The space where Saigon Baguette used to be at has been taken over by another Vietnamese restaurant, VietBox by Wrap and Roll.
Wrap & Roll was founded in Ho Chi Min in 2006 by the founder, Nguyen Thi Kim Oanh. Wrap & Roll has since grown in 10 outlets, winning awards such as “Top 10 Vietnamese Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City” and “Fastest Growing Vietnamese Restaurant Chain”. VietBox is a new concept restaurant by Warp & Roll in Suntec City.
Cuon (Vietnamese spring roll) is a healthy Vietnamese snack that is popular in Vietnam and it has been listed number 30 in “World’s Most Delicious Foods by CNN Go 2011”. Bun (rice vermicelli), vegetables and choice of meat are wrapped in Vietnamese banh Trang (Vietnamese rice paper). VietBox offers 5 choice of filling: Classic Prawn & Pork, Turmeric Fish, Rainbow Vegetarian, Shredded Beef and Sauteed Mushroom & Tofu, all priced at $4.60 for 2 pieces and $8 for 4 pieces. I chose Turmeric Fish because it is not as common in Singapore. You can taste the taste of the turmeric and fish while the fresh vegetables and rice vermicelli make it very light and refreshing.
Bun (Vietnamese dry noodles) are priced at $9 per bowl. You can choose from Grilled Pork, Grilled Chicken, Grilled Beef in Vine Leaves, Turmeric Fish and Sautéed Mushroom & Tofu for the topping, which will be served on top of rice vermicelli, crunchy bean sprouts, mint leaves, cucumbers and fried shallots. The nuoc cham sauce brings the dish alive with its sweet, sour, salty, savoury and spicy taste.
Banh Mi is the Vietnamese word for bread, which is commonly known as French baguette that was introduced by the French when Vietnam was under French colonial rule. The Vietnamese baguette is made with rice flour and wheat flour, which makes the bread airier than its French counterpart. The baguette is stuffed with vegetables and toppings such as Grilled Pork, Grilled Chicken, Shredded Beef, Turmeric Fish, Sautéed Mushroom & Tofu and Eggplant & Tofu. Priced at $7.50, it is a healthy alternative for lunch or dinner.
Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) is one of the most iconic dishes in Vietnamese cuisine. It is a simple dish of broth, rice noodles (banh pho), herbs and choice of meat (chicken or beef). Sadly, VietBox’s Premium Australian Beef Pho is an utter failure. The broth is tasteless, the flat vermicelli noodles are undercooked and the beef slices are so leathery-hard that I gave up after a few tries. Fresh Chicken might be a little more tender than the beef but I doubt it will taste good in that bland broth. Priced at $11 per bowl, I think it is a total waste of my money.
“Co’m” means “rice” in Vietnamese and it is priced at $9 per serving. You have a choice of Grilled Chicken, Grilled Beef in Vine Leaves, Sautéed Mushroom & Tofu and Eggplant & Tofu. I ordered Grilled Beef in Vine Leaves because I have never tried it before and it sounds exotic. Vine leaves are simply grape leaves and these are wrapped around seasoned beef filling before being steamed. The freshness from the leaves balances out the meatiness of the beef.
VietBox serves 6 a vat (light bites) priced $4 each: Fried Spring Rolls, Vietnamese Samosas, Taro Fries, Chicken Nuggets and Cheesy Sausages. Everything else sounded boring so I ordered a serving of Taro Fries. The handout yam (taro) strips are fried till very crispy and served with a drizzle of honey which works really well with the fries. This will be an excellent dish to go with a bottle of ice-cold beer.
I was pretty sad to find out that Vietnamese Style Ice-Cream [$4] is simply cinnamon ice-cream. Apparently, Vietnamese cinnamon (also known as Saigon cinnamon) is produced from a tree grown in the central highlands region of Vietnam and it is an important ingredient in the broth used to make pho, Vietnam’s iconic soup noodles. Maybe I should give the Egg & Milk Flan with Vietnamese Coffee [$3] a try the next time I visit.
VietBox by Wrap & Roll is what I would call Vietnamese fast-food. All the topping are the same across the menu and they will pair it up with your choice of rice paper roll, dry noodle, baguette, pho noodle soup or rice. There are vegetarian options available, which is a plus point.
You can find addresses, telephone numbers and opening hours of all VietBox by Wrap & Roll and 3 other Wrap & Roll outlets in Singapore here.