A full-course meal for two at just $50?
With rising inflation, having a meal at a restaurant can easily rack up to $50
per pax for a full-course meal that includes starters, mains, desserts and
drinks. During one of our weekly dining escapades, we discovered this spot by
Geylang River with a row of eateries. We chose the one that has the most
crowd- Little Vietnam.
|Littel Vietnam at Grandlink|
Located at the start of Geylang River on Guillermard Road, Little Vietnam is
located at Grandlink Square, a dodgy-looking mall that seemed to be stuck in
the 1980s. Little Vietnam provides indoor dining that spans over 2 shop
spaces. While the seats are ample, it does feel a tad cramped indoors.
|Little Vietnam Interior|
They have an outdoor seating area too. We recommend dining outdoors as it is
less claustrophobic. It may be al fresco dining by the river, but it is not as
glamorous as dining on the Singapore River ala Boat Quay or Clark
|Al Fresco At Little Vietnam|
Instead, you get a kampong feel while dining outdoors, setting the mood for
the evening. Seats were packed closely to each other. Even if you are at
separate tables, conversations can be heard clearly from the next one. This is
not a place for deep conversations.
Since Little Vietnam does not have a service charge, do not expect full
service. You would have to get your own utensils and condiments from a
trolley. Given the ‘savings’ we would have, it was not an issue for us.
Let’s get to the good part. The best part of this is the meals. We had to scan
a QR to check out the menu and were surprised to see most items listed were a
single digit. While QR code ordering is not everyone’s cup of tea, it is
probably done to save cost for service staff.
|Value for Money Vietnamese Dishes|
In total, we had 2 drinks, 2 starters, 1 Pho Tai, 1 main, a large plate of
prawns and dessert for just a notch above $50 ( Final Bill at $52.2). That is
a total of 8 items. The restaurant does not charge GST or service charges, so
what you see is what you pay. Do note that payment is only by cash or pay now.
Gỏi cuốn( $3.80)
2 Pieces of Vietnamese Spring Rolls with peanut sauce are provided. They came
stuffed with prawns, mint leaves and bean sprouts. While they are filling,
they are less minty than some of the other Goi Cuon we have tried in the past.
Instead, the bean sprouts provided the dominant flavour for these spring
Chả giò( $6.00)
Chai Gio is the fried version of Vietnamese Spring Rolls. The rice paper is
well-fried and crispy. One of the better dishes.
Pho Tai ( $8.20)
Got a Pho Tai since it is probably the sample dish most would order if they
are looking for individual dishes. The sliced beef was soft and easy to eat.
Pho Thai is considered to be a healthy noodle soup dish given the ingredients
and rice noodles used.
Thịt kho trứng($7.50)
|Thịt kho trứng|
This braised Pork belly and egg dish is right on the money. Tender Pork Belly
that is flavourful. The portions are a tad small, but at the price point, we
can hardly complain.
Tôm nướng muối ớt ($18.50)
|Tôm nướng muối ớt|
Usually, we would skip the seafood as it is the most expensive item on the
menu. Since the rest of the dishes were affordable, a little indulgence was
worth it. This grilled salt and chilli prawn is a popular Vietnamese street
The portions are huge, with 8 prawns in total. It comes with a dipping sauce
of salt, ground black pepper and lime wedges. Technically, you need not peel
off the skin with your hands; it can be done with your teeth. The downside of
doing so is that it is spicy until it inflames your lips. Still, worth every
Bánh chuối ($4.20)
This is an interesting dessert. It comprises steamed banana cake, coconut
cream, peanut butter and tapioca starch. It is a warm dessert and is
refreshing after a hearty meal.
Ice Vietnamese Tea ($1), Lemongrass Drink ($3)
There are many drink options, from smoothies to Vietnamese and local drinks.
Price wise is decent enough.
Despite the close seating, we were happy with our meal. While it may not be
the tastiest Vietnamese food, it is authentic and definitely one of the more
affordable options. The place may not be the best place for chit-chat,
but it has its charms.
In terms of value and quality, it is on par, if not better, than the ones we
had sampled at Joo Chiat Road. Service was fast despite the crowd. If
you can overlook the quirky mall, Little Vietnam is worth a visit. Do head
there early for seats as we noted that it can get full by 7pm on a Saturday
There are a couple more food options in the vicinity. Soi 72 (Thai) and
Honey Night (Korea) are on our list for the next visit.