Hanoi's unique bia hoi glasses

Thanh Nien News

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A village in a nearby province has been making it for the beer shops and no one else since the 1960s


For fans of Hanoi's famous fresh beer, or bia hoi, the rough looking glasses that are used to serve the beer must be just as fascinating.
Otherwise, beer shop owners will not go all the way to Xoi Tri village in Nam Dinh Province, dozens of kilometers away, to specifically procure these glasses -- a practice believed to date back to the 1960s.
Though Xoi Tri was famous as a glass-making village decades ago when 85 percent of residents did the job, now only three families make glass products, including the bia hoi glasses which they only produce on order.
  A huge pile of glass shards in the yard of Pham Ngoc Han's house. Han and his family are among the three last glass makers in Xoi Tri.
  Glass shards are broken into smaller pieces of uniform size.
  Then they are filtered to remove residues.
  The glass shards are melted in a furnace for around six hours.
  Melted glass is removed from the furnace with a tube which is later used during the stage of blowing to shape the glass.
  Only masters can blow glass.
  Before the blowing stage, the melted glass is placed in a steel mold.
  Workers who are yet to master blowing skills are always at the blow worker's side to perform the next steps once the glass is ready.
  One of the steps after blowing is to cut the glass's rim.
  The glass is kept at a fixed temperature during the stage of rim cutting. .
  A specialized gas oven is used to maintain the glass's temperature.
  Pham Van Linh, a glass maker, says only people with good health can work in such a hot and toxic environment.
  After rim cutting, the glass is moved to room temperature. Then workers use a bottle to refine its shape.
  The hot glass is buried under ashes so that it does not cool down quickly, or else it will crack or break.
  The glass makers say only Hanoi shop owners order these glasses these days. In the past they wanted 500 ml glasses, but now prefer them smaller.
  These rough-looking glasses can only be found in Hanoi bia hoi shops and nowhere else, not even at Xoi Tri village where they are made.
Original Vietnamese story by Le Anh Dung. It can be found here on VietNamNet.

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