Vietnamese cuisine is an uncommon sight in Singapore. While there is a saturated market that is brimming with Japanese, Chinese, Italian and all shades of American, visiting a Vietnamese place for lunch is definitely one of the more refreshing experiences for me. Therefore, when I headed down to Moc Quan Vietnamese Restaurant at UE Square, I have to admit that I was looking forward to a cuisine that would be both a surprise and new for my tastebuds.
Cozy and quaint environment.
Moc Quan is opened by Chef Owner Jeff Khoo. Inspired by his love for Vietnamese cuisine, Jeff believes in the philosophy that the best Vietnamese food is available on the streets. As such, he spent three years learning from the various street hawkers the tricks of the trade before coming back to Singapore and sharing his passion with everyone.
A fantastic way to start the entire meal is to go for the Goi Cuon ($8 for 4pcs) or the Bo La Lot ($8 for 4 pcs). These fresh vietnamese spring rolls are made with a choice of pork and prawns or beef and pork. If you go for the Goi Cuon, enjoy each piece with a homemade black bean sauce that wonderfully deepens the roll’s springy flavours. A very healthy and filling option.
I was pleasantly surprised by the excellent serving of Banh Mi Thit ($6.50) prepared by the restaurant. The French bageutte is baked fresh daily using a special oven which the owners brought back from Vietnam, ensuring a crisp crunch amidst a fluffy interior just like those found in the country. Simple ingredients stuffed within like the vietnamese sausage and ham, with a serving of homemade pork pate complete the meal. Other stuffing like egg, barbecued minced beef, marinated sliced beef and egg and barbecued pork chops are also available. All the Banh Mi is served with cucumber, parsley, butter, pickled vegetables and Vietnamese chilli.
For some Vietnamese seafood dishes, the Tom Nuong ($16) are a must try. These barbecued king prawns are brimming with smoky, sweet and zesty flavours that will leave you licking your lips and fingers. I was particularly enchanted by the deep, sensuous fragrance that simply had me craving for more.
If you are in the mood for scallops, go for the So Diep Nuong Mo Hanh ($16). These pan-seared scallops served with a chilli lime sauce are a little sweet, spicy with just a touch of caramelized flavours that wonderfully complement the bouncy scallop textures.
There is also the Ngheu Chem Chep Hap ($12). Clams and mussels are cooked in a sweet and spicy lemongrass broth that is deeply scented and well flavoured. Some may find the broth a little too strong in flavour, but it is one dish that would go excellent with rice.
What is Vietnam without Pho. Moc Quan presents a good range of 4 choices ranging from Sliced beef ($8.50), Brisket ($9.50), Beef meat balls ($8.50) and a mixed variant ($9.50). Fresh vietnamese rice noodles that are a touch springy, crisp and well flavoured as you slurp it along with some fragrant beef broth, proves to be a very satisfying all in one meal. I thought this presentation of Pho was pretty good and flavourful.
Xoai ($4.50) – a presentation of 2 types of vietnamese mangoes.
Those seeking a more robust coffee experience might want to order the Ca Phe Sua Da ($3.50). The iced Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk is velvety smooth, with a nutty, creamy disposition that will seek to please.
Hot Vietnamese Coffee
Grinding of the weasel coffee beans; Water is then boiled; Coffee is then drained to the bottom flask before serve
I was actually keen to try the Cap Phe Chon ($28) also known as the Weasel Coffee. As one of the rarest drinks in the world, this particular brew is produced in the central highlands of Vietnam at Cau Dat, Trai Ham in Da Lat. Trai Ham weasel coffee has its weasels fed with the highest quality Arabica coffee berries, where the waste thereafter is well cleaned and processed. Upon ordering the weasel coffee, the entire brew will be prepared fresh in front of you. The coffee is light and thin, slightly acidic with a mild bitter aftertaste.
Me and Chef Owner Jeff Koh
Moc Quan Vietnamese Restaurant is one place that lovers of the cuisine will come to appreciate. It was one of my first few times exploring this genre, and I have to say that it was certainly well received. With its relatively affordable price points, robust and deeply scented flavours, these are dishes that will be a good entry point for the unacquainted into Vietnamese cuisine. I would come back for some Banh Mi and Spring Rolls. And as what I’ve been telling all my friends, I think I just fell in love with Vietnamese coffee.
Thank you Moc Quan for the invitation
|81 Clemenceau Avenue
UE Square Shopping Mall
9am to 11pm