Friday, June 27, 2008

Madam Saigon

Basket of spring roll goodies
Madam Saigon has been at Liang Seah Street for quite a few years but it's only now that I've ever stepped in. Ah, I wish I discovered them earlier. It's a simple place with unpretentious food.

We began with a platter of mixed spring rolls (about S$18) - fresh prawn rice paper rolls, fried spring rolls and prawn net rolls. All very good, served with two dips - a fish sauce based one with sliced chili, and a mildly spicy fermented bean sauce (think "taucheo"). I could just eat platters of this and be happy!

Green papaya salad
Hubby thinks Vietnamese is like a pale cousin of Thai cuisine. I quite disagree, although this salad makes me understand why he would think so. It's similar to the Thai version, but tastes like they didn't add the usual fiery, tangy dressing.

Special beef noodle soup
Of course, the true test of a Vietnamese restaurant is always its "pho", or beef noodles in soup. Madam Saigon has various combinations -the Special Beef Noodle Soup (about S$8) comes with beef meatballs, flank and brisket.

The staff very thoughtfully replenished my plate of sprouts, mint and basil because hubby nearly finished munching on them before my soup arrived.

The broth is fairly robust and sweet, but did not impress me that much (but don't mind me, I'm just forever ruined by a most delicious pho in San Francisco). However, to my surprise, hubby (who normally hates soupy stuff) actually proclaimed preference for this pho over his own dish of fried noodles. Now that is a feat, getting hubby to like any soup at all!

Fried beef kway teow
Here's hubby's fried beef kway teow, which I initially disdained as more Chinese than Vietnamese. But I ended up preferring this to my soup. Nicely caramelised rice noodles, topped with sweetly savoury pieces of beef. It's not quite Chinese beef horfun, as the flavours are a little bit more complex (more like teriyaki with onion).

I love Vietnamese food for its light, clean, healthy but delicious flavours. But the general consensus is that authentic Vietnamese in Singapore is hard to find, even though more restaurants have sprouted up in recent years. I can't tell how authentic Madam Saigon is, given that I've never been to Vietnam per se. They don't serve pork or lard, so that's already one modification (they are not halal-certified though). But I did enjoy my meal. I also like that this is a casual but cosy joint. Service was quite good, with observant wait staff noting your needs and topping up iced water regularly. Portions here are not large but the food is generally decent. Most mains are less than S$10. The whole meal for two came up to a reasonable S$48 after taxes and service charge. I'd come back again to try other stuff.

30 Liang Seah Street
Tel: 6333-9798
Open daily 11.30am - 3pm (lunch); 6-11pm (dinner)
Sundays & public holidays: noon-4pm (lunch); 5.30pm - 11pm (dinner)


  1. $18 for the spring roll platter is a bit expensive?

    What mains do they have? less than $10? haha!

  2. Yeah, it did seem a bit pricey to me at first, but you do get gorgeous six spring rolls, filled with prawns or meat. About S$3 each? Presented beautifully for your sit-down enjoyment. I had no regrets.

    Other mains? Go to their shop and find out lah! :D

  3. lol! one spring roll 3 bucks a tad ex leh. haha! alright i heard abt them too, mayb will try when in the mood for some diff food. ha

  4. Oh we all love Pho, our fix every weekend (mostly). I have an award for you, come and claim it. :)

  5. For S$8 bucks, is that a small serving of pho ? Will try this if I get the chance.

  6. LIC: OK lah, OK lah, if S$3 still expensive, then don't eat lor. hehe

    LCOM: Thanks!

    Tigerfish: It's a standard serving, with quite a lot of noodles but not too much meat. I couldn't finish the whole bowl after the spring rolls.

  7. next time, try the vietnam style eateries along Joo Chiat Road.

    Cheap & quite similiar in taste to what u get in vietnam.

    disclaimer : it could be due to the high number of vietnam ladies found along that stretch of road.

  8. Ah.. looking at Vietnamese food always reminds me of the good old student days in Melbourne. We all look forward going out in a group to Vietnamese stalls that sell delicious Pho and 'Broken Rice'.

    Think the fish sauce somehow always makes food taste that extra special.

    Also, the bean sprouts and all the aromatic leaves makes the simplest soup taste good.

    (by the way, which is the most delicious Pho in SF? hehe.. I am bias, I think the most delicious Pho are found in Richmond or Springvale in Victoria, AU hehe)

  9. Anon: yeah, I haven't explored those Joo Chiat joints, just in case I get mistaken for one of those Viet ladies! lol

    K-man, I never got to try the Richmond viet shops! And I can't remember which shop it was in SF but somewhere in Chinatown. But I loooove fish sauce even before tasting Vietnamese!

  10. I dont really like the Pho version in singapore cuz it's either modified or in Southern way. In the north, we dont put bean sprout and mint leaves cuz those two will somehow spoilt the smell of the broth. hphm~~~
    I find the spring roll a bit over price though

  11. If you have too much money and want to pay more for less Madam Saigon is the place to go. $10.50 to two spring rolls that was no better than food court quality .
    Oct 2009

  12. Your dishes look yum … loved the presentation of the food ! good work
    you can view some of my dishes on ! i would be really happy if you follow it :)


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