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Friday, March 8, 2013

Food Tasting at Pho Stop @ Tanjong Pagar, Singapore

To be honest, Vietnamese cuisine is not really what attracts me the most. In fact, when someone mentioned international food, the more "mainstream" ones usually comes into mind, such as Japanese, Korean and Thai, but never Vietnamese cuisine. I, myself is guilty of that. Hence, when Openrice invited me to another food tasting and summer-roll making session at Pho Stop (pronounced "fhur"), I had an initial feeling that I would not enjoy as much.

This dainty, casual Vietnamese eatery located at Tanjong Pagar Road near Maxwell Market officially opened doors slightly less than a year ago, offering a variety of fusion cuisine and pho, a Vietnamese speciality made of noodles with rice paired with herbs and meat in broth, as their specialty. The ambience was warm and welcoming as well, completed with rustic wood panels, chalkboard-menus, huge paper lanterns, and Vietnamese artwork lining the walls.

Bryan Wong, the owner of Pho Stop, as well as Va Va Voom cafe is knowledgeable about the cuisine he is up against. With excitement and much enthusiasm, this cheerful host gladly shared his experience on not only the food, and even gave us a brief history lesson on Vietnam itself, keeping the food tasters deeply intrigued while enjoying the summer-roll making and makan session.

Vietnamese cuisine focuses much on balancing the four taste - sweet, sour, fragrance and spice in their dishes, and my favorite dish - Grilled Pork Cutlet Noodles (out in menu soon) demonstrated it well, with a combination of crunchy greens and carrots, lean pork and noodles. However, the dish is incomplete without the sauce, which is made of fish sauce, garlic and chilli. You would be amazed how well it complements the overall taste. The only downside to me is the beansprouts, which brings a displeasing "raw" taste to my mouth. Personal preference though!

Although nothing to rave about, the starters - Vietnamese fish cakes and spring rolls, are generally pleasing to the palate. Great for sharing. Just have in mind that Vietnamese cuisine is highly dependent on their dipping sauces. But again, that is what makes Vietnamese cuisine unique in its own right.

Mini glass bottles containing homemade ice cream is a must-have after the meal. With several assorted flavours such as Vietnamese coffee, Chai tea and coconut, one would be spoilt for choice. For a coffee-maniac like myself, it is a nice blend of smooth ice cream filled with the aroma of true blue Vietnamese coffee beans.

According to Bryan and further research, there is NO Starbucks in Vietnam. Surprising eh? Instead, French drip coffee (like below) that uses local brand can be found almost everywhere cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Bryan added, that tea is almost free-of-charge (kiasu alert), as tea is massively produced locally. In a laid-back country like Vietnam, why not grab a cuppa of your favourite brew, lay back for a bit and watch the world passes by.

Just a friendly warning to non-sweet-tooth, they give condensed milk real generous as well.

All in all, Pho Stop makes a good option if you're finding decent Vietnamese cuisine, yet satisfying, and at the same time, get a bang for your buck. So why not stop by someday, be it in-between lunch hours or during the lazy weekends, drop by, enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and drown your worries away with some beer,  just kidding - pho. Pho is good.

Bryan Wong, myself and Marcus.

Once again, a big thank you to Openrice for organizing this food tasting session!

饭 lo! Never grows old, doesn't it.

Pho Stop


Opening Hours

Mon-Fri: 11:30-21.30
Sat: 11:30 - 16.30
Closed on Sun.

21 Tanjong Pagar Road
Tanjong Pagar Road