Nhung Kitchen has legit Vietnamese food in Balestier
Nhung Kitchen serves up authentic Vietnamese fare on the corner of Balestier Point, an old apartment complex with a commercial space on the first two floors. It’s owned and operated by the eponymous Nhung, a Vietnamese native living in Singapore, as well as her husband, Thomas.
While the eatery has mostly been hidden from the general public since its opening during the pandemic years, it recently garnered attention on TikTok for their authentic yet affordable banh mi.
Food at Nhung Kitchen
Having been tasked to review them, I of course had to start with their Banh Mi Thit Nuong ($6.90). It features barbecued pork, lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, and pickled radish, topped off with chilli slices and cilantro, all sandwiched in a baguette.
The barbecued pork was well-seasoned, with an overall savoury yet sweet flavour that was complemented by the tanginess of the radish. The chilli and cilantro, on the other hand, added some punchiness to the banh mi that I particularly enjoyed.
It’s said that Nhung has gone to great lengths to source the baguettes here, after being disappointed by countless other suppliers offering subpar baguettes. The one we had was crispy on the outside yet soft and chewy on the inside, which really tied the whole dish together.
I looked forward to trying the Goi Cuon ($6), AKA Vietnamese spring rolls, but was slightly disappointed to see only one piece of protein in each roll.
Out of the four rolls in each serving, two rolls contained prawn while the other two featured a slice of char siew. The prawns were rather sweet and succulent, but left much to be desired due to the paltry portions. In contrast, the char siew was tougher than I would’ve liked, although they were meatier than the prawns.
Nevertheless, the thin yet QQ nature of the rice paper wrap, combined with the springiness of the rice noodles and crunchiness of the lettuce made this dish a textural delight. While a little bland on their own, the sweet and spicy dipping sauce easily remedied their lack of flavour
The star, for me, was the Bun Thit Bo Xao ($8.90), a classic Vietnamese rice noodle salad comprising stir-fried beef slices, rice noodles, and an assortment of raw vegetables including lettuce, bean sprouts, shredded cucumber, and carrot. Served on the side was a small bowl of the same sweet and sour sauce as the Goi Cuon.
What stood out in this dish was its “clean” taste—the vegetables were light and crispy, while the accompanying dressing had bright, citrusy notes that were delightfully refreshing, especially in Singapore’s hot weather.
I initially expected the heavier flavours of the stir-fried beef to clash with the other plant-based elements, but it added a touch of savouriness that only enhanced the dish’s overall taste. As beef is the only protein in this rice noodle salad, it also helped to make it a more filling meal.
Lastly, we tried their Iced Vietnamese Coffee ($3.50), which had distinct chocolatey notes that complemented the coffee beans’ nutty flavour. This, along with the addition of condensed milk, resulted in a subtly sweet and earthy drink that ended off our meal nicely.
Ambience at Nhung Kitchen
Because it occupies a rather small unit, Nhung Kitchen has a limited capacity of about 10 people. It was empty when we arrived at 11am on a Tuesday, but by 12pm, there were small groups of people who came in to both dine in and take away their lunch.
Balestier Point isn’t that convenient, as the closest train stop, Newton MRT Station, is an 18-minute walk or 15-minute bus ride away. There are a number of bus options, though, with connections to other train stops such as Bugis and Boon Keng MRT Stations.
As a recent convert to Vietnamese cuisine, I’ve added Nhung Kitchen to my growing list of go-to Vietnamese eateries. I find myself craving their Bun Thit Bo Xao on hot and humid days, and will likely be back very soon to have it again. Given that the restaurant opens till 3am daily, Nhung Kitchen is also a potential supper spot for hungry night-owls roaming around central Singapore.
If you’re looking for more banh mi recommendations, check out Hi Banh Mi in Geylang. Alternatively, head down to S Fu Ren, another hidden gem nearby that sells handmade potato balls and muah chee from just $3!
Address: 279 Balestier Road, #01-02, Balestier Point, Singapore 329727
Opening hours: Daily 11am to 3am
Tel: 6993 9855
Nhung Kitchen is not a halal-certified eatery.
Photos taken by Kaedynce Chew
This was an independent review by Eatbook.