The Ultimate Guide To Vietnamese Drinking Culture

Vietnamese drinking culture is one of the most colorful in Southeast Asia. This country has a rich and diverse history with alcohol, and the culture has evolved to consider alcohol consumption as a social lubricant and a symbol of hospitality. Friends, families, and colleagues bond over a love of local and imported beer, good food, and cheer.

But there’s more to Vietnamese drinking culture than just good times – it is intertwined with traditions, respect for the elderly, and even business culture. So let’s take a closer look at the very tipsy world of Vietnamese drinking culture!


Drinking Customs And Etiquette In Vietnamese Culture

Alcohol Consumption In Vietnam Is A Communal Event

Vietnamese drinking culture is a social one!

The Vietnamese love to drink alcohol. They drink on both special occasions or even a regular day as they get off work. It’s a way to bond with friends, family, and co-workers.

You may find that some young Vietnamese people may invite you for a Hanoi Beer after meeting you for the first time, and you can take this as a sign that they want to get to know you better!

Một, Hai, Ba, Vô!

This is the one Vietnamese language phrase you should learn if you want to get into the good graces of beer drinkers in Vietnam. The phrase một, hai, ba, vô! translates to “one-two-three, cheers!” in English.

This is often said before everyone starts drinking beer and is a great way to endear yourself to locals if you are a foreigner. It is customary to toast with your drinking buddies. Still, you should always ensure everyone has their glasses full before attempting a toast.

You’ll Be Drinking Beer With Ice

For many of us, beer is often taken ice-cold straight off our bottles. Local Vietnamese beer drinkers, however, prefer to have their beer with ice. So when you order a beer in restaurants, for example, you’ll find that your beer will be served with a glass of ice.

Vietnam is often very hot, and beers don’t stay cold long – hence the ice. While some people find that the drinks are diluted due to the water from the ice, it helps the beer to go down easier – making you drink even more beer. Yum!

Drink Like A Local: All The Way Down!

Chug it down like a Vietnamese local!

As we said, the beer goes down easy – which means alcohol is consumed quite quickly on a Vietnamese drinking table! The Vietnamese do not believe in sipping and enjoying their drinks; after all, we’re not drinking fine liquor most of the time. So instead, beers are binged a single glass at a time.

For Vietnamese people, and in fact, much of the Southeast Asia community, quality takes a backseat to the buzz. People will get drunk from the nastiest rice wine they can find and still be happy!

Pair It With Vietnamese Food

Vietnamese cuisine is so good, you must have it while drinking, too! The Vietnamese love to eat while they drink beer, so expects every drinking session to feel like a buffet, as well. But don’t worry – the food is actually delicious!

Some common Vietnamese foods eaten with beer are:

Roasted peanuts đậu phộng rang
Beef jerkyThịt bò khô
Grilled chicken feet Chân gà nướng
Cold cutsNem chua
Grilled squid mực nướng

There are also various types of grilled meats usually eaten during alcohol consumption. The Vietnamese believe in having food in your belly to keep you from getting drunk too fast – which means you’ll have more time to drink beer!

Don’t Drink Without Everyone!

Once someone makes a toast, the Vietnamese drink all at once!

As mentioned earlier in the article, the Vietnamese see drinking as a community activity. You might get a few stares if you walk inside a bar in Ho Chi Minh City, take a table, and have a drink by your lonesome! Communal drinking is so ingrained in the local culture!

When drinking beer with the Vietnamese, be it at a swanky club or a street corner, it is customary to wait for everyone to have a full glass before chugging yours down. Everyone drinks together for every single toast!

But don’t worry if you’re not used to this level of alcohol consumption – no one will mind if you bow out. On your way out, though, expect a few yếu đuối (which literally means weakling) jokes.

Heavy Drinking Is A National Sport

One thing you should know about Vietnam is that people drink… a lot. Many young Vietnamese people have their first drink pretty early, as there are no age limits or sales hour restrictions on alcohol consumption.

There are rising rates of alcoholism, showing that each Vietnamese consumes up to 8.3 liters of alcohol every year – giving the impression that alcohol is a main attraction in Vietnamese culture. Alcohol is so cheap that it’s even more affordable than milk!

You may see Vietnamese men and women drinking in the early evening on the sidewalk, in bars, or on street corners. However, life goes on in Vietnam, with the local people not taking that much of an issue with everyone being drunk a lot!


Learn Vietnamese Drinking Words With The Ling App

Learn Vietnamese Language With Ling CTA

Now that you know how to kick it with the hardest beer chuggers in Vietnam, take your immersion one step further by learning Vietnamese today! Why? You could come up with all sorts of hijinks with the locals if you knew how to speak the language…

Thankfully, the Ling app has you covered. With hundreds of hours of lessons in Vietnamese and 60+ other languages, Ling gives you a way to learn a foreign language in an easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand, and hard-to-forget manner!

Get a head start on your Vietnamese language lessons today by downloading the Ling app for your iPhone or Android smartphone.

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