Little Vietnam is located at 511 Guillemard Road, Grandlink Square. It is about 5 minutes walk from Paya Lebar Circle Line MRT station from the exit Paya Lebar Road / Sims Avenue – turn right from the train station along Paya Lebar Road and head straight to the cross junction of Geylang Road, Paya Lebar Road and Guillemard Road. After crossing the junction, head along Guillemard Road which will lead you to the restaurant or cafe located at the side of the building, or just besides the canal.
For all who knows about this location, it is at the end of Geylang, Singapore’s most prominent red light district. However, be assure that you are definitely away from the rowdy drinking holes, KTV lounges and the flesh trade area. Occasionally, there may be some interesting characters patronizing the restaurant for a quiet meal but that is almost as far as you can see to kick start the evening conversation. Nevertheless, it is still suitable for familes with children too.
At the restaurant, be ready to be greeted by the authentic and friendly Vietnamese service staff. They are easily recognized by their pink polo shirt and body hugging jeans, as well as a strong Vietnamese accent even though they are able to converse legibly in English, Chinese, and sometimes local dialects.
I learn to appreciate this place better with my usual company of friends who enjoy the pleasure of injecting strong Vietnamese caffeine, generously feeding the hunger stricken ashtray, savouring casually the inexpensive Vietnamese treats under the evening sun as nightfall showcase a different ambience, and watching the world goes by with cheers of fizzy beer and close-knit conversation. Otherwise, an intimate evening with the family in the restaurant is bonding and simply appreciating the above average Vietnamese food culture. And perhaps, you may catch the shy local resident at the canal, a 6-foot long monitor lizard that scrambles away through the bushes if it is being spotted, or the patient kingfisher perching on the rails of the canal ready for the hunt, and the herons flying past the canal to its resting place. That was about one year back ever since the construction work for the park connector started. Hopefully, when the park connector is done, the place will last a little longer before it will be redevloped.
This place has attracted a score of patrons including expatriates living nearby, executives who have ended a long day, Vietnamese students studying in Singapore, Vietnamese working in Singapore, families, teenagers from the neighbouring Internet arcades, locals and foreigners. Well, it is gaining a respectable popularity from residents, nearby and afar, and its very own Vietnamese community.
A visit to Little Vietnam without trying the Pho (plain white noodles) will be disappointing. I love their sliced beef pho with generous dashes of fish sauce while my boys savor this light soupy dish with chicken instead. Their light stock with condiments of peppermint leaves, bean sprout, red cut chili and lemon slice is quite refreshing and appetizing. The pork ribs macaroni is also another fabulous treat and comes with the assortment of parsley, spring onions, carrots, radish, sliced prawns and cuttlefish, which makes you crave more of the sweet stock. Bits of red cut chili will add a punch to the dish if you are in the mood for something really hot other than the vices. Finally complement the dish with stir fried prawns with garlic (tom xao toi) and you will find yourself slurping the rest of the dish, the crispy and crunchy garlic, in satisfaction.
If you are not into carbohydrates for the night, the Big La La in Lemon Grass (ngheu hap xa or clams in soup) will warm your stomach in cool weather with a touch of chili padi (small and hot red cut chili) and prepare it for the Fried Spring Roll with special marinated chicken or Grilled Shrimp and Pork with Sugarcane.
You should have a try at their awesome slightly toasted baguette, bánh mì sandwich, with fillings of cold cuts and grills. Baguette is Vietnamese sandwiches largely influenced by the French in the late 19th century.
For those who enjoy a taste of authentic Vietnam food at Little Vietnam, her no-frills image, laid back environment and reasonably priced dishes are most likely to draw a faithful and loyal crowd who will enjoy the fabulous evening with friends, business associates and family. Finally, complete your relax evening with the authentic Vietnamese coffee (with or without ice, with or without milk), or Saigon beer, or desserts such as Chendol before calling it a day.
thưởng thức buổi tối của bạn (enjoy your evening).