I felt like I was going to a blind date when I went to check out Saigon Vietnamese Delicacy located near Geylang Lorong 39 with Ian and Philip. It was not because of the boys but the fact I have no idea how my dinner experience will turned out. The internet has not been very helpful as there were basically no reviews about the food here. Will I discover a gem or just a waste of my calories? A big blue signage of the restaurant welcomes my arrival. Stepping into the restaurant it felt as if time has stalled in the 80s. The decor is very simple with white wall tiles, ceiling fans, wooden table and chairs.
Sour Spicy Mango Salad 3.8/5
After some recommendation by the owner, we started with the Sour Spicy Mango Salad ($4.50). The shredded mango was served chilled with topping of peanuts and dried shrimps. The salad has a good mix of tanginess and sweetness with the delectable crunch to it. Compare to the Thai mango salad, this is more subtle in flavours. I am not sure whether it is common for keropoks (prawn crackers) to be served in a Vietnamese salad dish but I am not complaining about it.
Fried Spring Rolls, Cha Gio 4.2/5
Next we have the Fried Spring Rolls, Cha Gio ($4.50). Instantly we noticed the spring roll skin is different from those we normally get elsewhere. The spring roll skin was crispy and has a chewy texture that was very enjoyable. I also enjoyed the fact that the spring roll is stuffed with ground meat instead of vegetable.
Seafood Spring Rolls, Goi Cuon 3.5/5
After getting excited over the fried spring roll, we made an extra order for the Seafood Spring Roll, Goi Guon ($2.80) We wanted to confirm that this humble eatery is the real thing. At a glance, we can see how thin the rice paper wrapped the fresh roll of rice vermicelli, prawn and vegetable. It was served with a spicy nutty dipping sauce that helped to accentuate the flavours.
Vietnamese Shaking Beef with Rice 3/5
This dish has an interesting name, Vietnamese Shaking Beef with Rice ($6.50). I asked the owner why the name "shaking". He replied that it was because of the cooking action of tossing the wok hence the name. The beef was very tender but the sauce was a bit too sweet and acquire for our liking.
Vietnamese Crab & Tomato Soup 4.5/5
When we mentioned Vietnamese cuisine, the first thought probably will be Pho or Vietnamese Roll. Lately I have started to appreciate the rice vermicelli soup which is not as popular with Singaporean. At Saigon Vietnamese Delicacy, you can try the Vietnamese Crab & Tomato Soup ($6). The restaurant gets their rice vermicelli from Vietnam directly. The quality was pretty obvious, it was not clumpy and the texture was silky. The tangy broth of fish sauce and tomato is further elevated with a few squeeze of the lime and some chopped red chilli. This is my favourite dish for the night.
Vietnamese Rice Noodles with BBQ Pork & Vegetables 4/5
The Vietnamese Rice Noodles with BBQ Pork & Vegetables ($5.80) basically is a dry version of enjoying the rice noodles. The flavourful BBQ pork was well marinated with a nice hint of smokey flavour. The bowl of rice noodles also comes with pieces of the fried spring rolls with ate earlier. To enjoy the rice noodles, poured the sauce spicy sweet sauce into bowl and give it a good toss.
Vietnamese Pancake, Banh Xeo 4/5
I was told that this is one of their most popular dish, Vietnamese Pancake, Banh Xeo ($7). The huge pancake was served with fresh lettuce. My photo did not do justice to the texture of the egg omelette. The egg omelette was as thin as a sheet of paper with a delectable crisp to it. Inside the pancake, there are bean sprouts and prawns. To savour the dish, have a bite of everything and wrapped it with the lettuce. It was quite an interesting and fun dish.
As the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover. To my earlier question, will I discover a gem or just a waste of my calories? I have discovered a hidden gem. The food here may not be of fine dining quality but it is cooked with passion keeping it as authentic as possible. Like my friend Ian puts it, the food remembers him of his Vietnam trip to the village. That says a lot about the food here.
Saigon Vietnamese Delicacy
749 Geylang Road (Near Lorong 39)
Tel: +65 96804363
Nearest MRT: Paya Lebar (CC Line, EW Line)
Daily: 1pm - 4am
1) Alight at Paya Lebar MRT station. Take Exit D. Walk towards the junction of Paya Lebar Road and Geylang Road. Turn right at junction. Continue onto Geylang Road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 8 minutes. [Map]