Seems like Vietnamese cuisine in creeping into popularity in Singapore, with Nam Nam Noodle Bar and shops at Joo Chiat such as Long Phung leading the pack.
Need more pho? In a manner of months, more and more small outlets such as Saigon Lotus (Marina Square), Wrap & Roll (The Star & Ion Orchard), So Pho (JEM), Sen Bar & Restaurant (Geylang Road), Pho Hanoi (Serangoon North Ave 1), Saigon Vietnamese Delicacy (Geylang Road) are sprouting all over the island.
I needed dinner at Marina Square’s Dining Edition, and was ‘attracted’ to a gaudy orange, yellow, red, and yellow colour-schemed Saigon Lotus, opened by Vietnamese-Australian owner Nguyen Hien Trung who has been in Singapore for 4 years. (Okay, another reason why I chose there was because the other restaurants were crowded and this was empty.)
Compared with some of the more contemporary snazzier looking counterparts, Saigon Lotus’s décor, menu and waitresses’ uniform all had this rather olden back-to-the-past take, and does feel I am transported back to Ho Chi Minh city.
The set meal of 1 entrée, a bowl of noodles and drink at $18.30 nett is rather wallet-friendly considering this is within a shopping mall. Traditional Vietnamese drip coffee, yes!
I was not expecting much due to some previous disappointments at local Vietnamese restaurants, but Saigon Lotus’s Sliced Beef Pho was a generous portion of gratifying comforting bowl of soup noodles that could almost match up to those I tried at Vietnam.
The beef remained tender and not over-cooked, and the broth was light and satisfying with an authentic touch. The pho is not the best, but good enough for me when I am not fussy.
Other than pho, Saigon Lotus sells a range of other types of home-style noodles that may not be as commonly known here such as the Hu Tieu ($11.00 soup, $11.50 dry), a Vietnamese Pork Noodles soup with rice or egg noodles topped with sliced pork, quail egg, prawns and herbs.
They have other interesting choices such as Nem Nuong ($7.00) a starter of Vietnamese style grilled pork patties, Mi Vit Tiem, a braised duck egg noodle soup less known outside of Vietnam, and Canh Chua Ca ($25, serves 3-4), fish served in spicy-sweet tamarind broth and is topped with a myriad of chopped pineapple, okra, tomatoes, bean sprouts, coriander and Vietnamese basil.
If you are familiar with Vietnamese food, Saigon Lotus is one who probably offers more of the authentic dishes that could not be found at other restaurants here. But you know, for a restaurant to succeed, it is not always about the food.
The Dining Edition, Marina Square, 6 Raffles Boulevard, 02-100A/100B, Tel: +65 6337 4648
Opening Hours: 11am to 10pm Daily
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