A popular pit stop among the Vietnamese locals, Nhu Lan Bakery houses several food stalls in one. The establishment functions as a banh mi kiosk, a proper sit-down Vietnamese eatery as well as a delicatessen and meat grocer.
Every morning from as early as 5am, throngs of locals park their scooters right outside the eatery, grabbing themselves a quick bite before going about their day. Curious, and pining for a taste of what locals deem delicious, we decided to pay the humble eatery a visit.
They serve everything under the sun, from tasty, proper bowls of pho bo, to a massive selection of banh mi toppings and even some other local delicacies not commonly found elsewhere.
Outside is where you can get your hands on some freshly-made banh mi. Inside, however, they serve a pretty impressive variety of noodle and rice dishes from the classic pho, dry rice noodles to some pretty interesting, rarely heard of items as well.
Having read so much more about Vietnam’s many varieties of noodle dishes, we decided to wing it with their Rice Noodles with Fried Spring Rolls and Barbecued Pork (40,000 VND).
The dish features a colossal portion of rice noodles along with some pickled vegetables, spring rolls, barbecued pork, ground peanuts and a lime wedge. Like most Vietnamese dishes, it also comes with a platter of fresh herbs.
To get the ultimate combination of flavours and textures, you really have to mix everything together. We went with a dash of fish sauce, lime juice, chillis, garlic, fresh herbs simply torn in and sriracha for ours.
The result? A vibrant and addictive mix of fresh flavours that encompassed sweet, sour, salty and spicy.
Unsure of what else to get, we decided to go with our gut and randomly pointed towards one of the lesser intimidating items on the menu. Thankfully, what was served to us was the Rice with Fried Roast Pork, Braised Pork, Pickled Cabbage & Egg (40,000 VND).
Laced with a tangy, salty kick from the pickled cabbage, coupled with the fresh taste of coriander along with the smoky, meaty taste of the barbecued pork, this was honestly one of the most delightful we had—that isn’t pho.
The flavours reminded us of pig’s organ soup, especially with the heavy emphasis on pickled vegetables to counter the porky taste, just that this was much drier.
Stuffed from edge to edge with thin rice noodles, fresh vegetables and slivers of shrimp, we absolutely couldn’t get enough of their Pork & Shrimp Spring Roll (15,000 VND). The rice paper was a little stiff and tricky to nibble through, but besides that, everything was perfect.
We’re not fully sure what went into the dipping sauce, except that it was a mixture of sweet, tangy, savoury and nutty qualities. Come to think of it, hoisin definitely made up a majority of its flavour.
Nhu Lan Bakery
50 Ham Nghi, Ben Nghé, Quan 1,
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tel: +84 28 3914 1338
Daily: 4am – 11pm
SGD to VND: S$1 : 16981.22 VND (aprox)
For more recommendations, read our Ho Chi Minh City’s guides to discover the best places to visit in the city.