Joo Chiat Càphê, Joo Chiat: Muslim-friendly, authentic bánh mì, and Vietnamese drip coffee from S$6.50

Every trip to Joo Chiat is akin to stepping into a portal to the past. I always imagine what life would be like if I was born in the ‘60s. To live through The Beatles era, join a hippie movement or two, fight the good fight, and of course, bask in the beauty of what was once before. What remains today is merely a reminiscence of the past. 

Image of stall front

Just like how the streets of Vietnam are filled with immense history, it’s only fitting for another Vietnamese joint to call Joo Chiat ‘home’. Enter Joo Chiat Càphê— a newly-opened Muslim-friendly eatery selling their own version of bánh mìs, Vietnamese drip coffee, and other easy-to-eat breakfast or lunch dishes.

I went down to the shop coincidentally wearing a t-shirt with ‘Vietnam’ printed in a huge font. As if I needed another reason to scream ‘I’m obsessed with Vietnam’.

Image of signboard

Upon entering the quaint stall, the huge visuals behind the counter instantly caught my attention. There I saw six items on the menu. It took a while for two indecisive folks to pick a sandwich each, but we reached there. Eventually. 

What I tried 

Image of menu items

Rachel and I opted for the two bestsellers: Honey-glazed Grilled Chicken Thigh With Homemade Chicken Pate (S$6.50) and Grilled Lemongrass Beef Patty With Hoisin Sauce (S$7)

One thing they have in common with the bánh mì peddlers in Vietnam is that they put a generous amount of greens into each sandwich. A pretty common sight, if you ask me. But still, as someone who likes her greens in moderation, it was a bit much for me.

Imeage of honey-glazed chicken

Texture-wise, the buns were crunchy and chewy, akin to the one that can be found in Vietnam. 

Close up of honey-glazed chicken

Joo Chiat Càphê is not a place to stinge on fillings; the sandwich came loaded with meat. Additionally, it tasted very light and refreshing. One bite and you know the ingredients here are fresh(er) as compared to numerous other places. 

I went with a spicy option and it came with chilli padi. If you can’t take that much heat, do omit that option from your order as it will leave you with a tongue-numbing sensation after each bite. 

Image of lemongrass beef

I already knew the Grilled Lemongrass Beef Patty With Hoisin Sauce was going to be a good choice. The distribution of flavours spread out in this sandwich took my palate on a beautiful journey; from tangy to sweet to salty. The sandwich was also bursting with an abundance of citrusy flavours, which to me, is perfect considering Singapore’s weather. 

Close up of lemongrass beef

The patty, on the other hand, was immaculate and perfectly cooked. There weren’t any hints of gaminess which could also be due to the addition of the rich hoisin sauce. I didn’t want to finish this sandwich at one go and ended up savouring each bite on my own time.

Out of the two I tried, I’d easily come back for Joo Chiat Càphê’s Grilled Lemongrass Beef Patty With Hoisin Sauce bánh mì

Image of Vietnamese drip coffee

To complete my authentic Vietnamese experience, I got a cup of Drip Vietnamese Coffee (S$4.50 for hot, S$4.80 for cold). If you’re a patient person, I’d urge you to grab yourself a cup of this rich coffee to pair with your bánh mì

If you don’t already know, Vietnamese coffee is different from the coffee that you may be used to. It’s more gao with minimal acidity due to its dark roast. Additionally, it has a few layers to it, and pairs well with condensed milk. If you’re not a fan of thick coffee, do opt for the iced version, and wait for it to get diluted to enjoy your drip coffee experience. 

Final thoughts

Image of interior

Good bánh mì isn’t hard to find in Singapore, however, the one at Joo Chiat Càphê offers more than just that. It offers you an experience you’d want to keep going back for. I also love how there are more authentic Vietnamese eateries sprawling Joo Chiat because that’s where all the action is at. 

Image of otah-otah and nasi lemak

If you’re not a sandwich lover, Joo Chiat Càphê also serves Full Mackerel Otah (S$1.50), Otah Toast (S$2.20), and Traditional Nasi Lemak with Ikan Selar Kuning (S$2.20). I wish I lived right across the street from them because I’d love to have my breakfast here daily. 

Expected damage: S$6.50 – S$11 per pax 

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Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Joo Chiat Càphê

263 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427517

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Joo Chiat Càphê

263 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427517

Telephone: +65 6988 1900
Operating Hours: 9am - 7pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon
Telephone: +65 6988 1900

Operating Hours: 9am - 7pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon
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