If there’s one thing that I can eat for the rest of my lifetime, it’s pho. This simple bowl of noodle soup, which started out as a street-side meal sold by itinerant vendors in Vietnam, has grown in immense popularity and warmed the hearts and tummies of folks from all over the world.
The key to pho is in the broth: a clear, yet incredibly full-bodied soup that is achieved by simmering beef or chicken bones all day, and topped with plenty of herbs and spices such as star anise, cinnamon and cardamom. Gosh, my mouth is already watering just imagining it!
We hope you’re not reading this on an empty stomach, because here are the 10 best spots in Singapore where you can head to for an authentic bowl of pho.
May Pho Culture might be a bit of a hidden gem, but it’s well known amongst the Vietnamese community here in Singapore, with many attesting to its authenticity. It’s no wonder, as its lady chef hails from Ho Chi Minh!
You can find this quaint restaurant at Fook Hai Building, a quiet commercial building nestled at the corner of Upper Hokien Street and South Bridge Road in Chinatown. Note that though this eatery occupies two stories, it still can get pretty squeezy especially during lunch time, so it’s best to come early to avoid long queues.
May Pho Culture’s pho starts from its cheapest, the Chicken Meat Pho (S$8.90), and goes all the way up to its priciest Beef Tenderloin Pho (S$17.90).
The broth is a wonder of its own, and each sip was so robust and full of flavour. It was savoury and salty, but it was packed with such a deliciously earthy richness that I resisted the urge to lift the bowl up by my hands and slurp it up. The strong flavours were balanced out by a herby fragrance, making this a perfectly well-rounded soup that I’d gladly come back for again.
150 South Bridge Rd, Fook Hai Building, #01-16, Singapore 058727
+65 9646 2589
Wed to Mon: 11.30am – 9pm
Closed on Tue
2. Vietnamese Delight Pho 99
Those working in Amoy Street will definitely know of Vietnamese Delight Pho 99, a quiet but well-loved pho joint at the corner of Amoy Street. You seriously can’t miss it— it’s located diagonally across Amoy Street Food Centre, and its green signages give it away immediately.
Knowing how busy the lunch crowd can be at Amoy Street, the folks here at Vietnamese Delight Pho 99 have nailed their operations down to tee. You can expect quick and efficient service, all coupled with delicious, soul-warming bowls of pho.
Pick between crowd favourites such as Pho Ga (S$11), aka chicken noodle soup, or Pho Bo Vien Nam (S$12.50), which is sliced beef with balls. If you’re not feeling up for pho, you can try its Bun Cha Gio (S$12), which is deep-fried spring rolls served with vermicelli and homemade chilli sauce.
The next time you’re shopping at Orchardgateway, be sure to pop by basement 2 to check out Signs A Taste Of Vietnam Pho, a quaint joint owned by a hearing-impaired Vietnamese couple, Anthony and Angela.
Signs A Taste Of Vietnam Pho offers four types of pho— beef, chicken, pork and vegetarian.
We recommend you try its Sliced Beef Ribeye Pho (S$9), a bowl of pho that features beef slices swimming in a combination of coriander and beef broth, the latter of which permeated the air with its aromatic fragrance. Apart from the explosive broth, the tender beef ribeye was also very thinly sliced, which made it super easy to chew.
277 Orchard Road, Orchard Gateway, #B2-15, Singapore 238858
+65 8685 4838
Mon to Sat: 11am – 8.30pm
Closed on Sun
The concept behind Mrs Pho House is a heartwarming one. The name, “Mrs Pho”, is inspired by the fact that most Vietnamese folks have their own ‘Mrs Pho’— be it a grandmother, mother or aunt— whom they affectionately crown as the best cook in the family or neighbourhood.
Eating ‘Mrs Pho’s’ dishes feels like a homecoming, and Mrs Pho House built their restaurant on this ideal— where they aim to feed you like family.
Mrs Pho House has five outlets all over Singapore, including 313@Somerset, Takashimaya and VivoCity, all of which serve classics such as Sliced Beef and Brisket Pho (S$8.90) and Wagyu Pho (S$14.90).
Be sure to pair your pho with Mrs Pho Fried Spring Roll (S$3.90) or Fresh Summer Roll (S$5.90) for a complete experience!
5. Super Ngon Vietnamese Noodle Cafe
Super Ngon Vietnamese Noodle Cafe is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant located along Crawford Lane near Lavender, specialising in pho.
This place is pretty small and can only seat up to 30 people at one time, but when paired with its simple decor that consists of Vietnamese nón lá (aka conical hats) on walls, it will really make you feel like you’ve just stepped into a pho eatery in Ho Chi Minh.
As with such a small eatery, you can expect its menu to be lean and concise. There are only three pho items on the menu: Beef Noodle Soup (S$7.50 for small, S$8.50 for regular, S$9.50 for special), Chicken Noodle Soup (S$7.50) and Chicken Glass Noodle Soup (S$7.50). Note that its pho follows the style from Hanoi, which adds more celery and spring onions for that extra herby touch.
