I do not remember the last time I stepped into Midpoint Orchard, that building beside a Courts store and opposite 313@Somerset.
But I recall eating at its foodcourt years ago and the basement still has a decent selection of affordable food options.
Amid the usual choices of economy rice and nasi lemak, there is a hidden gem called Signs A Taste Of Vietnam Pho.
The six-month-old eatery is run by a deaf couple – Singaporean Anthony Teo, 53, and his Vietnamese wife Angela Thach, 34 – and the simple menu includes pho, fresh spring rolls and smoothies.
Pick from sliced beef ribeye, sliced beef shin or beef balls to go with the pho, which comes with beansprouts and herbs. Each option is $6. Or go for the beef feast combo ($8), which includes all three options.
The soup, though light, is fragrant and tasty. It comes with a lime wedge, so squeeze the juice in for extra flavour.
SIGNS A TASTE OF VIETNAM PHO
Add to your meal spring rolls with prawn, pork or chicken and egg ($5 for two rolls). The rolls are plump, packed with ingredients and come with a delicious peanut sauce with just a hint of spice. I keep a roll to eat four hours later and the skin is still tender.
I also order a cold lemongrass drink ($2) – a refreshing option for a hot day. Other drinks include fresh calamansi juice ($1.50), Vietnamese coffee ($3) and avocado, mango or red dragon smoothies ($4 each).
It is clear that the drinks and the food are all made in-house and with no additives. So if you want a healthy option that is not a salad, this is it.
My only concern, which I highlight to Mr Teo, is that the noodles for my pho were not the usual rice noodles with a chewy texture. Instead, its texture is softer, like kway teow.
He explains that they have had trouble getting proper ingredients, and not just for the noodles. Some suppliers have delivered beef fat as well as vegetables which are not fresh. To ensure quality, hegoes to the market himself to buy the ingredients.
He also shares his other struggles in running the business, but it is heartening to see that he remains upbeat despite the circumstances.