Long Phung Vietnamese Restaurant at Joo Chiat Road is established in 2009, almost a decade ago. It’s a casual restaurant with plastic chairs and veneer tables. When we were there at 7.30pm on a Friday night, there was a queue but it moved quickly.
We read that the service is atrocious, and we experienced it too. I tried to speak to one of them and she turned away abruptly like she didn’t hear me. But I think the staff aren’t intentionally rude. It’s because there are only three of them handling a very busy restaurant, and many of them don’t speak English; they are Vietnamese. So I guess, no Bib Gourmand for this restaurant although their food is–spoiler alert–amazing.
The menu consists of the usual pho and rice at $8 to $9. But they also have interesting items like tilapia hotpot (lau ca dieu hong, $27-$42), quail (chim cut, 3 pieces, $13.50), and zuzu (seasnail, $7.90).
Pho is the cornerstone of Vietnamese cuisine and this one is amazing. The pho dat biet (special noodle soup, $8.50) comes with a bit of everything: beef balls, beef slices, beef tendons, and beef something else (liver? tongue?). It even has a poached almost-raw egg, which I don’t see in other pho. It’s a good portion for the price and the tendon is tender and flavourful. But the best thing is the soup. OMG the soup has so much depth. It is more complex than the usual pho we have, and has a great pungent flavour… star anise is it? One of the best bowls I have in Singapore.
The Bun thit nuong cha gio ($9.50) is a dry vermicelli with grilled pork and deep-fried spring roll. (You can also get the spring rolls a la carte at $8 or $12). Although the vermicelli sticks together, the pork is bursting with herbs and spices (lemongrass maybe?), giving it an almost earthy taste. Mr Fitness liked the robust and pungent spring roll, but I thought it was too gamy.
The stir-fried cockles with garlic (so huyet xao toi, $7.90) are plump and fresh and juicy. It is tasty on its own in the garlic sauce but you can try the accompanying sauce which is sourish (tamarind?) and appetising.
By this time, we were very full, but we refused to be quitters and ordered fried chicken (canh ga ohien nuoc mam, 6 full wings, $12) to take away. Remember when Ikea wings used to be amazing? This is even better than the good old Ikea wings. The marinade is different from our Singapore style; theirs is more earthy and pungent, a flavour that goes through the wings. Cooked perfectly too: succulent and tender without a hint of blood. I brought the wings home, and two hours later, I wanted to snack, and discovered that they were gone. My old mother had finished them ALL by herself.
Including two drinks–I highly recommend the jackfruit smoothie (sinh to mit $4.30)–we paid $46.20 for two persons. But deducting the cost of the wings which we tabao-ed, it should be about $15 per pax. That’s really good value for super delicious food.
Long Phung Vietnamese Restaurant
159 Joo Chiat Road Singapore 427436
tel: +65 6440 6959
You may be interested in…
–Saigon Alley, Novena: Affordable, Good Vietnamese Food
–Mrs Pho House, Rangoon Road: Vietnamese Seafood Cze Char, One of the Best Casual Restaurants This Year!
–Fat Saigon Boy, Telok Ayer: Australian-Vietnamese Pho
–Mrs Pho, Beach Road: So euPHOric It Made Me Tear
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.