Kathy asked this question about Ba Muoi Ba beer …
Question: I remember being told that Ba Muoi Ba beer meant 33 in Vietnamese, and that number represented the percentage of formaldehyde in the beer.
Do you know if this is true?
Kathy, the original Ba Muoi Ba beer’s actual name was “33 Export”. It came in a large brown glass bottle with a picture of a Tiger on it and the words “33 Export”. Hence, it was commonly referred to and ordered by asking for “Ba Muoi Ba” (33). I doubt anyone actually knows for sure why it was named “33 Export” (other then the manufacturer). Most accounts say the “33” in the name referred to it’s alcohol content of 3.3%. It became popular in Vietnam because it was “cheap” and it was “everywhere”. It was a very low quality beer to put it mildly … LOL … it was just a ‘hair’ from being classified as ‘green’ beer. It was also known by many other ‘nic’ names, which I’ll not repeat here … in front of the ladies. LOL …
As to it having formaldehyde in it … no it didn’t. That is just one of the many, many, manyyyyyyyyy stories that were made up about it, because of it’s LOW quality. It varied greatly in flavor … from sweet to bitter to watery to sometimes having a taste like formaldehyde … among other strange tastes … lol.
The only reason anyone drank it, is because it was ALWAYS available, it was CHEAP, and you got a BIG bottle of it for a few cents USD$. Higher quality and name brand beers were very expensive and in very limited supply in Vietnam.
The original “33 Export” is no longer made. But, there is now a “333 Export” beer in Vietnam. Most accounts from those who have tried it, say it is about the same quality as the old Ba Muoi Ba. LOL … I guess if you order “333 Export” you say “Ba Ba Ba” … LOL … also, there is a “33 Export” beer made and sold outside of Vietnam … so, in Vietnam you get “333” but outside of Vietnam you get “33” … lol … these new ones are made by Hieneken (France). “333” and “33” are both the same beer. They are a pale lager now. They are not the same as the original “33 Export” made back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in Vietnam. After trade was opened up again with Vietnam there was a big push by beer breweries to start making the popular Vietnam beers of the past and marketing them as International beers around the world. Hence, you now find “33 Export”, “Saigon” and “Tiger” beers sold around the world. But they are not the same as the original ones previously brewed in Vietnam.
The reason most of us Saigon Kids drank it is because it was easy to order in the bars and cheap. And, at 14 to 18 years old, we really didn’t know much about beer (other then how to drink it) … Plus, we didn’t know how to speak enough Vietnamese to ask for QUALITY brand beers … it was just easier to say “Ba Muoi Ba” … and the NON-English speaking bar girls knew what we meant and wanted … lol
But, if you drank enough of it, it would get you drunk! LOL … Trust me I speak from experience … LOL 🙂
Anyone else have any knowledge about Ba Muoi Ba beer?