Nam Nam Noodle Bar may not be our first port of call whenever a Vietnamese food craving hits, especially since they make you pay for the usual accompanying herbs (seriously, what's that about!), but it is convenient, minimally fussed, and budget-friendly. The Hubs was starving like a marvin while we were out shopping, so we made a quick pitstop at the self-serviced bistro. The food's substantive and churned out fast, so we didn't have to wait very long to satiate (and soothe) the Hubs' hangry pangs.
The Pork Ham Snack Platter ($5.90) was pretty decent, texturally interesting with crunchy black fungus and chilli weaved into smooth mashed-up pork. A lovely bite and lively flavours. I suspect it's a proprietary blend made in-house.
A signature and our favourite appetizer here, the Crispy Imperial Rolls ($5.90) were wonderfully crispy on the outside, and bursting with a juicy medley of carrots, black fungus, glass vermicelli, beansprouts and pork. A little less than authentic but delicious nonetheless.
The Sauteed Lemongrass Pork Noodle ($10.50) was delightfully refreshing, with a mild syrup of chilli-ed and nutty fish sauce slicked through the tepid rice noodles, which was kept delicate with oodles of cool cucumbers and fresh beansprouts. The lemongrass-marinated pork dice was middling, but the imperial roll was a nice touch.
The Quang Style Egg Noodle ($11) stood out in comparison to the forgettable lemongrass noodles, even if it was nothing like the Quang noodles we had in Da Nang. This was more akin to a local-style mee pok than Vietnamese heritage noodles. Except with different adornments like bbq pork ribs, poached prawns, fishcake, and a sesame & prawn rice cracker.
The Pho Chicken ($10) with chunks of tender chicken breast and a soft-boiled egg, was additionally topped off with a few slices of Australian Wagyu Beef ($7.70). The broth passed muster, but it needed the kick of Thai basil or mint for levity. It was just really disappointing that Nam Nam's "fresh herbs" are served as a chopped-up medley of 80% coriander leaves and 20% Thai basil. Also, the beef was awfully gamey. I would give that a hard pass.
The Lime Soda ($4.90), sweetened with lime syrup and finished off with crushed mint, was invigorating.
The Lychee Pandan ($4.90) and Lemongrass Ginger ($4.90) drinks are refreshing thirst-quenchers, especially in the recent heatwave.
Nam Nam Noodle Bar
501 Orchard Road
Wheelock Place #B2-02
Tel: 6736 1488
Open daily from 10am to 9.30pm