Vietnamese food is the hot trend in Singapore now and it’s not all pho and spring rolls. The Simply Her team brings you the best places to enjoy it.
Must-tries at this deli (L-R): the Saigon Baguette and grilled chicken noodles
BAGUETTE – The VIET-INSPIRED DELI
Address: #01-54/54A International Plaza, 10 Anson Road, Tel: 6223 1839.
Open weekdays, 10am-6.30pm. Closed on weekends.
Drop by this cafe for delish banh mi, or Vietnamese baguette sandwiches. Their signature Saigon Baguette (from $3.70 for a mini 4-inch) is filling and tasty. The freshly made bread is buttery and crispy on the outside while soft on the inside. It’s filled with three slices of Oriental-spiced Australian ham, pate, parsley, cucumber, and marinated vegetables made in-house. Top it off with a hot Viet Drip Coffee ($3.20), a Vietnamese-style espresso, drunk black or with condensed milk. Go easy on the milk, though – it’s very sweet. – Azlinda Said, senior features writer
Pho Bo ($18) and grilled duck breast ($22) at Little Saigon
Address: Block E, #01-02 Clarke Quay, River Valley Road, Tel: 6337 5585
Open Sun to Thur, 5pm-1am; Fri, Sat & eve of public holidays, 5pm-2am
This restaurant by day and bar-cum-restaurant by night serves up an extensive menu of favourites like Cha Gio Tuoi ($14) – fresh spring rolls wrapped with herbs, vermicelli, and shrimp around a centre of roast pork, as well as Pho Bo ($18), rice noodles tender beef slices and beef brisket in broth. A light dish is Vit Nuong Mam Gung ($22), tender and delicately grilled duck breast with ginger sauce.
There’s a yummy range of deep-fried fare as well. The Dui Ech Chien Bo ($16) or deep-fried frog legs, is served with onion and butter sauce. It tastes like darn good chicken, only the meat is much more tender and smooth. Down it with Saigon Kick ($15), a blend of vodka, lime juice, egg white, sugar syrup, strawberries and chillies. It’s served with a slice of chilli. Take a sip, if you dare. – Azlinda
Hard-to-resist (L-R): Bun ($6.50) and pork meatball sandwich ($5.50) at Sandwich Saigon
Address: 93 East Coast Road, Tel: 6345 3849
Open Mon to Fri, 11.30am- 2.30pm, 5.30-10pm; Sat & Sun, 11.30am-10pm
This cosy 20-plus seater draws a lunchtime crowd, who come for the banh mi. I loved their best-selling Pork Meatball Sandwich ($5.50) – the meatballs are juicy, with a flavourful, slightly peppery marinade. The Fried Spring Rolls in Rice Net Wrap ($4) are made with minced pork and corn kernels – they’re crisp and go well with the sweet-and-spicy dip. Another must-try is the Bun ($6.50). These are dry Vietnamese rice noodles with fried spring rolls, pork chop, shredded vegetables and mixed with the same sweet-and-spicy sauce. – Cheryl Leong, features writer
Hanoi chicken pho ($7.20) and homemade coconut ice-cream ($3) at Pho Stop
Address: 21 Tanjong Pagar Road, Tel: 6221 4001
Open Mon to Wed, 11.30am-10pm; Thur to Fri, 11.30am-11pm; Sat, 7pm-12.30am (only serves snacks, drinks and desserts).
This chic eatery offers seven types of pho and my fave was the hearty and comforting Hanoi Chicken Pho ($7.20) – soft, silken noodles in a light broth, topped with a generous serving of tender shredded chicken. The Beef Brisket and Beef Balls Pho ($8), with thinly sliced beef and plump beef balls in a briny broth, is a crowd favourite. You get the usual sides of beansprouts, chilli padi and mint leaves with each bowl of pho. If you have a sweet tooth, try their Homemade Coconut Ice-cream ($3), served in a jar. – Cheryl
Specialties at Caphe East (L-R): Banh xeo, chili lemongrass beef noodle and pineapple fritters
Address: 922 East Coast Road, Tel: 6245 0153
Open Tues to Fri, 12-2.30pm, 6-10.30pm; weekends, 11.30am-10.30pm
This family-run business (the cook is the owner’s mother and the menu boasts well-loved family recipes) is a cosy affair, from its simple decor, to the friendly service and hearty dishes. I fell in love with the day’s special, Chilli Lemongrass Beef Noodle ($11). Made up of tiny slices of lemongrass, carrots, lettuce, red chillies, and peanut chunks on a bed of rice vermicelli with fish sauce poured over, the dish was a good balance of sweet and tangy flavours. Also try their palate cleansing banh xeo – a savoury pancake stuffed with beansprouts, prawns, sliced pork and onions, served with homemade fish sauce.
Don’t pass up on dessert. Have their Pineapple Fritters ($6) – two deep-fried pineapple slices, lightly covered with maple syrup and eaten with vanilla ice cream on the side. Divine. Also dip into the Vietnamese coffee ice cream ($3.50 per scoop) for an instant perk-me-up. It’s a thick, dark and milky sweet treat made with Vietnamese coffee beans, so you get bits of ground coffee with every bite. – Azlinda
All eateries are in Singapore; all pricing information was correct at the time of the magazine’s publication. We advise readers to check with the outlets for the latest availability and information.
This article was originally published in Simply Her November 2012.