Thanks to a fellow Instagrammer who posted some pics, and my greedy curiosity which got the best of me… I have been back three times in a month to current obsession, Ky Anh Qúan! This place is as authentic as it can get. Everyone here is Vietnamese, from the owner to the Chef to the staff and pretty much all their customers. That’s a good sign, in my opinion… and despite its grimy, unsophisticated and dingy ambience, the packed place is evidently a familiar gem among the Vietnamese community in Singapore. The worn out menu, passed down by the predecessor restaurant, is filled with Viet delights from classic Phos to French Fries 🤨 (don’t ask!!). If you’re no expert, better let them tell you what to order!
Before anything else, a Pho kinda sets the bar for any Vietnamese restaurant. Ky’s Pho looks plain.. no fancy condiments that come on the side, and surely no buttery A3 marbled beef! Everything you need in a pho is in that bowl. But the pho-nomenality begins from the first sip of that crystal clear broth! It packs a full flavor despite the paleness, yet carries a sweet clean taste that just keeps you slurping! The flat white noodles are soft and smooth; I seriously doubt they were of any special breed or brand, just a matter of precision cooking. The beef? Good beefy bite but sliced thin enough to not trigger a jaw lock. I asked for extra lime since I like mine extra zesty; but it is garnished generously with all mandatory leafy condiments and herbs. Albeit my suspicion, it didn’t give me a MSG attack. You know the way your cheeks get all numb and tight from an overdose of monosodium glutamate!? Yep, that face! So, drink up with confidence!
If you enjoy cold noodles like me, and have not tried a Bún Thịt Nướng (Vietnamese Rice Noodles with Grilled Pork), you gotta! This dry version comes with one of the best dips/ dressing in the world, Nước Chấm, a sweet-sour fish sauce with crushed peanuts, chili bits and shredded carrots. A pile of precooked vermicelli sits on a bed of shredded lettuce, mint leaves, cucumber and carrots. Toss everything together with the dressing and it is an explosion of fresh minty flavor in the mouth. The large slab of grilled pork chop is well seasoned and tender; and adds bite and savoriness to the refreshing noodles. Order the Chả Giò (Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls) version if you fancy some delicious spring rolls with your noodles instead of pork. Just as yummy!
And when you’ve done all the classic Phos, and seek for something different, try the Bún Riêu, a sweet sour noodle soup with homemade meatballs. Don’t be looking for balls though! The meatballs are technically chunky minced meat patties… each bite unleashes a mild spiced flavor as the textured meat melts away in your mouth. This soup is cooked with tomatoes for that tinge of tartness. Its very light and very appetizing. Definitely a good option if you’re tied of the usual Phos.Sò Huyết or fresh blood cockles or See Hum as we know it, is the highlight of our time here! Wok fried in garlic, chili and a deadly amount of crispy pork lard! There is no turning back from this. One bite and you’ll be hooked! I swore to have an entire portion to myself next time! Fear not of sandy sediments nor funky bloody aftertaste! This is clean and fresh. Even with the powerhouse ingredients it’s cooked with, the natural sweetness of the cockles shone through. Ky sure hit a home run with this dish. These are the best cockles I’ve had in a looooong while.
Bun Dau is a typical local street food from Hanoi. ‘Bun’ is the staple Vietnamese rice vermicelli while ‘Dau’ means tofu. Our Bun Dau platter also came with boiled pork belly, pig’s intestines, fried meat roll, and of course, lots and lots of aromatic herbs, cucumber and fresh lettuce. Eat it like a burrito using rice paper sheets or the lettuce leaves as wraps. The dip is a deliciously pungent shrimp paste sauce which you either love or hate! Otherwise, there’s always the dependable Nước Chấm dip that goes with everything!! The boiled pork belly is thinly sliced and reeked no oil nor porky aftertaste. This has to go into every “burrito” for that soft crunchy bite! The small intestines, also known as powder intestines in Chinese, are cut into inch long pieces. Cleaned and boiled just long enough to retain some bounce and chew! The tofu and meat sticks were freshly fried to a crisp on the outside and juicy within. This was such a memorable dish. Everyone at the table enjoyed it. And if you look around, you’ll notice every table would have Bun Dau!
The Rice paper Rolls (Gỏi cuốn), has the most basic ingredients. Fresh prawns, vermicelli and vegetables, so tautly rolled everything holds up like Spanx to the last mouthful!
