In Singapore, whenever you crave for Vietnamese food, I’m sure there are plenty of establishments selling banh mie and pho. Imagine my excitement when I came across Le Cafe Vie5 located at Upper Paya Lebar. The reason? They have Vietnamese egg coffee and bo ne— Vietnam’s version of steak and eggs!
I chatted with Samantha, a Vietnamese staff member from Hanoi at the cafe. As she was whipping up the egg mixture for my coffee with the help of an electric whipper, I asked: “Why are egg coffee and bo ne so hard to find in Singapore?”
To which she replied, “I think both of them take time and not many people want that inconvenience.”
After chatting more, I found out that the chefs at Le Cafe Vie5 are from Hanoi and Haiphong, both Northern parts of Vietnam. I was secretly jumping with joy thinking I’d be able to enjoy authentic Vietnamese fare cooked by actual native chefs.
What I tried at Le Cafe Vie5
What’s going to a Vietnamese cafe without trying their coffee? I dived right in and ordered two of my favourite coffees I’ve missed having in Vietnam— Coco Coffee (S$6.50) and of course, an Egg-Whisked Coffee (S$6.50 for hot).
Before I sipped the Coco Coffee, the toasted coconut flakes on top caught my eye. I took a spoonful coupled with the shaved ice and enjoyed the crispy coconut bits bursting in my mouth. The coffee that was hiding beneath was strong upon drinking it.
Le Cafe Vie5 uses robusta coffee beans from Vietnam, which supposedly contain twice the amount of caffeine than regular arabica beans— perfect for caffeine junkies! I stirred the divine concoction and proceeded to take a second sip. Though the coffee was intense, I was still able to taste the coconut notes. This coconut coffee was definitely the closest thing to having an actual one in Vietnam!
The hot Egg-Whisked Coffee was served with a thick layer of custardy egg foam that was smooth and rich. The coffee beneath wasn’t as robust as the coconut coffee I had earlier on, but it was still a good cup of coffee. If you ask me if this egg coffee tastes like the real deal, I would say that Le Cafe Vie5 pretty much nailed it!
We proceeded with the mains and I hereby present you the highlight of my visit— Sizzling Beef with Loaf (S$18.90). Better known to me as bo ne, I was introduced to this yummy Vietnamese breakfast dish during my trip to Ho Chi Minh with my friends back in 2019. I can still remember the rustic-looking food stall that was located at the back of an alley, surrounded by locals only.
The arrival of the Sizzling Beef with Loaf was accompanied by the loud sizzling sounds coming from the hot skillet. It consisted of a petite-sized baguette, sunny-side up, beef slices, two meatballs, pork pate, a piece of sausage, and a dollop of butter with some green swigs of coriander on top.
Like how I’d be eating roti prata (using my hands), I broke the soft, flakey baguette and dunked it into the runny yolk of the egg. My taste buds were thanking the tiny piece of sliced onion that got picked up during the dunk. Coupled with the soft baguette and creamy yolk, the whole combination teleported me back to that back-alley.
The beef slices were tender and the meat balls, delicious. What stood out was the dollop of pork pate that was by the side. It tasted like creamy mashed foie gras in my opinion— so good!
I decided to try a soupy main— HP Prawn Noodle Soup (S$12). I wasn’t thinking so much about why it was called HP until I chatted with the server. It stood for ‘Haiphong’ which is the hometown of one of the chefs.
I started with the broth and it had an underlying sweetness coming from the prawns. It isn’t as concentrated as our local prawn mee soup, but its subtle flavours are enough to carry this dish through.
The HP Prawn Noodle Soup came with two large prawns accompanied by a few smaller ones, mushrooms, pork cubes, black fungus, with garnishes of spring onions and a surprise find— laksa leaves! I was curious if they were added to suit the palates of Singaporeans.
Samantha told me that this herb is also used back in Vietnam. I learn something new everyday! The laksa leaves added a nice touch to this unique dish and the prawns were so fresh. Definitely worth ordering this!
The last of the mains was Grilled Pork Noodle (S$11). Le Cafe Vie5 serves them in a cute-looking triangular ‘basket’, consisting of white rice noodles, grilled pork and green lettuce, served with a dipping gravy.
By the time I moved on to this dish, the pork belly slices were already cold (hazards of my job). To my surprise, the meat was still soft and extremely flavourful— I swear it tasted exactly like our local satay. The dipping gravy was made of fish sauce filled with garlic bits, chilli padi, carrot and daikon slices.
Using my hands once again, I wrapped the rice noodles and pork together with the lettuce and dunked them into the gravy. Boom! 100 percent satisfaction.
I ordered Le Cafe Vie5’s House Special Crab Rolls (S$11) to end this lovely Vietnamese feast. Each serving comes with four huge rolls accompanied by the same dipping sauce as the former dish. Each bite was addictive with the faint peppery flavours. The bits of crab meat together with the minced pork filling, black fungus and carrot strips were simply satisfying.
Le Cafe Vie5 was a real surprise. I didn’t have much expectation of the food before I visited, but that all changed after experiencing it for myself today. Thank goodness that there’s a direct bus from my place as I’m definitely returning to get my Vietnamese cravings fixed.
Expected damage: S$4 – $40 per pax
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Our Rating: 4.5 / 5
Le Cafe Vie5
151 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Singapore 534851
Le Cafe Vie5
151 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Singapore 534851