Vietnamese food has been slowly charming our Singapore landscape and to make Vietnamese food more acceptable and accordance to our local taste, Pho Street and their new Vietnamese chef whipped up some new dishes and styled it to suit out local taste buds.
Pho Street recently launched a whole new menu with many signature Ho Chi Minh street food items as well as home-cooked food from the humble kitchens of the Vietnamese.
I haven’t really been to Vietnam even though it is one of the places in the World on my bucket list, so I invited a friend along (I’ll call him M here for privacy sake) for this food tasting to get a truthful comparison on local Vietnam food vs. Pho Street.
Vietnamese fresh summer rolls with Prawn, Pork Belly and Fresh Herbs
This Chef’s take on the vietnamese roll is filled with fresh greens, carrots, rice noodles and fresh prawns and boiled pork belly. Unlike many other vietnamese summer rolls I have tasted in different restaurants, this one has less fragrant herb leaves, which is one of the biggest factor many Singaporeans may shun vietnamese food. The amount of fragrant herbs was just nice, not giving a punch but just a little to perfume the gently made rolls wrapped in glassy rice-paper.
Crispy Fried Chicken Mid-Wings
This crispy fried chicken mid-wings are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. What is interesting is that the crispy batter of the chicken wings has cracked black pepper in it, giving the crispy wings a punch on the spices. While eating it plain can be a pleasure, for those who loves a good saucy spicy punch needs to take a step up and dip those wings into the chilli sauce.
The sauce itself is heavy on the pepper, coupled with a flavourful fish sauce base; making this an absolute zing and tangy sauce.
I was told that in Vietnam, this particular dish was deep fried then stir-fry with the sauce so that the wings were coated with that tangy sauce instead of being served separated; but to cater to Singaporeans’ taste buds, hence this dish was served this way.
Vietnamese Snack Platter
Pho Street also serves a good size Vietnamese Snack Platter (two pieces of each, instead of one here) that gives us an overview of the street food in Vietnam.
From Top: Roasted Chicken Skewers, Vietnamese Crab cakes and Crispy Fried Pork Rolls.
Roasted Chicken Skewers
The taste of those skewers reminded me of it being half satay and half korean bbq skewers. While black pepper is also a huge condiment here, the taste of the skewers have a slight hint of what char siew is like, with lots of pepper. The skewers also had a balanced mix of skin with chicken meat.
Vietnamese Crab Cakes
Interestingly, these crab cakes have what I called “mummy taste”, reminds me of good o’ home cooked food. A good mash of pork, mushroom, wood-ear fungus and spring onions and of course crab meat, this crab cake is deep fried to simple goodness. While all the goodness is listed, there is little crab taste to it.
Crispy Fried Pork Rolls
Peppery chewy mince pork meat with yam encased in deep-fried golden imported crispy beehoon spring roll wrapper, this is definitely my favourite of the three. Interestingly, this is best eat while it is hot for the wrappers tend to harden when cool, which may end up with some plasticky feeling in your mouth.
If you are a fiery dragon, chances are these sauces may be overwhelming. The clear chilli dip, seemingly familiar looking to the thai sweet chilli sauce is naught. Same goes for the chilli sauce. But if you can handle your sambals and those chilli padis, then o’brave knights, please go ahead and challenge yourself.
Sesame rice crackers with fragrant minced meat and spices dip
WARNING: Highly Addictive
I almost wanted to ask the chef for the recipe of that minced meat dip. Seriously. According to the staff at Pho Street, this dish has its humble beginnings from the family kitchen. It is usually made when there are guests in the house as an appetiser to share.
The minced meat dip displayed flavours of turmeric, spring onions, lemongrass and chilli. The whole concoction reminded me of our local heh-bee hiam, just a different version. The sesame crackers were imported from Vietnam.
I could have this in a big tub for movie or soccer nights and definitely be a great hit.
Beef Combi Pho
This is where my friend M’s taste buds come to play. I don’t eat beef due to religious reasons, but that does not stop me from bringing some of my friends who are more well verse in the taste of beef than myself. M has travelled to Vietnam before and his taste buds bring back the benchmark of local taste, thus I have invited him to help me chow down this beef pho from Pho Street.
A man of few words, he did describe that the sauces are the highlight of the pho. The bowl itself was a little bland but once that dark brown dip was in the soup, the entire bowl changes its character.
He did mentioned, of course, nothing compares to sitting by the roadside of Ho Chi Min enjoying a bowl of hot piping pho, but if there was a need for that craving, this bowl can help ease the longing.
Dry Rice Vermicelli with roasted pork chop & spring roll
This is one of my favourite vietnamese dish to order in whichever Vietnamese restaurant I go to and each restaurant’s version of dry vermicelli differs with the items added in the bowl as well as the chilli sauce itself.
As I am not a chilli/spicy person — my tolerance level is close to zero, thus I am skeptical to try this at first because that chilli was the same base as the one served with the platter.
NO-SOIREE! It took a little convincing from M to try this. Surprisingly, I was able to finish this bowl of spicy noodles. Although the burn did kick in like after a few mouthfuls, I was still able to hold the spiciness with a couple glasses of water and a refreshing drink.
The crunchiness of fresh vegetables, coupled with the nutty peanuts and the o’ damn spicy chili, it was still pretty refreshing yet a kick out of that feisty zesty sauce. Overall a good combination. The pork chop did have the reminiscent of that roasted pork skewers in the snack platter but a huge piece of pork chop was truly satisfying. Of course, how can I missed the pork spring rolls? Those are my favourite too.
Lemon Cooler with Peppermint and Basil
This sweet fizzy lemonade based drink with a highlight on basil and the refreshing peppermint seeping through its leaves brought much refreshment to a hot day. This is one of the new drink offering by Pho Street which I liked.
The genuine sincerity of the chef of Pho Street bringing in more options of Vietnam food to Singapore and catering to local taste did impressed me. There are more dishes on the menu now compared to the old menu and much more left to be explored.
The new menu is now offered at both outlet, Westgate mall and Bedok Mall.
311 New Upper Changi Road
#B1-40 Singapore 467360
Mon – Thurs : 11.00am – 10.00pm
Last Order at 9.30pm
Fri – Sun : 11.00am – 10.30pm
Last Order at 10.00pm
3 Gateway Drive
#B2-K6/K7 Singapore 608532
Mon – Sun : 11:30am – 10:00pm
Last order at 9:30pm