The fried Spring Rolls (Chả Giò) are just as yummy! Freshly fried to order, so be cautious when you bite into every hot crunchy juicy roll, with a delicious filling of minced meat in aromatic spices.
I suck when it comes to peeling crab!! So these seasonal baby Crab Claws were quite the challenge! But just look at that color…and you know you can’t sit this one out! It’s got a good spicy kick, very garlicky and very fragrant. The little flesh that you manage out of every claw is sweet and fresh. Worth every grimy finger’s work if you’ve got the patience!
Fried Lala with Garlic contains some feisty little clams stir fried in basil, chillis and black pepper. This knocked my tongue out!!
Curry Banh Mi, basically Curry Chicken with French Loaf. This was good maybe not something you’d fantasize but a dependable choice if you wanted curry! Not to mention the piping hot French baguette that comes with it! Crispy crusty on the outside with pillow soft bread to soak up every last drop of the rich, thick curry gravy! Game changer, that bread! You know it’s good when you ask for seconds (of the bread!!)If you like prawns, these are pretty awesome as well! Fried in a light batter and topped with chopped chili and scallions, they were delightful and delicious! Not terribly big but so juicy and crunchy you could eat the tails too!
Chim Cút Chiên or Fried Quail is a teeny little bird fried to juicy crisps! Aesthetically, this ain’t gonna wow you! As a matter of fact, some of us inspected it suspiciously when it arrived… a plate of charred looking anorexic wings and legs and tiny heads! Gosh, I’ve made them sound absolutely awful 😅!! But you know what? Awful is the last thing on my mind when I bit into the flavorful, lean tender meat of these teeny little birds! It’s so crunchy you pretty much devour every thin bone and cartilage! All my fingers got to work on these babies! Picking at every bit of meat I can find…. then giving up and popping the whole piece in my mouth!!! Crunch! Crunch!
Claypot Spicy Eel (Cá Hú Kho Nôi Dât) wasn’t quite what I’d expected. Unlike the way I am used to how my eel is being prepared (in fillets), Ky’s chopped theirs up into steak cuts. The chunky eel, cooked in a mildly spicy sweet garlic bean sauce totally overshot my expectations. The tender eel absorbed the wonderful seasoning. The succulent meat falls off the bone effortlessly. Rice is the last thing you wanna waste stomach space on when you’ve got a dozen dishes in front of you, but this eel and its terrific sauce were beckoning for it and we succumbed with gratitude!Canh Khô Qua or Bitter Gourd Soup. Bitter gourd cut into rings, stuffed with seasoned meat and cooked in a clear broth that’s peppery with bitter tingles from the melon. You have to enjoy this bitter veg to appreciate this dish. I do but I wouldn’t think it’s for everyone.
Thanks to a friendly neighboring diner (or perhaps he saw me ogling at his food!!) I got a taste of the Boiled Chicken Feet. I know, it looks rather meh, and frankly, it taste pretty meh too if not for the heavenly dip it comes with. Cooked to a texture that’s still a little chewy and spongy, this is something to snack on with a beer in front of the telly! That dip though!!! Zingy, sweet, limey, spicy, and whatever sorcery shit that goes in there! Wow!
You know you’re with good company when you think dinner is over and your buddy orders a Grilled Pork Chop! He then bitches about the rice which he did not want but proceeds to polishing the entire plate dry. I think we can safely say the Grilled Pork Chop is also yummy!
Authentic Vietnamese Coffee for some sugar rush. Have it hot or cold, both good! And for something different, try the Iced Assam Juice, sweet and sour, with bits of tamarind… definitely something to spruce up anappetite! Ky Anh Qúan is now my go-to for a sure-happy meal. They’ve been so good I might just order the fries 😁!
Clockwise from top left: Fresh rice paper for Bun Dau; Blink and you might miss Ky’s humble entrance; Pho-nomenal!; My darling Cockles; Crispy fried Quail; Boiled Chicken feet and that magical dip! An exotic tomato-ey noodle soup
Ky Anh Qúan is now my go-to for a sure-happy meal. They’ve been so good I might just order the fries😁!
Ky Anh Qúan @ 233 Joo Chiat Road Singapore 427491
Disclaimer- This is not a sponsored post.