Inspired by Saigon’s traditional “nhau” drinking culture – a contemporary expression of Vietnamese cuisine
October 15th, 2018
Following the successful launch of his first Saigon-based restaurant ANAN (meaning “eat, eat” ) – internationally celebrated Chef Peter Cuong Franklin has applied his creative expression of traditional Vietnamese dishes to a new level of sophistication with the recent opening of intimate dining bar NHAU NHAU (“drink, drink”). Showcasing the latest creations from Chef Peter’s kitchen – familiar Vietnamese “pho” dishes have been elevated with Chef Peter’s imaginative application of classic French cooking techniques to the traditional flavor combinations of local ingredients. Taking cues from Vietnamese nhau culture – with its similarities to Japanese izakayas, taverns and Spanish tapas bars – gathering places for friends to catch up and partake in casual dining and drinks.
Located within the same building as ANAN – appropriately set among the stalls of the inner city Cho Cu wet market, NHAU NHAU occupies an intimate space on the second floor overlooking the street market. Entering the restaurant guests encounter wall artwork by French-Vietnamese graffiti artist SUBY ONE, while the interior design is by Hong Kong-based designer Sean Dix – featuring walls surfaced with customer-designed turquoise ceramic tiles, and an impressive solid wood bar counter – complemented with custom-made tables and bar stools.
Highlights of the menu include the contemporary execution of traditional pho dishes – the pho dac biet features a rich umami broth swirled with hand-cut noodles draped with wagyu, cured quail egg, black truffle, bone marrow, and 24-hour-cooked beef rib. Dishes selected from the ANAN menu such as the beef-tartare and rice-cracker carpaccio and pork banh mi BBQ are also served. For dessert, try the house-made Marshmallow and Chocolate, slathered with peanut butter, coconut, rice cracker, and tropical fruits. Or try the Broken Lime, a decadent ball of lime-vanilla mousse that promises perfect tanginess.
True to its name NHAU NHAU – a tribute to the Vietnamese drinking culture – explores the flavors of central and northern Vietnam through liquor. Homegrown rice wines and other spirits are the highlights of the bar, along with a curation of wines, whiskeys, and tropical cocktails. Sip a local bia hoi or get adventurous with a coconut worm shot, set on a skewer over a glass of rum and coconut cream.
NHAU NHAU is found on the 2nd floor at 89 Ton That Dam – open Tuesdays to Sundays, from 5 p.m. until late hours.
NHAU NHAU cuisine & cocktails
Featured contributor: Caris Cruz
Images credit Nhau Nhau