasses of iced coffee, with or without milk (caphe sua da or caphe da), is something of a ritual for Vietnam’s male population. Espresso coffee is also available in all the cities and tourist destinations.
The preparation, serving and drinking of tea (tra in the south and che in the north) has a social importance. Serving tea in the home or office is more than a gesture of hospitality; it is a ritual.
Fruit juices and drinks of every flavour are widely available. Interesting local options include mia da, a freshly squeezed sugar-cane juice that's especially refreshing served over ice with a squeeze of kalamansi.
Sinh to are fresh-fruit smoothies blended to order.