French culture is never far from the surface in Vietnam, whose nightlife capital Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is trading up from baguettes to designer handbags. Wine is also gaining devotees among Saigon’s small but growing middle class.
Drinking alcohol has always been an acceptable custom in HCMC and alcohol is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the food and beverage market. Vietnam is Asia’s third largest market for beer, behind Japan and China.
In 2016, it accounted for nearly 97% of the country’s alcohol consumption and it is projected to reach 4.84b L by 2020. Afternoon ‘bia hoi’ (catching up for cheap draft beer) is a popular male ritual.