I’ve heard a lot of rave reviews for Mrs Pho for its authentic Vietnamese fare, so I jumped at the chance to visit the new Mrs Pho outlet in Vivocity. Its third outlet in Singapore and first-ever in a shopping mall, the new Mrs Pho brings the same rustic “street market” decor along with a streamlined menu. There are some exclusive dishes at Vivocity from “Mrs Pho” herself, the mother of restaurant founder Hoang.
Like this plate of Mamma’s Chicken Ham ($4.90) slices, which was gobbled up so quickly I was worried that there wasn’t enough to go around. These are sliced minced chicken marinated with spices, steamed in banana leaf then fried to give it that extra juicy flavour. This traditional Vietnamese snack goes well with the sweet and spicy dipping sauce.
Another new dish specially created by “Mrs Pho” herself is this bowl of Moc Noodle Soup ($9.90). This is a hearty clear noodle broth, slightly sweet from the onions. You can taste a hint of extra spices mixed into the chicken slices and chicken balls.
The rest of the menu is just as appetising. These Grilled Lemongrass Beef Sticks ($5.90) are chunky beef pieces wrapped around lemongrass sticks, then grilled. This gives each bite of meat a hint of lemongrass flavour.
I got my hands dirty trying Mrs Pho Cockles ($8.90) — a generous serving of cockles tossed in garlic, pork lard and a little spice from the dried chillies. It’s recommended to have the cockles with the curry leaf, and dipped into the lemon-salt mix. Go in with your hands and don’t forget to bring wet tissues if you’re planning to have this.
These Mrs Pho Fried Spring Rolls ($3.90) are a classic Vietnamese starter that’s fried to crispy perfection. Personally I prefer it all-original, but everyone else can’t stop dipping these spring rolls into the sweet chilli dipping sauce.
There’s always space in the tummy for a bowl of meatballs, but you’ll be in for a surprise with these Mamma’s Lucky Meatballs ($3.90). It has a slight sweet-ish taste, and comes served in a thick dipping sauce that only accentuates the sweetness of the dish.
Starfruit dishes are uncommon in Singapore, let alone served as a salad. So I was especially interested to try this Fresh Star Fruit, with Beef Salad and Crackers ($8.50) combination. The salad itself is an interesting concoction of sharp, strong flavours, but the onion taste can be too strong for some palates.
Meat lovers will savour this Special Beef Combo Pho ($9.90), filled with so much of good beef — beef balls, cuts of beef brisket and beef tripe, along with beansprouts, onions, mint leaves and chilli to give this dish a little heat. It’s served with egg on the side so you can relish the original taste of the pho first, then you can decide to add the egg afterwards.
While this dish is rarely seen in Singapore, the Hue Spicy Beef Noodle Soup ($8.90) is a common sight in Vietnam. The soup, with fresh basil leaves and vegetables, is a great balance of sweet and spicy, with just enough chilli to fire up your tastebuds. Of course if you want an extra kick, you can help yourself to more chillies.
Wash down your meals with either the Saigon Salty Lemonade ($3.90), a perfect palate cleanser that tastes sort of like calamansi juice, or a refreshing glass of Mrs Pho Summer Ice Tea ($3.90). There’s a silky smooth Cream Caramel ($3.90) custard for dessert. Alternatively, try the creamy Avocado Smoothie ($5.90), a truly decadent delight. There’s an option to add Vietnamese drip coffee into the avocado too.
It’s not too difficult to find Mrs Pho. If you’re coming via MRT, you should be at B1 floor. Turn left after the gantry exit, and walk straight ahead. After passing by the escalators, you should see Mrs Pho on your right.