Nê Cocktail Bar
Inside Nê Cocktail Bar.
From Nê Cocktail Bar
Hanoi's restaurants aren't the only ones getting creative.
While it might sound like something out of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," you can now enjoy several Vietnamese dishes in the form of artisan cocktails, thanks to master mixologist Pham Tien Tiep.
In a career which has seen him rise from shining shoes on the street to representing his country at international bartender competitions, Pham is now the proud owner of Nê Cocktail Bar.
Named after his son -- who is in turn named after Pham's favorite drink (a negroni) -- Nê is a chilled-out space.
“I want people to experience my drinks with all their senses.”
There's jazz instead of the usual thumping Vinahouse music, and craft cocktails instead of 50 cent bia hoi (Vietnamese draft beer).
Now emulated in bars across the city, Pham's most famous creation is the pho cocktail.
"I worked in a pho restaurant for a year, so I knew how to cook the real dish," Pham tells CNN Travel.
"Before the bartender competition in 2012, I thought: 'Why not try to make a drink with the same flavor as pho?'"
To craft the drink, Pham uses a custom-built apparatus with a three-tiered filter.
He places star anise, cinnamon and cardamom into the filters, followed by a mix of gin and Cointreau. Then he sets the mixture on fire as it runs through the filters.
"The fire cooks the cocktail, just like cooking the soup," says Pham. "Then we add coriander, and serve with chili and lime, so it's like real pho."
"I want people to experience my drinks with all their senses."