To me, a good bowl of pho should have a tasty yet clear, light stock with perfectly cooked beef slices, crunchy beansprouts and silky smooth noodles.
It should come with a generous plate of herbs on the side, for you to add to the Pho as you pleased.
After drinking a spoonful of the soup, you should then add in the herbs before drinking another spoonful. Then, a squeeze of lime and then more soup. Then you can start eating.
Alas, it isn't easy to find a good bowl of pho in Singapore. There are a few places in Hong Kong where you can get good Vietnamese food. But even good pho is hard to find in Hong Kong. Much less Singapore.
The best bowl I've had so far is from Long Phung at Joo Chiat. It's an unassuming "coffee shop"-like eatery along Joo Chiat Road, amidst dodgy KTVs named "I Love You KTV" (or something similar). The place is packed during meal times, with locals as well as Vietnamese patrons.
The Vietnamese ice coffee is good, as is the fresh spring rolls, although I don't like the dipping sauce very much.
The pho is good - the soup is a little too sweet, the herbs came in the bowl, not beside it and the herbs given weren't generous enough. But the beef slices were tender and the soup had a really authentic "Vietnamese" taste to it. At about $6 a bowl, it really isn't too bad at all. I ordered the sliced beef pho and The Husband ordered the Special pho which also came with beef brisket, beef balls and an egg. I liked my order a lot more since eggs and pho don't go well together in my opinion.
You know a restaurant is worth visiting again when you start thinking about what you'd order in your next visit even before you finish your meal.
My next visit will be to try out the grilled pork noodles.. and yes, Long Phung will be a place I'd definitely visit again.
Do let me know if you know of other good Vietnamese restaurants in Singapore.
Long Phung Vietnamese Restaurant159 Joo Chiat Road
Tel: +65 6344 2005