There’s only one side dish— Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls (S$4.50 for 2 pieces), but you can also choose to pair your meal with either Vietnamese Ice Tea (S$1) or Vietnamese Drip Coffee (Hot/Ice) (S$4).
6. Moc Quan
If you work at or near UE Square, you’ll know which Vietnamese pho restaurant this is. In fact, just walking along the open walkway of this restaurant will be enough to catch a whiff of the delicious savoury broth.
This is Moc Quan, a Vietnamese restaurant, coffee house and sandwich bar. All its ingredients are imported from Vietnam weekly, and its recipes are from street-side vendors from Vietnam. You might be shocked to know that they even imported a whole oven from Vietnam just to re-create banh mi!
Considering that Moc Quan is located right in the heart of Fort Canning, its prices remain pretty affordable. It offers four types of Pho Bo (beef pho): Sliced Beef (S$11.50), Brisket (S$12.50), Beef Meat Balls (S$13.50) and Mixed Beef (S$14.90).
You can also go for its other pho offerings, such as Bun Rieu (S$14.50), which features fresh Vietnamese rice noodles in a broth made of freshwater soft crab and tomato. This traditional Vietnamese dish is topped with topshell, tofu, kang kong, bean sprouts and vegetables.
7. Làng Nướng Việt Nam
Dining at Lang Nuong Viet Nam is a real vibe in itself. Located along Foch Road, this restaurant mimics the Vietnamese style of street-side dining. All its furniture, cutlery, wall fans, clay stoves and signage are imported from Vietnam!
They claim to be one of Singapore’s first traditional Vietnamese BBQ restaurants, and specialise in street-style barbecued meats. Its name, “Lang Nuong Viet Nam”, can be translated to “Vietnam BBQ” or “Grill village”.
But of course, you should come here and try its traditional pho. Go for the Sliced Beef Pho (S$15) or Chicken Pho (S$12), or even the Phnom Penh Clear Rice Noodle (S$15) if you’re craving something a little lighter.
The rest of its menu covers a variety of barbecued meats, seafood dishes and side dishes, so depending on what you’re craving at that particular moment, there’s definitely something for you and your dining companions.
18 Foch Rd, Singapore 209260
+65 9235 3548
Daily: 12pm – 11pm
8. Long Phung Vietnamese Restaurant
Long Phung Vietnamese Restaurant might not look fancy, but it certainly serves up authentic bowls of Vietnamese pho. It’s located along Joo Chiat Road, and has been operating since 2009. Be prepared for long queues!
What’s interesting about Long Phung’s pho options is the ability to pick between different doneness for your beef. For example, there’s the Pho Tai (S$8.50), which is served with rare beef, and the Pho Nam (S$8.50), which uses well-done beef.
Those looking for an all-rounded pho dish can go for the Pho Dac Biet (S$9.90), aka the special noodle soup, which includes all types of beef.
159 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427436
+65 6440 6959
Thu to Tue: 12pm – 11pm
Closed on Wed
Decked out in Tiffany blue furniture and with flowers streaming along its walls, Co Hai Banh Mi might look like any other dessert cafe, but it’s actually a long-established eatery serving up a wide variety of Vietnamese street food.
It’s most well known for its banh mi— in fact, it makes its own bread and supplies it to other restaurants and eateries— but it also serves up a mean bowl of pho.
Co Hai Banh Mi offers 16 different types of pho, ranging from the classic Sliced Beef Noodle Soup (S$10) to Sliced Pork Bucatini Noodle Soup (S$10) and even Paddy Crab with Thick Rice Noodle Soup (S$12)!
If you have the stomach space for it, you should most definitely try its banh mi as well, which features homemade baguette. There’s also plenty of choices to pick from, such as Mix Vegetables Baguette (S$9) to the iconic Roasted Pork & Pate Baguette (S$10).
10. Little Vietnam
How do you know if a Vietnamese restaurant is truly as authentic as they say? Just take a look at its customers and its staff, and if the majority of them are Vietnamese, you know you’ve struck the jackpot. This is the case for Little Vietnam, an unassuming yet really popular spot for pho. You can find it tucked away within Grandlink Square along Guillemard Road, just a short walk from Paya Lebar MRT.
Little Vietnam serves up a range of Vietnamese dishes, starting with its pho. A must-try is its signature Pho Tai (S$8.20), which features sliced beef or shin with flat noodles. There are also other meat types and combinations, such as the Pho Dac Biet (S$9.30), which uses a combination of beef including sliced beef, brisket and beef balls.
Be sure to try Little Vietnam’s side dishes as well, such as its Muc Nuong Ot (S$9), which is grilled cuttlefish with salty spicy sauce, and Nem Nuong (S$5.50), char-grilled Vietnamese pork sausages wrapped with lemongrass.
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