If you are looking for authentic, pho-real Vietnamese fare, Mrs Pho is one of your best options. Its first two outlets at Beach Road and Rangoon Road have received quite positive feedback, well-liked by both hipsters and the Vietnamese community in Singapore.
Mr Pho’s new outlets at VivoCity and 313@somerset (next to Tsuta Japanese Dining), serves up casual Vietnamese dishes and home-style communal dishes at wallet-friendly prices.
Founded by Hoang who grew up as a refugee in Australia, Mrs Pho is more than just a place that churns out Vietnamese classics. Each recipe is a page in history, a slice of Vietnamese culture.
It is the story of how each dish was selflessly prepared in Hoang’s household, its taste a replica of his mother’s cooking.
To achieve that taste, most of the ingredients are sourced from Vietnam for the most genuine execution.
Everything is made in-house, from the broth – the foundation of an excellent pho, to the sauces (other than those bottled ones).
Even the nuoc (beverages) are freshly concocted and proudly homemade. You won’t find fusion-style dishes in the menu. Just straightforward, traditional Vietnamese food. Here’s what you can expect at Mrs Pho:
Special Beef Combo Pho ($9.90)
Feeling you deserve comforting treat? Get the Special Beef Combo Pho, a warm, hearty bowl of silky flat rice noodles in a rich beef soup. (By the way, “Pho” is one of the most commonly mispronounced food words, and should be “fuh”.)
That broth has been boiled for 12 hours, long enough to extract all the beefy goodness.
Meat lovers will rejoice with all the meat they are getting – lean cuts of beef flank and brisket, plus beef balls, and tripe.
The crunchy beansprouts, mint leaves, onion, and sliced chili balance this dish with freshness and a kick of heat.
Fresh rice noodles are used (contrasted with the dry types which are more common), so there will be that smooth, slippery feel.
Indeed one of the best Pho you can find in Singapore. And for a price below $10 in air-conditioned comfort within a mall, this is quite a good deal.
Hue Spicy Beef Noodle Soup ($8.90)
Veer away from the classic pho and try this Bun Bo Hue aka Spicy Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup, featuring an umami-rich broth with a subtle sweet taste.
The sprinkling of fresh basil leaves and other veggies add a refreshing component to the soup, a balance of spice, savoury and sweetness.
If the level of spice is not too challenging, you can always top it up with more chilies.
Mrs Pho Dry Noodle Combo ($9.90)
While the broth is the boss in any mean pho, the noodles deserve much of your attention.
The Mrs Pho Dry Noodle Combo will allow you to savour the delicateness of the restaurant’s house-made noodles.
As this is a dry version, you might miss out the consoling warmth of soup. But then, change is good sometimes.
For its price, you get quite a sizable portion of ingredients, from grilled pork, meatballs, spring rolls to loads of greens and carrots, further sprinkled with chopped peanuts.
What you get is a sweet, only-spicy sauce to be poured all over, then toss the noodles up like a salad. Quite refreshing.
Mamma’s Chicken Ham ($4.90)
Exclusively available at the new VivoCity outlet, Mamma’s Chicken Ham is a recommended appetizer.
This is a special dish with recipe created by owner Hoang’s mother.
This chicken ham, made from minced chicken marinated with spices, is wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf.
It is served sliced and fried for that extra flavour. Dip it into the accompanying sweet and spicy sauce, or eat plain – you should taste a burst of black pepper in every bite.
A traditional snack in Vietnam, this chicken ham goes well with Moc Noodle Soup – another new item in the menu which showcases light noodle broth, sweetened with slices of fresh onion.
Mrs Pho Cockles ($8.90)
I have never eaten cockles on its own (other than being in Char Kway Teow and Laksa) for a number of years.
Mrs Pho Cockles should satisfy those cravings. This Vietnamese-style seafood is typically served as a street food.
Here, an order gets you a claypot of fresh blood cockles stir-fried in aromatic garlic and pork lard, then sprinkled with dried chilies for some heat.
PLEASE have the cockles with your hands (struggling with any utensils will be futile).
There are a number of ways to eat this: on its own; with a dipping sauce; or wrapped with a mint leaf – try it.
If you want, pair this with a drink the way they do in the eateries along Saigon’s streets.
Fresh Star Fruit and Beef Salad ($8.50)
Ever had star fruit in a salad before?
A light and refreshing choice, this salad is one of Mrs Pho’s signature dishes. It is an assembly of thin slices of tender beef and fresh star fruit, creating a balance of zesty and umami flavours.
For that needed crunch, it is accompanied with the famous Soc Trang prawn crackers. So what you do is to ‘wrap’ the salad within the cracker – like what you would do with tacos, and take an entire bite with a crunch.
Mrs Pho Fried Spring Rolls ($3.90)
This classic starter is a must-order especially for first-timers. It is one of the quintessential Vietnamese dishes, and your cultural immersion is not complete without these delightful spring rolls, deep-fried to a crisp and served with a sweet spicy dip.
Grilled Lemongrass Beef Sticks ($5.90)
This kebab-style beef is actually “skewered” with a stick of lemongrass.
This aromatic herb is quite functional, not to mention it serves as a powerful seasoning for the meat.
The chunky beef has been marinated in lemongrass essence before it was wrapped around the stick for grilling. Juicy on the inside, well-marinated and smoky on the outside.
Saigon Salty Lemonade ($3.90)
Complement your meal with this house-specialty drink, a popular Vietnamese favourite made from preserved lemons.
Named after the iconic city of Saigon, it is the perfect palate cleanser as you hop from one dish to another.
Avocado Smoothie ($5.90)
This smoothie may sound like a drink, but this is how to wrap up your cultural trip on a creamy note.
Enjoy this ‘dessert’ with a cup of strong brewed coffee, the way it’s often presented in Vietnam.
The intense flavour of coffee is mellowed with the creaminess of the avocado, similar to the Italian Affogato.
Moving on to the décor, you would realise that the mood remains both modern and street-like. That “cramped” setting is intentional and part of the experience.
The lanterns and bamboo beads, very typical of a Vietnamese home, add to the cosy feel of the place.
There are a number of different seating arrangements, from the booth seats, metallic tables and chairs, to those at the counter. You actually sit facing the mall’s walkway, so you can have your Pho and watch the world go by – just like in the streets of Vietnam.
Mrs Pho is a tribute to all the Vietnamese mothers, grandmothers and aunties who feed their family with love.
Pay them a visit and experience how they feed you like family, with a spread of home-style dishes.
Mrs Pho – VivoCity
VivoCity #B2-29A, 1 Harbourfront Drive, Singapore 098585
Opening hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Mrs Pho – 313@somerset
313 Orchard Rd, #01-16, 313@somerset, Singapore 238895
Opening hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with Mrs Pho.