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National Drinks: Regional tipples across Southeast Asia

Last time we presented our pick of the best street food in five Southeast Asian countries; now we’ve got some recommendations for washing it all down.

Teh tarik 

Bia hoi: If you like draft beer and you like it cheap, Vietnam’s your place. Bia hoi (literally, “gas beer”) can be bought on street corners and small bars across the country. It’s a light (around three percent) lager that usually costs around 20 US cents for a small glass. Beer ahoy!

Teh tarik: This sweet combo of black tea and condensed milk is “pulled” back and forth between two vessels in a long, high stream until it froths up, ready to serve in a glass cup. For a ginger kick, ask for teh halia. This type of tea is also popular in Singapore.

The bucket: A common sight at Koh Phangan parties and on Bangkok’s Khao San Road, these plastic sand-buckets of booze (usually a variation on Thai whiskey, Coke, Red Bull and ice) intended for sharing can be fun. They can also be damaging: tread warily.

Singapore Sling: Different versions of the famous reddish-pink long drink exist but the iconic Raffles Hotel version includes gin, cherry brandy, Cointreau, Bénédictine, pineapple juice, lime juice and more. Sadly, Raffles pre-mixes its Slings these days.

Kopi luwak:  There’s a theory that, because the weasel-like civet of Indonesia has a good eye for coffee berries, selecting only the best ones to eat, the leftover coffee beans that it subsequently defecates must also be of high quality. The result is kopi luwak: extremely expensive coffee made from these same beans. We might stick with a Bintang.