For the past 3 weeks I’ve been backpacking in Asia. I visited China (Guangzhou), Hong Kong, South Vietnam, All of Cambodia and Thailand (Bangkok and surrounding area).
I had no idea what to expect when it came to my beer options. I knew it would be majority lager choices similar to my previous trips in Asia – Indonesia and India.
Here are the list of beers I tried in each country:
China/Hong Kong – Tsingtao, Pearl River, Sam Miguel, Asahi, perhaps a few others that had but the label in Chinese that I couldn’t read.
Vietnam – Saigon, 333, Tiger Crystal, Biere Larue Export, BGI
Cambodia – Angkor, Leo, Phnom Penh, Bayon, Ankor Smooth, Black Panther, Beerlao
Thailand – Tiger, Singha, Chang
Here are some of my observations on beer in SE Asia:
- Price = $0.75
- Percentage = 3.3% to 3.6%
- The beers came mostly in cans.
- There was a European options in Hong Kong (ie. Tetley, Kronenbourg 1664) however it was very expensive – $6-$7.
- Beer service – you had to ask for a glass everytime you ordered a beer, even at an expensive/high end restaurant.
- Price = $0.75 to $1
- Percentage = 4.0% to 4.7%
- Beers came mostly in bottles and you had the option of a big or small bottle. I didn’t find too many places with draft beer.
- Beer service – all beers game with a glass. Inside the glass was a big piece of ice taking up half the glass! At first I thought this was for touristy places. However we ate lunch at a local cafe and even the locals were served beer this way! When I took out the ice or asked for no ice they found this a bit puzzling.
- Price = $1.50 to $2, happy hour draft = $0.50
- Percentage = 5% to 8%
- Beers came in bottles and cans and were named after big cities! In Cambodia I had my first Ale – Black Panther (8%)! It was in a local food market and was recommended by a local as being ‘The best beer in Cambodia.’
- In the local restaurants they serve salted fried worms as a beer snack.
- Beer service– Again no beers came with a glass unless you asked or if it was happy hour draft beer.
- Price = $2.00 to $3.00, Pitcher = $6
- Percentage = 5% – 7.6%
- Beers came mostly in draft form in almost all restaurants – Usually only one option – Chang, which apparently won a Gold Metal at the Australia International beer awards, as indicated on the pitcher.
- Beer service– Almost all Pitchers came with 2 frozen glasses !!!
In General I observed that all restaurants we went to you have the option of beer or cocktails. Wine wasn’t readily available. Our final night in China we were looking for a place that served wine. We went to 3 places and we were unsuccessful! We were told if we want wine we need to bring our own.
I think the best beer I had was Ankor Smooth which I found in North Cambodia only and came in a can. The second best would be Chang – served in a non-frozen glass.
Lastly, here are a few beer pictures: